We live in the age of information. Almost all the activities that we do, directly or indirectly, are assisted by the use of computers, networks for data transmission, software – in short, a vast technological apparatus that speeds up our work, facilitates daily activities and brings us closer to people. However, few really know what IT is.

In this article, we will show the main concepts related to information technology, its importance in our society and recent advances in the area.

What is IT?

Information is built by data organized in a logical and intelligible way by human beings. They describe events, objects and events. Its acquisition, analysis and communication lead to knowledge production, value generation and decision making.

Information technology (or simply IT) is a set of technologies used for data processing and storage and communication between people and organizations. With the use of computers, software, networks, internet and the involvement of specialized professionals, IT aims to make these activities increasingly faster, smarter and safer.

Technologies for information processing

The modern technologies that we use for information processing are composed of computer systems:

Hardware

Devices and infrastructure that allow the storage, processing and transmission of data in the form of bits, such as computers, terminals, cell phones, networks, coaxial cables and radio frequency equipment.

Software

Programs that allow the operation of these devices and the interaction between them and human beings from an interface. In our daily life we have contact with several types of software, such as operating systems (Windows, IOS, Linux and Android) and applications that run on them – text editors, images, web browsers, message applications and social networks.

Data storage

Companies, government institutions and NGOs process large amounts of information of various types. Databases are used to ensure that they are well organized and have easy access. With these tools, a relationship can be established between the data and its indexation, which makes access faster and facilitates the analysis processes.

Information management

Once stored, data becomes an asset of fundamental importance to the organization. Imagine a financial institution. Balances and history of financial transactions define practically the entire business of the company. Want another example? A governmental institution like IBGE, which researches and generates the demographic census, registers the economic activity and other social indicators.

Information such as these define investments, public policies and are directly related to the survival of people and companies, because they support productive activities.

Information management involves activities related to the use and persistence of this data, such as local and cloud storage, security policies and rules and access to information, backup management, data categorization and alignment between IT and business.

Data Transmission

It is the transfer of data (such as videos, images, texts and audios), in the form of bits, between two or more digital devices. The data transmission occurs through various means, such as coaxial cables, fiber optics, satellite and SMS.

Types of data transmission

  • Parallel: when files are sent, formed by multiple bits, synchronized by a clock, they are sent simultaneously in different channels by means of cables or electromagnetic signals. Generally, parallel transmission is used to send information over short distances, as in a company’s internal network. It has a high cost and is done at limited distances.
  • Serial: it involves sending data in sequence on the same channel, bit by bit. Although it is slower than the parallel one, it has a significantly lower cost and it is the most used to traffic data in long distances.

Differences between the IT sector and the IT industry

Usually there is some confusion in people’s minds about what information technology is. We have two important concepts that should be differentiated: the IT industry and the IT sector.

The IT industry is the whole chain that involves the production of hardware, software and the research and development of new technologies will make them more agile and accessible.

It deals with the creation and improvement of operating systems; software for personal and professional use; computers; network cables and radio frequency equipment for wireless data transmission; mobile devices such as cell phones, tablets and others that we use in telecommunications.

The IT sector of a company is the department designed to enable the use of technologies by its employees. The IT (as the team is usually called) must ensure that the activities of the company, with the use of the technological tools adopted, are performed and sustained with security and efficiency.