IT full form is Information Technology.
Information technology consists of the architecture, software, hardware, and networking of computers.
So if you want to learn what IT is in a nutshell, this article is for you.
It’s time for the first step!
What Does the IT Department Do?
Technology has become an integral part of every business today and the IT department is responsible for setting up computers, software, and networks; maintaining them; updating them; and more.
Without IT professionals, companies would be at a complete loss if any part of their networks stopped working.
IT department professionals are responsible for three primary areas: IT governance, hardware, and infrastructure and operations:
IT governance is made up of the procedures and policies that a company uses to make sure that its IT is run effectively and efficiently.
This includes plans to determine who can access different aspects of the company’s system, who makes decisions, and that everything they do promotes the company’s overall goals.
IT professionals are responsible for setting up, maintaining, and troubleshooting all of the hardware within a company.
They work with all of the electronic equipment within an organization, including computers, wireless networking equipment, wired networking equipment, servers, and more.
When a company purchases new computers or equipment, IT specialists will install and maintain it.
This area of IT is dedicated to making sure that the company’s IT networks are up and running at all times.
IT professionals in this area may provide tech support, maintain networks, deploy software, test security, and manage devices.
The IT Department Supports the Needs of Companies
In today’s world, businesses are dependent on IT for nearly every aspect of what they do. Communication via phones, email, and video conferencing are enabled by IT.
In addition, the IT specialists are in charge of safeguarding and backing up important data including customer records, financial information, and research. It is critical to have this information backed up in case a system crashes.
The IT department supports the various needs of businesses, so much so that it is forecasted that by 2021, spending on IT services would amount to over one trillion U.S. dollars worldwide.
Another way that IT supports a business is through actual support. If employees need to have their systems updated or to learn how a program works, the IT department is there to help.
Downtime hurts a business’s profitability and the IT system does everything possible to minimize downtime. They ensure that technology is accessible, safe, and functioning at all times.
In small and some medium-sized businesses, there may be one IT worker or they may even call in another company for their IT needs.
However, in large companies, they will have an entire IT department and the workers may be quite specialized.
Here are some of the IT jobs within a corporation:
Computer Support Specialists
These IT workers are more visible as they help other employees troubleshoot programs and answer questions when they have issues.
They also install and configure new equipment and technology. These are the people who companies call on when their computers are frozen or they can’t send a document.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators
This subset of IT specialists install, set up, and configure computer networks within a company.
They need to install and configure network hardware and troubleshoot and fix any issues that come up. Their job responsibilities may include the following:
- Assisting with the design of networks
- Configuring network hardware including routers, servers, and switches
- Implementing and testing security
- Managing network storage, including both cloud storage and physical storage
- Managing servers and operating systems
- Updating and installing software
- Repairing and upgrading computer networks
- Troubleshooting network issues
Computer Network Architects
These IT specialists are responsible for designing the computer network within a company.
They may not work within the IT department of one company; they often work as consultants and come in when a company wants to put in a new network.
Computer network architects are involved in every aspect of this process from meeting with the company to mapping out the best network system for its needs to planning for the final system.
Specialists who work in this field have extensive knowledge of the prices, features, and compatibility of various network systems and components and they bring their expertise to ensure that a company has the best possible network for its needs.
Information Security Analyst
These IT professionals specialize in keeping data secure. This includes monitoring the company’s system for any possible security issues and conducting tests regularly to ensure that the network is impenetrable. They also design and implement security strategies for the company.
It is also important to note that IT jobs are not limited to full-time in-office positions.
In fact, 14% of enterprise IT workers work full-time but remotely, 13% are outsourced, 11% work on a contract or gig basis and the rest work part-time:
The Waterfall Model
This model is widely used to structure an IT department inside an organization. The term was coined from an IT project completed by Winston Royce back in 1970.
There are six stages in this model and different IT specialists have different roles throughout the entire process.
The first stage is feasibility, where a Business Analyst determines the feasibility of a project from a technical and financial standpoint. At the end of this stage, a Project Manager comes in.
The Project Manager hires the people who are needed to implement the project, including technical business analysts, technical architects, developers, testers, and technical support.
The Technical Business Analyst is in charge of this stage. This IT specialist works directly with the users to determine their needs and goals with this system.
Once they complete their investigation into the needs, they produce a URD (User Requirements Document), which is also called an MDOE (Mandatory, Desirable, Optional, Enhancements).
Technical Architects are the ones who design the IT system and they have the highest salaries within the IT department.
They need to understand architecture, infrastructure, hardware, operating systems, development, and languages. These specialists will write out the technical specifications for software for the developers.
Now the Developers come into the project. There are generally three categories within the job title:
- Front-End Developers: they do the technical part of the user interface
- Back-End Developers: they do the work behind the scenes such as connecting the user interface with the database
- Database Developers: they create and manage the database
At this stage, the Testers come in to test the software. There are two types of testers: functional and non-functional.
Functional testers test the software from the perspective of the user while non-functional testers fix any issues found by the functional testers.
This is where the Help Desk and Support team come in. These professionals are there to help users and to fix issues that come up.
What Are the Educational Requirements to Work in IT?
There is a range of different specializations within the IT department and there are varying degree requirements for each job.
Some smaller businesses only require a certificate or an associate’s degree, while larger companies may require graduate-level degrees.
IT specialists should generally possess at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. If you are just starting out, consider gaining field experience through an internship.
Any certifications will bolster a resume and it is a good idea to pursue any areas that interest you.
To give you an idea, below are the 15 top-paying IT certifications worldwide as of 2020.
According to the data gathered by Global Knowledge, the average salary of an IT professional who is a certified cloud architect on the Google Cloud Platform amounts to about 175,761 U.S. dollars:
For higher-paying and more specialized IT fields, you may need as many as five years of experience.
In addition, many companies want to see a list of specific products that you have expertise in, including Oracle, Microsoft, and Cisco. It will benefit you to gain your work experience and expertise with these products.
Some employers may require a master’s degree for certain jobs and you will always make more money when you have a higher degree.
The level of commitment that you show by pursuing graduate degrees will help you get a job in this highly competitive field.
Why Become an IT Specialist?
If you enjoy writing software programs or connecting networks, an IT career can be challenging and rewarding at the same time.
Putting a network together is similar to completing a puzzle and you will have the answers when someone is missing a piece.
In addition, there are many different specialties in IT and this job pays well.
When you are working in the IT department, you have the responsibility of making sure that the business is up and running. If technology fails, everything will shut down.
As an IT specialist, you will design networks, install hardware and software, or oversee complete projects. You may be a programmer or a website designer.
Whether you are math-oriented, creative, or just want to help people learn how to use new systems, IT can provide you with this opportunity.
IT is projected to experience growth over the next five years, which means more demand and higher pay for these jobs.
This field experiences change as new technologies quickly take over and there is so much diversity within the IT department that you will always have opportunities to grow and learn.
No matter what your primary interests are, you will find a career in IT that is right for you.
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