What is Information Technology?
Information technology, or IT, is the part of the engineering field that deals with the transmission, retrieval, and storage of data using computers or computer networks as well as telephones, cell phones, and televisions. Information technology is most commonly associated with the manufacture, distribution, and maintenance of computer hardware and software, electronic devices, and equipment used in telecommunications. Some of the tasks that information technology specialists may perform include setting up computer networks, installing hardware or software, creating and installing security systems for networking, or providing troubleshooting support.
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Information Technology and the Criminal Justice System
Widespread access to computers and the Internet have made combating virtual crime increasingly problematic for law enforcement. Incorporating information technology into various aspects of the criminal justice system has made it easier for local, state, and federal agencies to share information and work cooperatively to detect and deter criminal behavior online. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division uses information technology to maintain a national fingerprint identification system, provide criminal background check services nationwide, and maintain national databases on crime statistics. Law enforcement agencies at all levels rely on information technology to aid in the detection and deterrence of a wide range of crimes, including human trafficking, computer hacking, the distribution of child pornography, and cyber terrorism.
IT Careers in Criminal Justice
Information technology specialists may be employed by law enforcement agencies, the courts, or the corrections system at the local, state, or federal level. There are a number of different career paths to choose from within the criminal justice-IT field. Computer forensics, for examples, deals with the investigation of computer crime. Depending on the type of crime that’s been committed, a computer forensic specialist may be asked to recover files or data from a computer for use as evidence, investigate instances of illegal entry into a computer system, or analyze media files in varying formats. At the state and local levels, IT technicians may be responsible for establishing and maintaining websites for government agencies, assisting in maintaining criminal databases such as a sex offender registry, or maintaining computer systems and networks on-site at police departments, prisons, or court offices.
Completing a Degree in Criminal Justice Information Technology
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice information technology, you’ll need a comprehensive educational background in both fields. You could choose to major in one subject and minor in the other, complete a double major in both criminal justice and information technology, or look for a program that offers a combined criminal justice IT degree. Regardless of which route you choose, the types of courses you’ll need to complete will generally be the same. In terms of criminal justice, you can expect to take classes in policing, corrections, criminal law, criminology, criminal procedure, and juvenile justice. The degree requirements for information technology may include classes in networking, information security, programming, web design, and multimedia technology.