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Information and Technology Sector, Technology

government computers, Census estimates, airline tickets, fastest rate, computer specialists

One of the most far-reaching technological advances of the late 20th century took place in the field of computer science. Computers developed from large, cumbersome, and expensive machines to relatively small and affordable devices. The development of the personal computer (PC) in the 1970s made it possible for many individuals to own computers and allowed even small businesses to use computer technology in their operations. The U.S. Bureau of the Census estimates that jobs in the computer industry are growing at the fastest rate of any employment area, with job openings for computer specialists expected to double from 1996 to 2006.

The Internet began in the 1960s as a small network of academic and government computers primarily involved in research for the U.S. military. Originally limited to researchers at a handful of universities and government facilities, the Internet quickly became a worldwide network providing users with information on a range of subjects and allowing them to purchase goods directly from companies via computer. By 1999, 84 million U.S. citizens had access to the Internet at home or work. More and more Americans were paying bills, shopping, ordering airline tickets, and purchasing stocks via computer over the Internet.

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