IT – information technology – is a relatively new industry, and is still somewhat misunderstood by most people who don’t specifically work with it.
IT involves anything to do with using systems such as computers and telecommunications to store, send, and retrieve data. As such a broad subject, it encompasses many aspects of both work and home life, yet it is still largely a grey area to many.
Here are 12 common things people don’t understand or don’t know about information technology.
1. There are more bots than humans on the net
In 2012, Cloud service provider Incapsula published a report suggesting that 51 per cent of Internet traffic was generated by non-humans. In 2013, a follow up report updated that figure to 61.5 per cent.
Much of this activity is malicious in that its intent is to hack, spam, steal information and conduct other damaging acts online. Such data shows the importance of IT professionals in protecting and preserving normal Internet functions.
2. Cloud-based storage still exists somewhere
When you store information on the Cloud in any capacity, it’s easy to forget that this data has to exist somewhere. Even though it’s not officially stored on your own laptop, desktop computer or smartphone, it is stored somewhere in the world.
These storage areas are known as server farms and run around the clock to ensure anyone can access their data at any time. Typically held in large warehouses, server farm locations are not usually disclosed to customers.
3. IT isn’t as new as it seems
While new technology has allowed for advancements in IT that are almost impossible to keep up with, IT itself isn’t as new as most people might think.
Computers really began to generate interest in the early 1950s, the first mobile phones sold in the 1980s, and even the mouse has been around since the 1960s.
4. IT specialists are hugely varied
According to a 2013 report from the Australian Computer Society, there was a total of 597,700 workers in the ICT field in the country, which signified an increase of nearly 10 per cent over 2012. These numbers include manufacturers, wholesalers, developers and support persons.
The population of Australia in 2013 – including retirees and children – was 23.13 million. Therefore, the number of workers in ICT made up approximately 2.5 per cent of the entire population.
An IT specialist could know everything there is to know about working with Cloud-based services, and nothing about app development, or vice versa. They could work in security, automation, compliance, architecture SAP, or something else.
As the field is so diverse and all encompassing, it’s rare for an IT professional to be a master of many of these areas at once, although plenty of skills are transferrable.
5. IT staff are not magicians
Ask any IT personnel, and they will tell you about the multitude of times someone has asked for a frankly impossible solution.
If your computer does not operate a specific system or software, your IT staff can’t suddenly make it work. They know what they are doing and are often natural problem solvers, but just because it seems like they have the magic touch when it comes to technology, there are usually systems and software in place to make it possible.
7. IT training should be ongoing
Once you have a great IT professional – or more – on board at your company, keep in mind that you should be on the look out for further training opportunities.
When managers assume their IT staff will be able to tackle new technology as it comes through without additional training, it’s an assumption that can cost the company time and money. As the industry moves forward so quickly, IT staff need to continue their training.
8. IT services are often priced on value, not cost
Work completed by IT professionals is not always easy to calculate in terms of financial return, which is why some people think IT investment too costly for their company.
In reality, an IT worker tends to have the ability to reduce other costs around the department, and to contribute to new forms of revenue streams that help boost income.