Those unfamiliar with the world of computers and technology often confuse and interchange “information technology” and “information systems”. While there are similarities between the two, these terms refer to very different things in the computing world.
If you are looking into a career in either of these fields, or simply want to tell them apart, here are a few characteristics of both IT and IS:
What is Information Technology?
Although the label may be used to describe a variety of concepts, information technology generally refers to two things: the comprehensive idea of computing as a whole, and the title of an education channel and eventual career that people in this field chase. Those that pursue this career, known as IT specialists, are responsible for understanding the technology needs of organizations, schools, businesses, and any other entity that relies on the use of computers. Because they must often work in mid-level business positions, IT professionals must have an understanding of business management and people skills, as well as a solid working knowledge of advanced computing. These individuals are relied upon to choose the correct software and hardware components to meet the needs of their institutions, and use their abilities to both integrate them into the structure of the business, as well as educate other workers on their use and efficacy. Because computer security is vital, IT professionals must also have a strong grasp of this topic as well.
What is Information Systems?
While information technology is more concerned with the type of equipment that can help an organization, as well as its present technology needs, information systems are catered towards understanding how specific computational components can be used in conjunction with each other to create a functional working system. More comprehensively, information systems examine an organization as a whole, and attempt to discover what sort of computer-based system would aid in the storage and dissemination of pertinent information. Because of its less computational and more business-like nature, those involved in the information systems field must have a detailed knowledge of the inner workings of an organization, as they will use that knowledge to select and manipulate the best system possible. Information systems professionals are tasked with understanding the organizational structure of an institution, as well as the technology needs that it may have. Additionally, these people are often in charge of establishing training programs to utilize newly adopted information systems, as getting personnel to quickly adapt to this switch is necessary to streamline ongoing projects.
Differences Between IT and IS
When examining both IT and IS, notice that both revolve around the nature of the use of software and hardware to aid businesses or other organizations. That aside, while those involved in IT are responsible for working with software and hardware used in these organizations, those working in IS must look beyond that to discover what technology can do for a company, and how to employ it correctly to ensure unity and synergy in the office.