Category Archive: Technology

What is a CPU?

Computers have been around for decades and have worked their way into almost every home, school, and business. Despite the prevalence of computer equipment, many people are still confused by some of the technical language and jargon that comes with the territory.

Computers consist of a variety of components, each of which performs an individual function to ensure the system works as a whole. One of these components is the CPU, which is an incredibly important part of any operating system.

Here we will outline exactly what a CPU is, what it does, and some examples of this vital piece of the computing puzzle. 

What does CPU stand for? 

Like many computing components, CPU is an acronym. CPU stands for Central Processing Unit but can also reference a main processor or any processor. 

What is a CPU? 

The CPU is essentially the computer’s brain and carries out instructions from the system software. It performs calculations, logic checks, controls, and input/output (I/O) operations that are communicated to it by the software. It is an internal component not usually exposed outside a computer device’s casing.

What is the CPU made from? 

The CPU consists of a silicon chip that is set into a special socket on the computer’s motherboard. These components contain billions of tiny transistors on the chip, enabling it to carry out the calculations and operations outlined above. As they turn on and off, they convey 1s and 0s to translate any electronic input into an operation. 

The CPU will largely determine the speed of the computer and its response to inputs. Over the years, the transistors on the chip have become smaller, resulting in increased speed. There is even an observed law that states that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years, known as Moore’s Law. 

However, not every CPU is constructed in the same way, as some CPUs are part of a System on Chip integration. 

What is System on Chip (SoC)?

In some devices, such as mobile and tablet computers, the CPU is embedded into a chip alongside other components. This is known as a System on Chip (SoC) approach, which can package the CPU alongside the GPU and memory. 

What is the difference between a CPU and a GPU?

We just mentioned a GPU, which may also have left you scratching your head. GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit and is similar to the CPU but specifically designed to process graphics-related tasks. This can be things like displaying visuals on a screen, rendering 3D images, and more. In addition, the CPU and GPU will generally work together to offer even faster computer processing speeds. 

As well as a separate and dedicated GPU component, there is also the option for integrated graphics. Integrated graphics means that the GPU and CPU are built into the same chip, which can be efficient for some users but less effective for heavy graphics-based tasks such as video editing, gaming, and design. 

What does a CPU do? 

We have touched on the basic function of a CPU briefly already, but here we will break down its function in more detail. 

The CPU will generally receive, interpret and carry out commands. The commands are received from the RAM (Random Access Memory), and the CPU then interprets this command.

This command may need to be resolved through some simple mathematics or basic functions. The language of computer systems is numbers, so the CPU can be considered an extremely rapid calculator. This command may launch a piece of software, display an image on the screen or carry out a calculation on a spreadsheet. These steps are commonly referred to as fetch, decode and execute. 

The CPU can also assign tasks to other, more specialized components of the computer system. If you need to display a visual from a video game, for example, the CPU will assign this task to the GPU. 

CPU cores

Early CPUs made use of a single processing core, although modern CPUs made use of multiple cores. Having more than one core allows the CPU to carry out many actions at once, increasing the system’s speed and response times. 

Clock Speed

When looking at CPUs, you may encounter a clock speed specification. This number is presented in the unit of gigahertz (GHz). Essentially, this number determines how many instructions a CPU can carry out every second. Generally, a higher clock speed will denote a faster processor. 

History of CPUs

So now you have a basic idea of what a CPU is and what it is, but what is the component’s origin? 

The term has been used since 1955, with the first devices that could be referred to as CPUs emerging in the 1940s. 

However, CPUs, as we know them today, first came to light through the Intel 4004. This was the world’s first microprocessor with a CPU on a single chip. It was released in March 1971 and was incredibly important for the drastic advancement of computer systems over the next few decades. 

Conclusion

All you need to remember is that a CPU is the component of the computer that fetches inputs, decodes the instructions, and then executes the command. These commands can be distributed to more specialized hardware, such as the GPU. Many types of CPUs have different speeds, constructions, and sizes. They are used in various devices, from mobile phones to computers. 

What Is An Operating System?

An operating system (OS) is a comprehensive collection of software that effectively manages computer hardware resources and consistently provides standardized services for computer programs. 

Considered the most vital software within a computer system, an operating system performs fundamental tasks such as expeditiously recognizing input from the keyboard, accurately transmitting output to the display screen, attentively maintaining records of files and directories on the disk, and proficiently controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.

Some examples of well-known operating systems include Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. Each operating system boasts a unique user interface and adeptly handles diverse hardware and software.

As a critical component of a computer system, the operating system plays a pivotal role in the seamless functioning and efficient management of the hardware and software resources of the system.

Types Of Operating Systems

There exist a variety of operating systems, which can be classified based on their capability to concurrently execute multiple tasks, otherwise known as multi-tasking.

Single-tasking operating systems

Single-tasking operating systems are designed to only run a single program at a time.

While a program is running, the operating system is unable to perform any other tasks until the program has completed or been closed.

These operating systems are scarce and typically found in older or simpler systems.

Multi-tasking operating systems

Contrarily, multi-tasking operating systems are engineered to run multiple programs concurrently and efficiently.

The operating system can effectively allocate its time and resources among multiple programs and execute them simultaneously.

There are two main types of multi-tasking operating systems:

  1. Cooperative multi-tasking: Cooperative multi-tasking is a type in which each program is expected to share the CPU (Central Processing Unit) with other programs and must yield control of the CPU to the next program when its allotted time slice has been used. In this type of multi-tasking, each program is given a slice of time to execute its instructions and then must willingly give up control of the CPU. This type of multi-tasking is generally found in older or simpler systems.
  2. Preemptive multi-tasking: Preemptive multi-tasking is a more advanced, sophisticated type of multi-tasking in which the operating system can interrupt a currently running program and give control of the CPU to another program at any time. This allows the operating system to prioritize specific tasks and ensure that more important, time-sensitive tasks are completed promptly. As a result, preemptive multi-tasking is more common in modern, advanced operating systems.

Here are some other types of operating systems:

Real-time operating systems

Real-time operating systems are specifically designed to promptly respond to external events and are used in different applications where the operating system must powerfully respond to input within a specific time frame, such as in industrial control systems, aviation, and military applications.

Embedded operating systems

Embedded operating systems are boldly designed to run on devices with limited resources, such as smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices.

They are cleverly optimized to be lightweight and efficient and often have a small, compact footprint, making them suitable for devices with limited storage and processing power.

Server operating systems

Server operating systems are expertly designed to run on servers, which are powerful, high-performance computers that provide swift resources and services to other computers or devices on a network.

Common examples of server operating systems include Microsoft Windows Server and Linux.

Mobile operating systems

Mobile operating systems are designed to run on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Examples of mobile operating systems include Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

Distributed operating systems

Distributed operating systems are designed to run on multiple computers connected by a network and diligently allow multiple computers to work together and share resources, such as processing power, memory, and storage.

Some examples of distributed operating systems include Windows NT and UNIX.

The Main Components Of An Operating System

The main components of an operating system are:

Kernel

The kernel is the central and critical component of the operating system that effectively manages the hardware and software resources of the system. It is responsible for efficiently scheduling tasks, managing memory, and controlling input/output operations.

System libraries

System libraries are comprehensive collections of software routines that proficiently perform everyday tasks, such as input/output operations and communication with hardware devices.

System utilities

System utilities are specialized programs that perform specific tasks related to the maintenance and management of the operating system and the computer.

Examples of system utilities include: 

  • Disk defragmenters
  • Disk cleaners
  • System update tools

System services

System services are programs that run in the background and provide essential support for other programs.

Examples of system services include:

  • The print spooler (which efficiently manages print jobs).
  • The event log (which accurately records system events).
  • The task scheduler (which effectively schedules tasks to be performed at a later time).

User interface

The user interface is a critical part of the operating system that allows users to interact with the computer in various ways, such as using a graphical user interface (GUI) that employs visual elements like windows, icons, and menus, or a command-line interface (CLI) that utilizes text-based commands to execute tasks efficiently.

Application programming interfaces (APIs)

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are comprehensive sets of programming instructions that enable diverse software programs to communicate with one another and the operating system, providing a standardized method for programs to request services from the operating system or other programs efficiently.

Device drivers

Device drivers are specialized programs that facilitate communication between the operating system and hardware devices, such as printers, keyboards, and disk drives, serving as a bridge between the two and translating the instructions of the operating system into actions that the hardware can comprehend smoothly.

File system

The file system is a crucial aspect of the operating system that manages the storage, organization, and access of files on a computer, including the directory structure, file permissions, and other mechanisms that regulate access to files efficiently.

Memory management

Memory management involves allocating and deallocating memory to different programs as required, with the operating system responsible for managing the computer’s memory and ensuring that programs have adequate memory to run smoothly.

Process management

Process management involves creating, scheduling, and controlling the execution of programs on a computer, with the operating system responsible for creating and managing processes and determining how resources, such as the CPU and memory, are allocated to each process efficiently.

Networking

Some operating systems incorporate networking capabilities that allow the computer to connect to and communicate with other devices on a network, including support for various network protocols like TCP/IP and tools for managing network connections and resources efficiently.

Scheduling a Network Upgrade? Here’s How to Get Started.

Security

Security is a vital aspect of contemporary operating systems, including authentication, authorization, and encryption mechanisms to protect the system and its data from unauthorized access and malicious attacks effectively.

Conclusion

An operating system is a collection of software that manages computer hardware resources efficiently and provides standard services for computer programs effectively.

It consists of several components, including the kernel, system libraries, system utilities, system services, user interface, and application programming interfaces (APIs).

In addition to these core components, an operating system may include device drivers, a file system, memory management, process management, networking capabilities, and security features.

The specific components of an operating system depend on its design and the system’s particular needs, which are carefully evaluated and considered in the development process.

What is Computer Software?

Computers have become one of the most important parts of modern society. They facilitate the communication of billions of people around the world and power almost every industry.

Most people are aware of computer hardware since this is the physical equipment they interact with to operate computer systems.

Despite this awareness, some people are still mystified by the software loaded onto computers and how it works.

Here we will explore the definition, history, and types of software. 

Computer Software Definition 

Computer software is a group of programs, documentation, and data that is built into a computer system to register user inputs and process relevant outputs.

The software is essentially code that is written into custom scripts that run on a device using the commands from the connected hardware. There are different types of computer software that perform different actions on a vast range of devices, varying hugely in complexity and function. 

History of Computer Software

The very first example of the principles of computer software could be Ada Lovelace’s programs for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine in the 19th century.

This system was a simple general purpose computer used for solving equations using a complex mechanical device. Alan Turing took these ideas a step further in 1935 when he put forward advanced theories for computer software, branching into the fields of computer science and software engineering. 

Software as we know it first emerged in the 1940s, written in binary code for large mainframe computers. The very first time a computer system held a piece of working software within its memory was in 1948 in Manchester. This system was known as the Manchester Baby, and the software was written in binary by the mathematician Tom Kilburn. 

A dedicated programming language was developed at IBM in the early 1950s and released under the name FORTRAN in 1957. The software was developed by a team led by computer scientist John Backus and by 1963, most major manufacturers were utilizing FORTRAN within their computers. 

Several other programming languages emerged during this period, including COBOL and FORMAC, which were primarily focused on powering business operations. During the 60s, the programming language BASIC was used to power the Apollo Mission to the moon, cementing computer software as one of the most important human innovations in history. 

During the 1970s and 1980s, more user-friendly computer software hit the market, focusing on interactable graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

Huge operating systems like Unix, macOS for Apple devices, and of course, Microsoft’s Windows software. These operating systems allowed users to simply interact with computers using peripheral hardware such as keyboards and computer mice.

These operating systems have become the foundation for consumer computing products and made their way into the hands of people around the globe in the 2000s. 

While there are examples of handheld mobile devices with operating systems, the iPhone from Apple is the product that introduced pocket software to the masses in 2007. The iOS software built into the iPhone products registers inputs from a touch screen to perform actions and produce visual or audio outputs. 

Types of Computer Software

Computer software is encoded programs that do not have a material form and instead operate from within the system memory to execute commands, process inputs, and display outputs. You can generally split the software into two distinct categories, defined below:

Operating System (OS): arguably the most important form of software, an OS is the graphical interface through which the user operates the computer. Examples include Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. 

Application software: These are installable or preloaded package programs that perform a given function or fulfill a utility purpose. They can be used to create art or music, produce written content, program other pieces of software, provide education, or play games. Examples include Microsoft Office, Internet browsers, Image editing suites like Photoshop, and much more. 

Software is designed and run using a programming language such as C++, Java, or Python that operates mostly behind the scenes to make the software work. This is represented as strings of code that convey commands and inputs to the hardware. 

What is Computer Software used for?

Computer software has a broad range of uses, and we will summarize the most common uses below:

Navigating a computer system: The role of an operating system is to enable the user to navigate around the user interface, file structures, and applications. This can be done through a mouse and keyboard, tracker pads, voice controls, gaming controllers, touchscreens, and more. These input devices are often referred to as peripherals. 

Word processing: Using a software package like Microsoft Word, users can type passages of text and format them to their liking. Images, icons, videos, and animated GIFs can also be integrated into text-based content to make it more engaging or fit for purpose. 

Spreadsheets and databases: Spreadsheets are documents that house, process, and output data and are often used in the financial sector due to their powerful calculation capacity. Databases work in a similar way but are more focused on storage and quick access to data and records. 

Computer-Aided Design: Through a CAD application, designers can model and draw products, buildings, and civil works that can then be manufactured from these detailed plans.

Programming: Software can be used to create other software. Through the use of programming languages such as Python, Javascript, HTML, and more, users can write their own software applications. 

Conclusion

Computer software has skyrocketed from a theoretical concept in the 1940s to a fundamental part of modern society that powers almost every industry.

Billions of people interact with software on a daily basis, largely due to the increased accessibility of personal computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablet devices.

As we move toward a new era of virtual reality and concepts like computer implants, the software is sure to play a large part in the future of humanity as we interact with computers with inputs to generate a range of outputs. 

What is Computer Hardware?

Computers have become integral to modern society in almost every home, school, and workplace. Every computerized device consists of both hardware and software.

While the software is the coded programs stored within a computer’s memory, the hardware is the computer’s physical parts.

Most people on Earth will be familiar with computer hardware since billions of people interact with physical computer equipment daily. Therefore, people should know computer hardware’s full definition, history, and uses. 

Computer Hardware Definition 

Computer hardware is the physical part of a computer device. This includes the casing, monitors, mice, and keyboards that you can see, but a wide array of internal components also form the computer hardware.

These components include the random access memory (RAM), the central processing unit (CPU), sound cards, graphics cards, and the motherboard to which all the above will be connected.

This hardware processes user inputs, transmitting electronic signals to the software to execute commands and display outputs. 

History of Computer Hardware

It is often claimed that the first computer hardware ever conceptualized was the Analytical Engine developed by Charles Babbage in the 19th century. However, other early machines emerged during this period such as the first printing calculator in 1853 and a punchcard system designed in 1890 for the US government. 

In 1931, the first general-purpose computer was unveiled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), known as the differential analyzer.

These early machines were simple in function, performing calculations or outputting simple data. Later that decade, in 1936, British mathematician Alan Turing laid out the principles for a ‘universal machine’ which underpins computer technology even today.

Turing famously went on to create a device called the Turing-Welchman Bombe, which was used to decode Nazi communications and helped to win World War II for the allied forces. 

All devices up until this point had been mechanical and made use of gears, belts, and shafts but in 1937 John Vincent Atanasoff put forward a proposal to create the first electric only computer at Iowa State University.

At the end of the 30s, David Packard and Bill Hewlett founded Hewlett Packard (HP), developing computer equipment out of a garage. 

Several essential steps furthered the development of computer hardware in the 1940s, such as the invention of the Z3 machine by German inventor Konrad Zuse, largely considered the first ever digital computer. 

In the 1950s, the first programming languages emerged such as COBOL and FORTRAN, which helped to pave the way for more advanced computer hardware. 

Things advanced massively for computer hardware in the 1970s, with personal computers entering development alongside innovations such as floppy disks that would allow the sharing of data between computer systems. Then, in 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computer, unveiling their first ever computer system, the Apple I. 

The internet and wireless technology were massively influential as computer hardware developed through the 1980s and 90s. Personal computers, laptops, and video game consoles had become mainstream and infiltrated homes, schools and workplaces worldwide. 

Between the 2000s and the modern day, computer hardware has extended into people’s hands and pockets through devices such as smartphones, tablet computers, and wearable technology. 

Types of Computer Hardware

Computer Hardware is very broad, and many pieces of physical equipment fall under this label. 

Casing and cabling: Internal computer hardware is often deemed to be insightful and so to hide and house various components, casing is often employed in a variety of materials to allow a more desirable aesthetic. One of the critical components for connecting multiple computer hardware is cables, even with the prominence of wireless technology in modern times. 

Personal computer: The personal computer is one of the most important and prevalent computer hardware today. It is a collection of hardware housed within a case and connected to a set of peripherals.

Inside the case, components such as a graphics card, CPU, RAM, Hard drive, and more are connected via a motherboard to a power supply. Input devices such as the mouse and keyboard are connected to the computer using wired or wireless technology. The computer will display media or outputs based on the inputs via equipment such as monitors, printers, and speakers. 

Laptops: Laptops take the concept of a personal computer and make them portable by enclosing the internal elements with a built in keyboard and mouse pad via a compact, folding design. 

Tablet computers: Similarly to laptops, a tablet computer is a computer device that is very slim, lightweight and portable. The key difference is that no keyboard or mouse is attached, favoring a touch screen as the sole input to the tablet. 

Wearables: A more recent innovation takes the computer device and attaches it to your body in the form of an accessory. This is commonly through a device such as a smartwatch or smart glasses.

Supercomputers and mainframes: This kind of computer hardware is an extremely powerful device used to process enormous amounts of data, commonly for government or industrial processes.  

Removable media: To transfer data between computer systems, there are various forms of removable media to do just that. Examples of this include USB drives and disk based media such as CDs and DVDs. 

Conclusion

Computer hardware has come a long way from the enormous, clumsy calculators of the early days to become present in many homes, businesses, and schools around the world. Billions of people use computer technology every day; therefore, computer hardware has become one of the key factors in advancing human civilization. 

With many innovations on the horizon, such as self-driving cars, virtual reality, and computer implants, the rapid development of computer hardware is certainly not slowing down. 

What Is A Computer?

Computers have changed the world and are widely used today in most countries, organizations and industries.

What started as a humble development of technology has evolved into perhaps the most important spectrum of equipment that modern society relies on in the 21st century and it has all happened rather rapidly. 

Computer definition

Strictly speaking, a computer is an electrical device that is used to store, process and output data from a range of inputs from the user. 

Today, these inputs come from peripheral devices such as keyboards, mice, webcams, gaming controllers, touchpads and much more. The outputs include physical printouts, audio and most commonly among modern computers, visuals via a screen.

Computer systems can generally be split into hardware and software. Hardware is the physical equipment that forms the machine and the software is the range of programs that process data and display outputs. 

This wasn’t always the case however, so let’s take a brief walk down memory lane and recap the history of computing technology. 

History of Computers 

While computer technology was theorized by scholars and philosophers up to 200 years ago, nothing tangible emerged until the 1800s.

In 1821, a system was developed by a British mathematician called Charles Babbage through a steam-powered machine that could complete calculations. This rather advanced device for the era would go on to become the basis for early computers. 

It wasn’t until the 1930s when things progressed from here. In 1931, Vannevar Bush invented a machine known as the Differential Analyzer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to solve equations using a wheel and disc mechanical system.

In 1936, a British scientist and mathematician called Alan Turing conceptualized what is often referred to as the ‘Turing machine’, the basis for modern computers. In 1937, physics professor John Vincent Atanasoff at Iowa State puts forward a proposal for the first electric computer that does not use mechanical systems. 

From here, much development took place over the coming decades to take computers from enormous, clunky calculation devices to smaller, more efficient electrical machines that eventually made their way into homes, schools, offices and even our pockets and wrists.

Innovators like Bill Gates who started Microsoft or Steve Jobs who co-founded Apple have shaped the way that these devices are used around the world today. 

Types of Computer Hardware

Computers are defined by their ability to take an input, process data and produce an output. That being said, let’s take a look at the different types of computer hardware available today that are most commonly used. 

  • Personal computer (PC): A PC is a desktop computer housed in a compact casing often placed within a classroom, home or office. They rely on additional peripheral hardware to be functional such as a mouse, keyboard and monitor. 
  • Laptop: Laptops are an evolution of the PC, putting the computer and the peripherals into an all-in-on, portable system. They come with a built-in keyboard, touchpad to operate the mouse and screen to display visual outputs. 
  • Server: A server is a network of connected computer systems that connect individual devices, or clients, to a centrally housed hardware system to process data and communicate with other devices. This approach has become vital for business and education and is used in almost every sector. 
  • Supercomputer: a supercomputer is a computer system with an extremely high capability for performance, compared to consumer facing equipment. They are often used by data analysts, governments and businesses. 
  • Mobile computer: A computer device that is small enough to be portable and can be used without the input of keyboard or mouse. Tablet computers, smartphones and mobile gaming devices are all examples of a mobile computer device. 
  • Wearable computer: Probably the most recent consumer innovation is the wearable computer. This can be presented as a computerized wristwatch or smart glasses that provide visual overlays.

Types of Computer Software

As previously mentioned, computer software is encoded programs that do not have a material form and instead operate from within the system memory to execute commands, process inputs and display outputs. There are many different types of software, so let’s look at the fundamental variations used today.

Operating System (OS)

Arguably the most important form of software, an Operating System is the graphical interface through which the user operates the computer. Examples include Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. 

Application software

These are installable or preloaded package programs that perform a given function or fulfill a utility purpose. They can be used to create art or music, produce written content, program other pieces of software, provide education or play games. Examples include Microsoft Office, Internet browsers, Image editing suites like Photoshop and much more. 

Software is designed and run using a programming language such as C++, Java or Python that operates mostly behind the scenes to make the software work. This is represented as strings of code that convey commands and inputs to the hardware. 

What are Computers used for?

So computers have come an incredibly long way since their humble beginnings as glorified, hulking calculators but what are they used for today? 

Well, essentially everything. One important field that computers are used in is education, through research via the internet and interactive learning activities.

They are also used in business to process data and facilitate client or customer requests. In medicine, they can store patient records and diagnose conditions, even assisting with complex operations. 

From a consumer point of view, computers are largely used for entertainment purposes today. Whether it is playing games, watching video content, reading eBooks or interacting with friends and family, there is plenty of fun to be had with computer technology. 

Related: What Is Information Technology?

Conclusion

Today, you will find computers in schools, offices and homes around the world, being used for a wide variety of purposes. Much of modern society relies on the processing power of computer systems and connectivity they facilitate through the internet. 

Despite bringing about both positive and negative change in the world, computers are here to stay and are still advancing at a rapid rate, making their way onto our bodies through wearables and in the creation of virtual worlds for us to inhabit through virtual reality systems. 

What Is Information Technology?

Information technology, or IT, is the use of computer hardware, software, and related systems to support activities on computers and the Internet. IT is a broad field of study that incorporates all aspects of computer science and engineering and many other areas.

Information technology is an integral part of business management today, but it’s not limited to just the office environment. It’s an essential tool for any organization looking to expand its reach across multiple platforms and markets.

Information technology refers to accessing information through computer systems and devices. Our daily activities are influenced heavily by information technology, including our workforce, business operations, and personal access to information.

The IT industry has a tremendous impact on our everyday lives, regardless of whether we store, retrieve, access, or manipulate data.

Everyone utilizes information technology, from multinational corporations to one-person shops. It is used to manage data and to innovate processes by global companies.

Flea market sellers even utilize smartphone credit card readers to collect payments, and street performers distribute Venmo names to collect donations. Using a spreadsheet to catalog which Christmas presents you bought, you’re using information technology.

Examples of information technology

Examples of information technology include:

  • Computer hardware: The physical components that make up a computer system, such as the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and hard drive.
  • Operating system: A program that manages tasks and resources on your computer.
  • Software applications: Computer programs that perform functions on your computers like word processing or spreadsheets.
  • Networked systems: A computer network comprises interconnected computers and peripherals.

What Does It Encompass?

It is a broad term used to describe the application of technology to solving business-related problems. An IT department member solves big and small technical issues with others. It can break down a department’s primary responsibility into three categories:

  1. IT governance refers to the policies and procedures that ensure IT systems are correctly maintained and functioning according to the requirements of an organization.
  2. IT operations: A department’s daily tasks can be grouped under this category. It includes providing technical support, maintaining networks, performing security tests, and managing devices.
  3. Hardware and infrastructure: IT infrastructure’s hardware and infrastructure component are covered in this focus area. Among the pillars under this umbrella are setting up and maintaining IT equipment, such as routers, servers, telephone systems, and laptops.

Why Is Information Technology Important?

IT systems play an increasingly significant role in global connectivity and operations in the modern era. IT services ensure that systems run smoothly, connect networks, and protect data.

Artificial intelligence and data analytics are also used extensively in the IT sector. Businesses can enhance operational efficiency and resource utilization by integrating smart technologies to increase speed and market coverage.

Information technology workers are expected to manage a variety of rapidly expanding functions:

  • Data Analytics: Increasingly, social media, websites, and third-party platforms generate data streams for businesses, creating the need for advanced computing, AI analytics, and cloud tools, as well as a need for professionals in these areas.
  • Cloud Technologies: It is common today to see cloud platforms and serverless operations replacing server farms and server rooms. In serverless operations, data centers and cloud service providers maintain infrastructure.
  • Mobile and Wireless Infrastructure: For companies to support remote or mobile working, they need to create strong networks and cloud platforms that employees can access anytime and anywhere. In addition to such solutions, developers and managers are in high demand.
  • Network Bandwidth: It is becoming increasingly popular to use video communication. To manage the technology infrastructure, it is also necessary to have a high network bandwidth and a lot of expertise.

Hardware Vs. Software

computer network

A large part of the job of an IT department is to deal with hardware and software. Additionally, it is necessary to maintain the hardware.

However, what counts as hardware? In addition, what exactly is software? This distinction needs to be understood.

A computer system’s hardware includes all its parts. The hard drive, motherboard, and central processing unit are all parts of the computer’s hardware.

A computer’s hardware can also include peripheral devices like a mouse, keyboard, and printer that connect to the outside of the computer.

However, some tablets and smaller laptops come with keyboards and mice built-in. Any computer or network component that is physically touchable and manipulatable is hardware.

You can physically change hardware, but software cannot. The software also includes programs, operating systems, and applications stored electronically.

How does this distinction apply to IT careers? It is easy to find IT jobs requiring hardware and software knowledge.

The software that controls those hardware components may take up most of the time IT staff spends configuring elements. Additionally, IT professionals are responsible for deploying and setting up user software applications. Furthermore, IT professionals assemble and deploy software programs for users.

What Are The Types of Information Technology?

The term “information technology” refers to using technology to communicate, transfer data, and process information. In terms of information technology, the following trends are prominent:

  • Analytics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Automation
  • Cloud computing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Robotics
  • Communications
  • Infrastructure
  • Data/database management
  • Internet of things
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Machine learning
  • Computer Networks
  • SCADA
  • Software development

How Is Information Technology Used In Business?

There are many ways that information technology helps businesses stay competitive in today’s economy:

Security

Using IT security systems such as firewalls, encryption, and data backup measures protects sensitive data from being stolen by hackers who may try to infiltrate a network by exploiting vulnerabilities in software or hardware.

You can access data stored on a server remotely if the proper credentials are provided. It allows a hacker to access any files stored on the server if they gain access through an open port on which they have been allowed access.

Digital Advertising & Marketing

Digital advertising allows businesses to reach customers through digital channels such as websites, social media pages, and mobile apps. Digital marketing allows businesses to target their audience more effectively than traditional forms of advertising because they know to who they want their message delivered – whether through search engines or content marketing strategies like blogs or podcasts.

Operational Efficiency

In addition to understanding the cash flow needs of businesses, IT can save time and space. Managing inventory costs and delivering products is easier with inventory management technology. Internet meetings can save executives time and money, especially during the Covid-19 era, when everyone is locked inside their houses.

Online Payment Transfers

The fastest way to do business now is through digital currency transfers. Invoices can be sent by email and paid afterward, which saves time and money.

Relationship with Clients

Information technology helps companies manage and build relationships with customers. CRM systems cover the entire business-customer relationship to gain a deeper understanding. For instance, the center has information on the customer’s order history, shipping details, and a tutorial manual that explains how to complete the project effectively.

What Are IT Career Opportunities?

As IT has become the framework upon which modern businesses are being built across industries, there are abundant career opportunities in this field.

A growing number of companies were seeking hands-on technical staff with information technology diplomas and advanced IT certifications, innovators, and IT experts with strong industry experience from niche consulting firms to global IT enterprises, software and cloud giants to startups.

There are many career opportunities in the IT sector, including:

Computer Support Specialist 

This profile best suits individuals with experience answering computer software/hardware questions, setting up hardware/installing software, and training computer users.

Typically, those seeking this position must possess information technology degrees or similar certifications. You can earn a diploma in Information Technology online to learn how to create tools and operating software, handle databases, and develop tools.

It is an industry that is growing at a healthy rate, and young people entering it enjoy a lucrative salary.

Network Architect

A candidate for this position typically needs to be a graduate with experience in IT and a degree in computer science or a related field. A network architect designs and builds an organization’s intranet, LAN, or WAN.

These professionals are experts in various software systems, including network administration tools, operating systems, and development tools. The architect must work closely with customers and sales teams to deliver impactful services.

Systems And Network Administrator 

An IT diploma or course would complement a college degree in information technology. With the right information technology diploma, freshers or employees with limited experience can enjoy good hiring opportunities.

Most network and systems administrators must manage the hardware and software of the network, back up the data, and troubleshoot problems.

Systems Analyst 

An analyst, computer analyst, or systems architect deeply understands IT and business systems. IT diplomas or certifications are not required for this role but are beneficial.

The role would need experience in database management and development environment software, as well as strong computer skills—a high-paying job with ample growth potential.

Database Administrator 

A database administrator protects and secures critical data, including customer and financial information. It is typically found in data-intensive sectors like banking, insurance, or companies that provide outsourced IT services to other businesses.

Applicants must possess a solid understanding of database management, web platforms, operating system tools, and a development environment. It is easier for candidates to land these jobs with a good information technology course from a reputable institute.

Information Security Analyst

It is one of the most impactful and high-paying IT jobs in today’s economy. A security analyst’s job is to identify cyber threats and protect the company’s networks from attacks.

A candidate should have work experience and an advanced degree or course in information technology. The availability of IT courses online makes it possible for learners to pursue the required qualification even while working in their current position.

What Are The Benefits Of Information Technology For Businesses?

Business operations are primarily driven by information technology.

In today’s world, most companies rely on information technology to enhance, improve, and operate. Does this make sense for your business? How can IT benefit your business? What is IT’s role? Modern IT services offer several advantages.

Let’s look at a few of these benefits:

  • Productivity: IT is used to increase productivity. Software helps companies manage their inventory and projects more efficiently, allowing them to manage their time more effectively. In addition to tracking shipments and managing project progress reports, this will enable them to focus on other aspects of their business.
  • Communication: Communication can be improved with customers and employees using information technology, which is especially important for industries prioritizing customer service.
  • Security: Businesses also use IT for security reasons. Security systems can protect your business from data breaches by protecting sensitive customer and employee data from unauthorized access from hackers.
  • Online recruitment: Online recruitment can assist companies in finding and hiring more qualified candidates. Instead of using traditional paper-based methods, businesses can use online tools to post jobs and schedule interviews. Companies can also reach a much larger number of people with less effort than they could with a paper application alone, increasing the quality of candidates.
  • Better Decision-Making: IT is helping businesses make better decisions through market research. Several tools, including Google Analytics and Microsoft CRM Dynamics, can provide valuable data that allows companies to strategize and improve their marketing strategies.
  • Access to information: Company performance and that of competitors are analyzed and collected. Results can help them improve their bottom line and optimize their processes.
  • Sustainability: IT is crucial for environmentally friendly companies. The IT department can contribute to company sustainability by enabling telecommuting and reducing energy use through modern systems.

Is IT A Good Career Choice?

Absolutely, yes! It offers careers in nearly every vertical industry and varying levels of complexity. Information technology is the backbone of most of our business operations, which means endless possibilities exist.

There is also little chance that your job will become obsolete and wages are good enough to afford a good standard of living.

It’s not just an excellent job to work in information technology. Taking control of your career path is possible thanks to the multitude of advancement and continuing education opportunities available.

As you gain experience and improve your skills, you might be able to advance to Tier 2 and Tier 3 help desk technicians. If you want to move away from the help desk, you can move into network administration, cybersecurity, or any other IT specialty. There is no limit to what you can achieve!

Scheduling a Network Upgrade? Here’s How to Get Started.

Businesses in the midst of growth must grow their networks and IT infrastructure. Most small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) frequently increase their IT-related spending as they encounter growth regularly and often.

These SMBs need such upgrades to keep up with the growth of their businesses. Larger organizations also need network upgrades to advance their IT efficiency and equip the latest technology in their systems.

While the need for a network upgrade is clearly obvious, the process for implementing the upgrade must be carefully handled to ensure a successful operation with minimum disruption.

Why a Network Upgrade?

Businesses need to add value to their operations in order to meet the constantly evolving needs of customers. Thus, when a business’s operations exceed its current network capacity, the business can experience frequent downtimes or breaches.

As a result, the business could be exposed to more risks that lead to financial losses, poor public relations or even halting operations. Larger organizations expanding their networks when entering new locations in the international markets, or during mergers and acquisitions also need critical network upgrades.

Growing businesses will require more employees to keep up with increased activities. Further, the volume of communication with customers, suppliers, and departments in the business environment will increase.

Handling the additional operations requires an upgrade for both IT in general and the network infrastructure. Thus, businesses are most likely to implement network upgrades as they grow.

Since operations are ongoing in the business, the upgrades must be carefully scheduled to ensure minimal disruption to normal operations.

What to Know Before a Network Upgrade

Before upgrading your network, the process must be planned. This phase allows you to identify the current and future needs of the network. From these needs, your IT personnel will identify the gaps existing in your current network.

Based on the gaps, the IT team can model a new network design that meets the current and projected needs of the network.

Businesses experiencing rapid growth find it planning a network upgrade more complicated, compared to businesses with stable growth as the latter can project their future network needs more accurately.

Information Gathering

During the initial stages of planning a network upgrade, the team gathers information on the current state of the network infrastructure. The data collected can further be analyzed to predict future network demands.

Collect the current number of users of the network and based on the expected business growth, project the number of future users. Also note the existing network infrastructure and its layout, security applications, wireless connections, and internet connectivity.

You must identify future demands from the projects growth. Otherwise, without considering these future demands, your business will have to undertake several closely packed network upgrades that will be costly to its operation.

The projections help the team to identify new services that may be required to serve future business demands. Thus, the upgrades account for the projected growth and allow ample time before another upgrade has to be implemented.

Also critical to this stage of planning is determining the current budget for the upgrade.

Network Design

The information gathered from the preceding stage will be essential in this design stage. The most effective network design will solve current and future network demands while staying within the budget.

The IT team must analyze the collected information to identify and classify current network issues and the current state of the network infrastructure. The team then further identifies access points in the network infrastructure which are overstressed with higher traffic.

These points are marked and prioritized during a network upgrade. Such assessments will also ease the process of designing the upgrade.

During the network design stage, the IT team develops several designs from which the most efficient and cost-effective design based on tests is selected.

Since network upgrades are likely to disrupt normal operations of your business, the design team should incorporate features that will minimize network disruptions during the upgrade whenever possible.

Implementation

Implementing a network upgrade is a delicate process for your business. With the correct information and good network design to meet the demands of the upgrade, implementing the new network will require the team to develop channels that integrate the new network almost seamlessly.

Also, to minimize risks of disruption, it is essential to back up all sensitive data securely and allow ample time for implementing the network. The team should also introduce a fallback plan in case unexpected events occur during implementation.

All network users must be informed of the network implementation before the process. Based on the analysis of traffic accessing the network, the design team should opt for a time when the least traffic is recorded.

This ensures that very few customers are affected by the downtimes and that other network users will also experience little disruption. One way to implement the network upgrade is by deploying subnets that split the network into multiple access points.

Thus, the upgrade can be implemented progressively on various subnets, letting some subnets run as others undergo the upgrade. Creating subnets will also allow you to increase security on channels with highly sensitive data.

Operation and Evaluation

During the operation phase, it is essential to conduct a review of the efficiency of the upgrade.

During this, the team evaluates the network’s efficiency against the proposed functionality of the new network infrastructure.

While in the operation stage, you should also ensure all network users are provided with information regarding the network changes, including any altered functionalities at access points.

Expect to retrain personnel and other users on the upgrade to enhance personnel productivity and overall efficiency of the network.

The review of the operation phase helps your team to determine the user experience on the new platform and enables them to resolve errors quickly.

Whether your network is managed by an internal IT department or a managed service provider (MSP), the evaluation of the network operation should involve physically present technicians monitoring any breakdowns and resolving issues as soon as they arise.

What to Consider During a Network Upgrade

Now you are aware of the phases of a scheduled network upgrade, one essential factor to consider in the process is to always allow room for future growth.

It is almost impossible to design an upgrade that will last for the entire lifetime of the business. Gradual network upgrades approximately every four years are less costly for a growing business.

Also, consider aligning your upgrades with the business’s long-term goals, and time your upgrades for the appropriate season when the network experiences little traffic.

You should also consider sustainably upgrading your network, limiting the strain on financial resources available.

Summary

The advancing nature of cyberspace brings new and improved solutions to speed up digitized operations.

Businesses looking to benefit from the improvements are bound to upgrade their networks, not only to improve their operations but also access the latest security features to protect against evolving cyber attacks.

Upgrading your network to introduce the latest network features also serves to improve your customer relations by keeping your customers in touch with the latest technological experience.

However, the upgrade is no easy task; the process must be well planned to ensure simplicity in implementation. With a good plan, a business can conduct an upgrade that fits the planned budget and meets both current and projected network demands.

If you’re looking to upgrade your network, we’d love to help. Contact us today as we’re New Jersey’s top IT support company.