Computers play a fundamental role in virtually every aspect of the modern world. Engineers use computers to test and ensure structural safety in buildings; the banking industry relies on computers to operate automated teller machines (ATMs) and Internet banking services; environmentalists use computer programs to model the impacts of environmental pollutants; the health industry uses computers to store and secure patient records; and surgeons use computer-connected cameras in the operating theatre during surgical procedures. Development and maintenance in all these fields requires the help and support of IT professionals.
In just a dozen years, between 2000 and 2012, the rate of Internet usage worldwide increased by 566 percent. Today, roughly one-third of the world’s population (2.4 billion people) are using the Internet. Many of us who use the Internet on a regular or daily basis find it difficult to imagine our lives without it. Now, more than at any other time in human history, people have at their fingertips vast amounts of information on virtually all subjects. This technology has made it dramatically easier for individuals and groups to communicate with each other. In this context, the importance of the IT professional is put clearly in perspective.
Computers require energy to function: a typical desktop computer wastes more than half the power it draws from the power outlet. Huge amounts of energy could be saved by using efficient technologies, or merely by shutting the computer down after use rather than leaving it idle. Computer professionals play an important environmental role: they can influence the types of computers and computer-related technologies that are purchased, and how these devices and technologies are used.