Different faces of Information Technology


JF-Expert Member
Apr 10, 2008
2006-06-29 09:47:35
By David Stanley

Many of us are not aware of the different specialties in IT. We believe an IT person can do anything from fixing a computer to fixing a network system. Our Correspondent David Stanley explains the differences in this article.

"HE is doing some computer stuff." "He is doing computers." These are some of the common statements that you hear from people saying about some of their relatives who will be in the IT field.

Most of the time we take it for granted that these people will be talking of something they will be knowing, but it is surprising that more than half of these people won't know exactly what their relative will be doing as far as their job is concerned. It is therefore important that people get to understand the different roles that exist in the IT field.

It is also interesting to note that sometimes I as a computer programmer have been approached by many people asking me to fix their computer hard drives or motherboards.

Telling them l wasn't in a position to do that to because l didn't have the technical know how to them would be something they could not take as a genuinely correct response.

Being a computer programmer l cannot fix a computer hard drive or a motherboard.

The answer to this lies in the fact that the IT field consists of so many different sub-fields within it.

This therefore means that there are specializations within the IT field. Very few people can be very good programmers and at the same time be good computer technicians.

The IT field can be broadly divided into software and hardware. Software mostly deals with the programme instructions that control the running of a computer, whereas hardware mainly focuses on the physical tangible components of a computer system, which includes the actual computer we can see, the keyboards, mouse, cables, modems etc.

Within software it can further be subdivided into systems software and application software.

This can also be further subdivided but for our purposes under software we can have people who deal with the development of the software as computer programmers, database administrators, systems administrators, computer analysts, system testers, system auditors among many others.

This means that these people play different roles in as far as IT is concerned and will therefore mean that their responsibilities will vary.

On the hardware side you can have computer technicians, network administrators amongst others. These mainly deal with ensuring that the set up for computers to be able to communicate with each other is there.

This means that this group of people would know for example, the electronics behind the computer or the components that make up a computer system.

A database administrator is responsible for managing organizations' data resources, data resources, database plans, operations, training, user support security and maintenance. The database administrator also maintains data consistency and security.

Web master is responsible for the implementation and administration of a World Wide Web site. Sometimes called Web administrators, webmasters normally have very broad responsibilities, which may include designing information architecture, designing and developing web pages, web scripting and programming, and overseeing the management of e-commerce capabilities.

Network engineers are responsible for the planning, designing, and implementation of Local and Wide Area Networks (LANs and WANs).

Network engineers usually design and implement large heterogeneous networks, and are required to have significant expertise in designing and administering network hardware and software from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco Systems.

It is not uncommon for network engineers to hold certifications such as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert, or Certified NetWare Engineer.

Computer Programmers are responsible for developing computer programmes, which allow end-users to interface directly with computer operating systems and hardware. Programmers also play a large role in developing computer programmes, which enable computer-to-computer communication, sometimes called scripts.

Programming is a specialized skill, which requires training in various types of programming languages as well as problem solving and logic. Programmers often use languages like Java, C++, and Visual Basic to write the programmes, and sometimes hold certifications like Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer or Sun Certified Java Developer.

Computer Analysts are responsible for designing and implementing computer information systems, and using computer-programming languages to write software applications for those systems.

Analysts often work together with system analysts to design complex computer systems, and then use programming languages like C++, Visual Basic, or Java to write applications with which end-users can access those systems.

IT Managers are responsible for managing an organization's overall internal information technology architecture.

IS managers (also called IT managers, for Information Technology managers) are responsible for the day-to-day management of an organization's information systems, including databases, operating systems, networks, technical support, and PC and server maintenance.

They normally supervise the other members of the IS staff, including the network administration teams, database administration teams, PC support and tech support specialists, and programmers.

They are also responsible for the budgetary and financial aspects of running the IS group, and often interface with vendors and consultants to purchase hardware, software, and services.

A Systems Administrator is responsible for managing an organization's computer and operating systems.

System administrators, or sys admins, normally manage and maintain several large-scale operating systems, such as UNIX and Microsoft Windows 2000, and are responsible for making sure that those operating systems work together, support end-users' business requirements, and function properly.

Sys admins are also responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of an organization's operating systems, including backup and recovery, adding and deleting user accounts, and performing software upgrades. Sys admins sometime hold technical certifications like Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer or Sun Solaris Certified.

Graphic design is the applied art of arranging image and text to communicate a message. This is done by graphic designers. It may be applied in any media, such as print, digital media, motion pictures, animation, product decoration, packaging, and signs.

It is important to note that with people getting to know the different roles in IT, this will also help in providing proper career advice in as far as the IT field is concerned and would also mean when a high school leaver says "I want to be a Network Engineer," he or she would know exactly what it takes to be a Network Engineer and the kind of work that is involved in that field.

SOURCE: ippmedia.com

You might find some specializations/titles ambiguous.
Computer Information Systems
Management Information Systems
Computer Engineering, Embedded systems
Security administrator

Check your encyclopedia for clarification; I use Wikipedia.

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