Interpreting Information Technology

September 22, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

How would one define Information Technology? A formal definition would state that it is an application of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data. Most would not find this an exciting concept but taking a deeper look may prove otherwise. We as end users only see the finished products without thinking of the raw data or its implications. With a little help from you, the boring data tables and numbers can be far more than just numbers and tables.

What you may not know is how important information can be found almost anywhere. In this example I will take an otherwise boring set of data and show you how IT professionals turned it into something most would enjoy. Think about your personal fitness and the machines at the gym. While you are running on the treadmill, its tracking and displaying information like distance, time, and possible calories burnt. This is useful information but not in the most useful place. What if you could track all of this and more just from walking up three flights of stairs to your class or even taking a longer route to your car at the end of the day? One such example is a company called “Misfit Wearables”. They have aimed at creating a product that monitors this information from your daily routine and syncs to your smart phone to let you know how active you actually are.

Maybe this still doesn’t excite you. Maybe working out at the gym or jogging isn’t really your thing. This very same information can also pique interest by conveying it to you in a more entertaining atmosphere. Take my previous example and then imagine a game that places you inside of a zombie apocalypse but instead of a game pad for a controller, you are jogging away from zombies by actually jogging. This game does exist and you can find it by the name “Zombies, Run! 2” on the android store. It provides a similar purpose of tracking your activity and creates a fun and motivational way to manipulate that very same information.

These are just a couple of the many examples a data set can be utilized and turned into something entertaining. The exciting part of IT is not the information or even the technology by itself. It is the ideas you come up with to convey it. You can apply it in both your personal and professional lives whether it be in the form of a excel spreadsheet displaying graphical data for a meeting or a game that encourages you and your friends to become more active.

You may be thinking that this is great and all but I have no idea how to write programs or use Excel. Fortunately information technology has you covered. If you are interested, one of the best ways to start learning a topic in IT is to search tutorials on Google (YouTube is an excellent starting point). If you start finding yourself enjoying it then take a few IT classes or make it your major. I once knew a girl who after taking her first java class (with no prior IT experience), compiled her grandmother’s old cooking recipes into an app just as smartphones began to hit the market. Last I heard from her, she was making five figures a year (from her apps alone) while attending college for something entirely unrelated to IT.

The point is that IT is for everyone and you do not have to be a computer guru to get involved. It’s only a matter of conveying some information in a useful or entertaining way. While the formal and less fun definition of IT exist, it does little to show you what it can be capable of. So now it is up to you to think about what you could do with boring data tables or even possibly your grandmother’s old recipe cards you found in the attic.

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