The information technology (IT) sector is comprised of companies that produce software, hardware or semiconductor equipment, or companies that provide internet or related services.
Information Technology Sector: Overview and Funds
The three major industry groups within the IT sector are software and services, technology hardware and equipment and semiconductors and semiconductor equipment. These three industry groups are further divided into industries and sub-industries. Companies are aligned to a specific sub-industry that best describes their core or most profitable business. In this guide, we will cover the various industries and sub-industries that make up the three major industry groups within the IT sector.
Software and Services
The software and services industry group is made up of companies that provide internet services, as well as companies that provide software and IT services. Internet services include companies that provide online databases or interactive services, such as search engines or social networks. IT services includes companies that provide IT consulting or data processing services to other companies. Finally, software consists of any sort of software for business or consumer use, ranging from enterprise software and systems software to video games.
Why is information technology important?
Simply put, the work of most organizations would slow to a crawl without functioning IT systems. You’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t at least partially rely on computers and the networks that connect them. Maintaining a standard level of service, security and connectivity is a huge task, but it’s not the only priority or potential challenge on their plates.
More and more companies want to implement more intuitive and sophisticated solutions. “IT can provide the edge a company needs to outsmart, outpace and out-deliver competitors,” says Edward Kiledjian, a Chief Information Security Officer and technology blogger. Let’s take a look at the needs that current and future IT specialists will be working on: –
- Data overload: Businesses need to process huge amounts of data. This requires large amounts of processing power, sophisticated software and human analytical skills.
- Mobile and wireless usages: More employers are offering remote work options that require smartphones, tablets and laptops with wireless hotspots and roaming ability.
- Cloud services: Most businesses no longer operate their own “server farms” to store massive amounts of data. Many businesses now work with cloud services—third-party hosting platforms that maintain that data.
- Bandwidth for video hosting: Videoconferencing solutions have become more and more popular, so more network bandwidth is needed to support them sufficiently.
Hardware vs. software
You know that working with hardware and software is a large part of an IT department’s work, but what counts as hardware? And what’s software? Let’s break down this important distinction.
Hardware includes all the physical parts of a computer system. This includes hardware installed inside the computer like the motherboard, central processing unit and hard drive. Hardware also describes components that can be connected to the outside of a computer like a keyboard, mouse and printer. Keep in mind though that some tablets and smaller laptops integrate items like a keyboard and a mouse within the device. Basically, hardware is any part, component or device related to computers and their networks that you can physically touch and manipulate.
Unlike hardware, software is not something you can physically change. Software encompasses all the data, application and programs stored electronically, like an operating system or a video-editing tool.
So how does this distinction apply to an IT career? Nearly every IT job requires a blend of hardware and software-based know-how. Some IT workers may spend more time working with configuring hardware components, but those components are also governed by software. Additionally, IT professionals are responsible for deploying and setting up software applications for users.