IT Terminology is Important

Why knowing your IT terminology is important

One of the things I learnt early on in my IT recruitment career was that technical definitions and particularly job titles mean different things to different people.

For those old enough to remember, there used to be a slot in a laptop that allowed expansion to add on things like network cards and sound cards and other interfaces to peripherals. The slot was called a PCMCIA slot. I don’t think anyone ever actually knew what that acronym stood for but some smart personcame up with a very appropriate one…

P – People

C – Can’t

M – Memorise

C – Computer

I – Industry

A – Acronyms

So given there’s some truth to that, why is it important we know our terms and that we can define our terms? It’s simple really – if you profess to be a technical professional then you need to be able to prove you have strong attention to detail. It’s one of the key traits of a technical profile because if you get the detail wrong, millions of dollars’ worth of data is at stake.

Take the job title “Network Engineer” for example. It took me a long time to work out that this term most commonly refers to engineers that support or install switches, routers and firewalls. They are communications engineers as opposed to infrastructure or systems engineers who work on servers and desktops at an operating systems layer.

Many will still use the term Network Engineer to cover all aspects of supporting a business IT system, effectively merging the roles of systems and network engineer into the one title of Network Engineer. Given that in a lot of smaller businesses there is only a few switches and routers, this role could actually be 80% systems and only 20% network or communications focused.

So apply your attention to detail trait and be careful to ask the right questions to be sure you know exactly what a job title or acronym means.

Using an acronym out of context or not being precise about version numbers can cause your technical cred to plummet quickly. There was no Office 2012 version. Exchange Server 2008 doesn’t exist and you look like a newb if you have inaccurate technical information like that on your resume.

The devil is definitely in the detail technical people!

I’m keen to hear of any stories out there where someone’s lack of attention to detail in IT has been a big problem for you or your company.

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