A Beginner’s Guide to Information Technology

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 29, 2022 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated September 29, 2022

Published February 4, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Related: Top 10 Jobs in Tech

Are you interested in a career in tech, but are not sure which job is best for you, or how to start preparing for it? We have you covered!

Information technology (IT) is a broad term that describes many career paths that work with network architecture and security, troubleshoot hardware and software issues and ensure a company’s general technology infrastructure is safe and efficient. In this article, we will discuss what IT is, the different components of an IT department, the skills needed to work in IT and a list of common IT career opportunities.

What is information technology?

Information technology refers to the broad applied use of technology to solve business or organizational problems through the development, maintenance and use of computer systems, software and networks. Members of the IT department work with others within an organization to solve technology problems and enhance the overall user experience.

Parts of an IT department

Generally, there are three components of an IT department and they each perform different functions within an organization. Here are the three parts of an IT department and their functions:


IT professionals are responsible for installing and setting up computer networks in an organization. Information technology employees maintain system security and troubleshoot systems if a problem arises. This division of an IT department may write and enforce policies and processes that ensure effective IT systems that are run following an organization's needs.


The IT department maintains a company’s computers and provides user support to employees. Their responsibilities can include installing new software, troubleshooting problems and training employees on the proper usage of a software program.

Hardware and Infrastructure

This division of an IT department is responsible for the physical components of IT. The employees in this division will be responsible for the setup and maintenance of IT equipment for the company, including routers, laptops, phone systems and servers.

Required skills for IT Professionals

There are several technical skills, as well as a hybrid of hard and soft skills an IT professional will need to succeed in their career. The most important skills that an IT employer looks for are:

IT soft skills

  • Communication: Most IT jobs require strong communication skills, both verbal and written because email communication will likely be a large part of your position. As an IT professional, you'll need to be able to communicate efficiently with your supervisors and co-workers. You will work with them to solve technology problems and enhance user experience with hardware or software.

  • Organization: Many IT careers require you to work on multiple projects at the same time, so it’s important to be organized to stay on schedule. Learning how to prioritize your tasks is also a necessary skill in this field.

  • Analytical skills: Analytical skills allow you to notice, diagnose and fix technical issues. These abilities also allow you to identify problems before they present themselves. When you apply analytical skills, you should be able to identify trends over a period of time and key performance indicators.

  • Creativity: A critical requirement in today's IT jobs is the ability to work using technology in an innovative and creative way. Being creative about the way you approach problems and find solutions is a highly sought-after skill by any employer.

  • Project management: There are many projects and responsibilities that have deadlines in IT. Having good project management skills can help you complete projects efficiently and meet tight deadlines. IT supervisors are often called on to manage their own project deadlines, as well as surprise the progress of the employees who report to them.

Read more: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

Technical skills

  • Database management: IT professionals should know how to navigate database software and how to use forms and built-in forms in a database.

  • Network management: An IT employee will need to know how to effectively manage a company’s computer network.

  • IT management: Managing various IT resources efficiently in an organization should be a priority of an IT professional.

  • Software development: This skill is essential for those in IT operations since an organization may require new software to be developed by IT professionals who deal with programming.

  • Information security: One of the largest parts of IT for business organizations is keeping information secure and confidential. An IT professional needs to have a working knowledge of this technical skill to be successful in information technology.

  • Coding: Those who have IT jobs in operations need to know programming languages so they can code for websites, software development, database management and other technological systems.

  • Hardware management: IT employees who work with hardware and infrastructure will need to know how to set up hardware and maintain it for the best user experience possible.

  • Operating systems: Each organization will likely use a few operating systems for their devices and an IT professional should know not only how these systems work, but how to troubleshoot them as well.

Read more: Technical Skills: List, Definitions and Examples

IT career opportunities

There are many exciting opportunities for those with a variety of interests within the information technology career field. IT jobs will likely continue to experience growth in the coming years. Many IT jobs offer desirable benefits including a good salary, the option to work remotely and career growth opportunities. Here is a list of 20 IT jobs you may consider:

  1. Data architect

  2. Network administrator

  3. Database administrator

  4. Web developer

  5. IT help desk technician

  6. IT security specialist

  7. Software engineer

  8. IT manager

  9. Systems analyst

  10. Computer programmer

  11. Computer hardware engineer

  12. Chief information officer

  13. Cloud system engineer

  14. Senior network engineer

  15. Senior network system administrator

  16. Telecommunications specialist

  17. Systems designer

  18. Director of technology

  19. Software quality assurance analyst

  20. Senior programmer analyst

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