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The technology sector may arguably be the most important section of today’s economy. With technological innovations transforming every aspect of business in virtually every market, technology investing is driving the way we understand investing as a whole.
Although the term technology encompasses any instrument or system that solves a problem more effectively than pre-existing solutions (think of the invention of fire!), today technology has moved well beyond these humble roots. From 3D printing, which has transformed the way companies approach manufacturing, to nano tech, which has benefited causes as diverse as cancer therapies and solar energies, new technologies are radically transforming our world.
Major Tech Sectors
It is difficult to separate the technology industry into separate parts, as there are so many connections uniting this industry. However, Investopedia suggests some general subsections into which the the tech industry can be divided.
Network technology companies encompass internet based businesses and e-commerce site, like Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which have transformed commerce in both business-to-customer and business-to-business focused realms.
Software bridges the gap between humans and machines, facilitating access to advanced hardware technologies.This section of the technology sector is dominated by large software companies like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). However, due to relatively low start up costs, there are also a plethora of start-up companies in this sector, developing everything from new apps to cloud based computing solutions.
Hardware devices, usually driven by semiconductors, can include computers, cell phones, technical equipment and telecommunications equipment, amongst other things. Semiconductors, also known as micro/nano chips, make up the backbone of the tech industry, powering everything from supercomputers to cell phones. This section of the tech industry is perpetually working towards creating smaller, faster, and cheaper chips while at the same time increasing functionality and storage capacity.
However, these divisions are very general, and always bleeding into one another. A discussion of technology investing cannot be limited to computers and nanochips. New technologies can break ground in medicine, agriculture, manufacturing, energy production, and most other sectors of the economy. If there is a breakthrough new innovation, you can be assured that technology played some role in it.
There is an almost infinite array of investing opportunities in the technology sector. Indeed, our increased reliance upon computers has generated entirely new fields of investing potential. For example, the sheer amount of information generated from day to day transactions has generated the need for data companies, which store, process, and analyze this information, and cloud computing solutions, which store this data on secure external servers.
However, with the good comes the bad, and this increased reliance on computer platforms has led to a new generation of cyber attacks, which target the secure cyber platforms of companies, governments, and other organizations. Luckily, cyber security has emerged as a new growth industry, to ward against these attacks.
These growing technology markets bode well for technology investing as a whole. By carefully researching tech companies, sizing up their competition, and keeping a diligent watch on the markets, investors can expand their opportunities and maybe even catch the wave of the next technological revolution.