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Your Guide To IT Vocabulary

Category: Business English Skills, Language Training | 2018-10-25

“Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it on and off again?” This common line from the British TV comedy The IT Crowd is one you might hear from your own IT department once in a while. (And if you haven’t seen The IT Crowd, you definitely should.)

In today’s world, it’s particularly important to know a little bit about IT (information technology), whether you’re in the IT department or not. And if you are in the IT department, you may need to know some common terms in English, too!

Here is some common IT vocabulary you should know for the modern workplace:

IT Vocabulary You Should Know

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Application (App)

An application is more than what’s on your phone, it can be on your computer, too. An application is something like word processors, Powerpoint, spreadsheets, etc. Applications may also be called end-user programs.

Back up

To back up your data is to copy your files to another source in order to protect it against accidental loss. Backing up your computer is very important to do, so don’t forget to do it regularly!


The CPU is the “central processing unit,” essentially the brains of a computer.


A database is a collection of data, which is arranged in a way that is quick and easy to search through to find what you need.

Hard drive

A hard drive is a data storage device in a computer using one or more rigid, rapidly rotating disks.


Firewalls are especially important to have on your computer, particularly if it’s a work computer! Firewalls are applications used to protect unauthorized users from accessing parts of a network or computer that they’re not supposed to.


HTML is the abbreviation for Hypertext Markup Language, and is a computer language used to develop different aspects of web pages.


LAN, or Local Area Network, is an interconnection of computers in close proximity to each other, usually within a building.


A network is a group of connected computers and devices (like printers), which can exchange information with each other.


RAM, or Random Access Memory, is computer memory that stores and retrieves data values while the computer is functioning.


ROM is a computer memory chip that stores updates, however, it does not allow updates. The ROM values are retained even when the computer is unpowered.


A server is, quite simply, a computer or program that provides services to other programs or users.


Is your computer in need of an upgrade? Upgrading means to update a computer or device to a newer version.


A Wide Area Network, or WAN, is the opposite of a LAN. A Wide Area Network is used to describe a computer network over a large area, such as several buildings, a whole city, or multiple cities.






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Putting it All Together

Now that you have the basics of IT vocabulary, you are ready to speak with your IT department with confidence. Are you in IT? What jargon do you use on a regular basis? Share your common vocabulary words with the community in the comments below!

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