Information technology

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Information technology ( IT for short , often pronounced in English [ aː tiː ]) is a generic term for electronic data processing and the hardware and software infrastructure used for this. In industrialized countries, considerable parts of the administration, organization, communication and entertainment are implemented on the basis of information technology. The determining fundamentals of information technology are digital microelectronics and software technology. Your scientific treatment takes place in computer science.

The term actually refers to electronic information technology ( EIT ), information technology also includes non-electronic systems (such as initially purely electrical telephony and telegraphy). The actual technical term, however, is ( electronic ) information and data processing ( EID ), which summarizes the initially separate technologies of communication media ('information' in the original sense of the communication) and data processing in the narrower sense (of files, series of numbers and the like, EDP ) . Since the two terms information and data are largely merged in practice today, and technology and processing cannot be separated, the term “IT” is used for the entire technological sector.

The terms information technology and information technology can - in the non-scientific area - be seen as synonymous: “ Technology ” is usually understood to mean specific practical implementation (application), while “ Technology ” means research and development and the theoretical basis. In the highly innovative sector as well as in software, these are hardly separable.

A consideration in the 3-level model is suitable as a contemporary illustration of the classification of IT in higher-level systems. It shows connected technical systems and their benefits for individual users or for processes in organizations:

IT 3-level model: Information processing and information technology processes presented on three levels: 1. User and processes 2. IT functions (services) 3. IT infrastructure
Overview of the processes of information processing and information technology in a schematically simplified 3-level model of IT
  1. IT users and IT-based organizational processes
  2. IT functions: services and applications / portals and operating systems
  3. IT infrastructure (s) as the technical basis

Another view of IT, the view of the services offered by IT, is offered by the SOA ( service-oriented architecture ) concept.


Today, a distinction is made between four areas:

  • Business IT includes the IT of trade , the stock exchange , insurance , banking and taxation.
  • Industrial IT deals with the networking of machines in manufacturing and production processes within a plant, but increasingly also beyond the plant and company boundaries ( supply chain ). Industrial IT has recently been linked directly to business processes. This creates interfaces between the bus systems that control the machines and the resource planning systems ( ERP software ).

“A common name in the field of industrial IT is the technical term Operational Technology (OT), which tries to describe all interacting components in complex and dependent systems. These components are mostly controlled and monitored in a highly integrated manner using SCADA systems. "

  • Communications IT deals with the use of telecommunications.
  • Entertainment IT deals with gaming devices and multimedia applications.


Information technology is a link between classical electrical engineering and computer science . For example, it can be seen from the fact that many electrical engineering faculties of universities and departments of higher schools (e.g. technical colleges , HTLs) rename themselves to "information technology" or at least to "electrical engineering and information technology" or " information technology ".

Information technology is closely related to technical informatics , which among other things deals with switching networks and plants as well as the structure and organization of computers . But the (hardware) aspects of output and input devices, so classic and future human-machine interfaces ( human-computer interfaces ) belong to this area.

Digital signal processing and communication technology are in turn the basis for computer networks . The merging of information technology, telecommunications and entertainment electronics is therefore often referred to as information and communication technology (ICT) or information and telecommunications technology (ITK).

Developments in IT have changed many areas of life in recent decades, so in addition to the economy and the science . The research and development of human-computer interaction has also become increasingly relevant.

Due to the widespread use of IT, it also has a significant impact on the earth's ecosystem through its resource consumption. Sustainable and environmentally friendly IT is called green IT .


Information technology is used by companies , administrations , associations , private and other users. Security is very important for a smooth process. Without protection mechanisms, hackers , crackers or scriptkiddies can disrupt or damage the infrastructure through malware or other manipulations such as overloading. The attacks can be prevented by using protective software and other preventive measures.

Growth in global information technology capacity

The growth in global digital technology capacity was quantified in three distinguishable groups:

  • The growing capacity to transmit information through space ( communication );
  • the capacity to transmit information through time ( storage ); and
  • the capacity to calculate with information ( computer science ):
  1. The effective capacity of world information through the (bidirectional) telecommunications network was 280 (optimally compressed) petabytes in 1986, and 20% of this was transmitted in digital networks. In 2007 this global capacity grew to 65 (optimally compressed) exabytes, with 99.9% of the information transmitted being transmitted in digital bits. This is an annual growth rate of 30% and five times the rate of global economic growth .
  2. The global technological capacity to store information has grown from 2.6 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 1986 to 300 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2007, with less than 1% of global storage capacity digital in 1986 and nearly 95 in 2007 %. This is the informational equivalent of 404 billion CD-ROMs for 2007. It is believed that in 2002 it was possible for mankind to store more information digitally than in analog format for the first time; quasi the beginning of the "digital age".
  3. The world's technological capacity to compute information using general-purpose digital computers has grown from 3.0 × 10 8 MIPS in 1986 to 6.4 × 10 12 MIPS in 2007, which is an annual growth rate of 60%, that is, ten times faster than global economic growth .

Apprenticeship in Austria

Information technology is also a recognized teaching occupation in Austria. The training is divided into two separate areas of computer science and technology right from the start, but the apprenticeship period remains the same at 4 years. While the main focus of IT training is more about programming and adapting software, technology training is mostly hardware-specific.


  • Siegfried Wendt: Non-physical basics of information technology. Interpreted formalisms . Springer, Berlin 1989, ISBN 978-3-540-51555-5 .
  • Horst Jansen, Heinrich Rötter: Information technology and telecommunications technology (learning materials) . Europa-Lehrmittel, Haan 2003, ISBN 3-8085-3623-3 .
  • Andreas Holzinger: Basic knowledge of IT / computer science . tape 1 : Information technology (basic knowledge for the information society of the 21st century) . Vogel, Würzburg 2002, ISBN 3-8023-1897-8 .
  • Klaus Gotthardt: Basics of information technology . Lit-Verlag, Münster 2001, ISBN 3-8258-5556-2 .
  • Walter Hehl : Trends in information technology. From nanotechnology to virtual worlds . vdf Hochschulverlag AG at the ETH Zurich, Zurich 2008, ISBN 978-3-7281-3174-4 .
  • Horst Völz : That is information. Shaker Verlag, Aachen 2017, ISBN 978-3-8440-5587-0 .
  • Horst Völz: How we got to know. Not everything is information. Shaker Verlag, Aachen 2018, ISBN 978-3-8440-5865-9 .
  • Dietmar Schanner: Dictionary of Information Technology and Media . Cornelsen, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-464-49417-9 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Informationstechnik  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikibooks: EDP  - learning and teaching materials

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Institute for Internal Audit Austria - IIA Austria (Ed.): Information security management system. Damocleschwert Daten-GAU - Systematic examination and effective prevention . Linde Verlag, Vienna 2016, ISBN 978-3-7094-0850-6 , framework concepts and test approaches, p. 141 , p. 29 .
  2. Operational Technology
  3. Claudia Eckert: IT Security: Concepts - Procedures - Protocols. 9th edition. De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2014
  4. a b Video animation about The World's Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information from 1986 to 2010 ( Memento of the original from January 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. ^ A b c Martin Hilbert, Priscila López: The World's Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information . In: Science , 332 (6025), 2011, pp. 60-65; There is free access to the article through this page: