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4 English Technical Terms Every IT Professionals Should Know

It can happen to even the best English learner in the IT industry: The important email you just received has several words you do not understand or you couldn’t figure out the meaning of several words you heard during your last meeting covering tasks you are responsible for. Don’t ignore the chance for improvement and hope for better luck next time — learn the most important technical terms every IT professional should know!

Throughout my 20 years of working as an IT professional, there were four words that I have continued to hear over and over again in the workplace. Deliverables, brainstorming, overextended and service level agreement. These four words swirl around the daily activities of most tech professionals like a tornado in an open field. When you hear them, you need to recognize, understand and even use them while on the job.

1. Deliverables 


Deliverables are things to be provided, especially as a product of a development process. If you are a developer, the deliverable is often code. If you are a graphics designer, the deliverable is often a graphics file or series of graphics files. It is important to understand what deliverables you are responsible for when working in the technology field. 

It is also possible that as an IT professional, you are not responsible for providing deliverables. However, it is common that other teams may be responsible for providing deliverables to you and your team. Either way, understanding the concept is important in the tech industry.

2. Brainstorming


Brainstorming is a method for producing an idea or way of solving a problem by holding a spontaneous discussion with a group or mentally as an individual. While brainstorming can be used in any job or industry, it is particularly important in the IT field. If you are invited to a brainstorming sessions or asked to brainstorm ideas, you must know what that means.

It is not uncommon to have regular brainstorming sessions with your team or department. What usually happens at a brainstorming meeting is everyone writes down their ideas and then there is a discussion about the ideas, usually one at a time. At the end of the meeting only the best ideas are kept and another meeting may be needed to narrow down the list of ideas even more.

3. Overextended


Overextended is to have an excessive burden of work or commitments imposed upon you or your team in a work environment. This is another word that can apply both in and out of the workplace, however, you will hear and use it more often in the IT industry where being overextended is a common occurrence.

You will find yourself or your team overextended when you are assigned to too many projects or when you are given unrealistic delivery dates for deliverables. An individual or team can also be overextended when someone is absent from the team or leaves the company. You or the team will then have to do the work of two or more people.

4. Service Level Agreement (SLA)


A service level agreement or SLA is an agreement between a provider of a service and the person, group or company that is receiving the service. It is the person, group or company that determines the level of service that is expected. These agreements determine exactly what the person, group or company will receive.

A service level agreement can be your friend or your enemy but you must understand the concept in order to do your best as an IT professional. SLAs often determine what your team can provide and what other teams can provide for you. It is important that you learn the SLAs for every team that you rely on for your job. This will help you avoid making service requests that can not be filled because you are making a request outside of the SLA for a particular team. It is equally important that you know what the SLAs are for the different services offered by your own team. This is particularly helpful when services being requested by other teams are outside of your service level agreement.

These are just four common words you will or may already hear as an IT professional. Once you are able to understand what they mean and how they are used, you will be more prepared and more effective at your job.



What words at work do you hear often but don’t understand?

Leave them in the comments below.



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Senior English Trainer and Ruby on Rails Developer who has worked for over 20 years in the Information Technology industry. I have worked in IT departments at some of the largest companies in both the world and the United States such as JP Morgan Chase, Hewlett Packard, Raymond James Financial, Bank of America, IBM, AT&T Wireless, Sprint, etc. I am also an avid reader, writer and lover of the English language. 

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