RE: History of the IT industry

Subject: RE: History of the IT industry
From: "Michael West" <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- com>
To: "'Andrew Warren'" <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 31 May 2008 18:25:07 +1000

From: Andrew Warren
> Michael West wrote:
> > It certainly is not suggested anywhere that the term "information
> > technology" was in use in the 17th century
> Right, Mike, but the term isn't even used NOW to describe anything but
> administration and computer-system management. As Gene's been saying,
> professional software engineers and computer designers don't identify
> as working in the "IT industry".

As I responded to Gene, the main reason they don't is because they do fact
work in many other industries -- banking, insurance, aerospace, etc etc.
"Profession" and "industry" mean different things. But I'd bet that software
engineers who work for Microsoft, IBM or Sun know what industry they work

> I mean... Take a look at that "History of IT" site whose URL you posted.
> the books they recommend on their "primers" page has "Information
> Industry" in its title; instead, every book calls it the Software
Industry, Computer
> Industry, Consumer Electronics Industry, or Computer Science Industry.
> -Andrew, who's been writing software, designing chips, and building
> electronics for 25 years, but who hasn't worked even one day in the IT

I don't know when the term "Information Technology" began to be used as an
umbrella term for those things you mention; Merriam Webster says 1978 but
I'd have guessed earlier.

I myself can remember when computer programming was considered a branch of
electrical engineering. There may be some other old-timers here who can
vouch for that. Now of course it is considered an engineering discipline in
its own right. None of the software developers I work with consider
themselves electrical engineers. But then, they don't have to handle vacuum
tubes and soldering irons to do their jobs, as programmers used to do.

But today when you read about the "IT industry" in the Wall Street Journal
or Business Week magazine, you're reading about companies whose primary
business involves the things I've mentioned above.

Mike West


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History of the IT industry: From: Michael West
RE: History of the IT industry: From: Fred Ridder
RE: History of the IT industry: From: Michael West
RE: History of the IT industry: From: Andrew Warren

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