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by Steve Todd | January 05, 2010


The word information, according to Webster’s dictionary, has eight different potential meanings. For this discussion, I’ll directly quote the following definition (as it relates to computer information):
Information is data at any stage of processing (input, output, storage, transmission, etc.)

When interviewing for a high-tech job opportunity, your chances of making a great impression increase if you have a broad understanding of the above definition. If you already have a high-tech job, your chances for innovation will increase if you deepen your understanding of this very important term.

In fact, a typical job in the high-tech industry will often focus on a dedicated sphere of information management. Innovation is more likely to occur, however, when you combine your sphere with an adjacent sphere.

So what are the different spheres of information technology? These spheres are too numerous to describe in one post! Let’s start with a very basic picture describing the generation and storage of information.

information storage flow chart

At a very high-level, applications generate digital information and store them to a persistent storage device (such as a disk or tape). Here are some real-world examples of this kind of operation:

  • User clicks “Save As…” on a Word document and saves it to a local disk drive.
  • User downloads a music file to an iPod.
  • User inserts money into an ATM and a deposit transaction is stored.

There are literally dozens of technologies that revolve around the stream of digital information that is depicted in the center of the diagram above.

Knowing as many of them as possible is critical for your career.

There are technologies that capture information. There are technologies that encrypt information. Don’t forget routing, retaining, shredding, snapping and replicating! I’m just getting started. There are many, many more.

In 2010 I’ll be stepping through a fairly sizeable list of information technology spheres, with a goal of making the reader more conversant in each. Knowing the basics of each sphere will make you a more marketable high-tech candidate.

Once we get a handle on the full variety of spheres, future posts will describe effective methods for finding and combining spheres.

Twitter: @SteveTodd
EMC Intrapreneur


Filed Under: Technology