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February 8, 2013

20 Most-Common Terms Entry-Level IT Professionals Should Know

By Terms

If you’re thinking of a career in information technology or if you’ve just joined the industry, here are the most common IT terms you ought to know. Each term has its own definition and explanation of its relevance to IT professionals.

1. Adaptive Technology

What is It?

Adaptive technology is a set of tools or products created to help people with disabilities in order for them to work efficiently and productively.  It is related to assistive technology, which consists of products and services that would allow people with disabilities to use existing technology to accomplish tasks.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Technology should help everyone do his or her own work and be more independent.  Disabilities should not hinder people from being a contributing member of the workforce.  What’s more, the law states that employers should not discriminate against people with disabilities and that they should make reasonable adjustments to accommodate these people.

2. Agile Development

What is It?

Agile development is a set of processes for creating software that includes being creative and flexible in software development. This means that the code is kept simple, is tested often, and, instead of waiting for everything to be finished, incremental but functional parts of the software is released as soon as it is ready.  These modules are functional and will be able to help users do some work.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Businesses today have different needs and because of the ever-changing demands coming from new technologies and customers, you would need to be very flexible in addressing these needs and demands.  Agile development allows you to bring a quality and functional product more quickly.  And because agile development puts more focus on individuals and their ideas rather than tools and processes, it creates a better understanding between IT and business leaders.

3. Big Data

What is it?

Big data describes the phenomenal growth, use and accessibility of information.  This comes from a lot of sources such as social media updates, search data, multimedia content and even climate information, among others.  As such, it could be structured or unstructured.  Big data could also mean the rise of new tools to analyze all the data available to you.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Because of the size and complexity of big data, it is not possible to understand it using old data processing applications and other traditional tools.  But to ignore big data is a mistake for organizations.  For one, it allows you to have all the information you need in order to know where you should take your business next, as well as which innovations you should look out for.  It can also assist businesses in mass personalization: the ability to tailor services and information being presented to each customer or user.

4. Business Intelligence

What is It?

Business intelligence refers to an array of software and tools that businesses can use to analyze raw data.  It includes data mining, analysis and reporting.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Business intelligence allows you to cut cost, make better business decisions and even come up with new opportunities for your business.  For IT professionals, these tools and software free them up from having to do all the work in pulling up data and information for business managers.

5. BYOD

What is It?

Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, describes company policy or strategy that allows employees to use their personally owned devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops to access work-related information, software and applications, while still getting IT support for these devices.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

BYOD brings about a lot of benefits to businesses that implement it.  For one, it allows their employees to be more flexible and responsive.  Plus, employees using a device that they are already familiar with can also free up IT resources and cut IT costs.  But there is still a need to effectively manage personal devices used in business to mitigate security risks.

6. Cloud Computing

What is it?

Cloud computing is an umbrella term that includes products, services and platforms that allow businesses and other users to access computing resources that are delivered to them over the Internet or other networks.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Businesses stand to gain a lot from cloud computing.  It allows businesses to save on costs, bring projects to the market in a lot less time, and enables them to effectively manage resources by allowing them to scale according to their needs.  For IT personnel, cloud computing could free you from having to manage and administer these systems yourself, leaving you more time to focus on things that matter.  You will also be working with experts from the cloud service provider.  As more and more businesses are looking to the cloud, IT personnel should acquire the skills to properly implement these systems.

7. Content Management

What is It?

Content management is a collection of tools, software and processes that allow you to collect, manage and publish information on any medium.  Content management also ensures that whatever content you have is indexable or searchable, making it easy for users to find that information.  It also encompasses deletion of content.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Content management can make or break an organization’s success.  You get to control the information that other people get to access.  As such, being an IT professional, you would be expected to know effective content management strategies as well as the tools and software to implement these.

8. Cross-Platform

What is It?

Cross-platform (a.k.a. agnostic, agnostic application and agnostic platform) refers to something that is interoperable among different operating systems, systems and platforms.  Cross-platform, however, is more focused on software that can run on any operating system and on any processor architecture.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

As an IT professional, you would want something that you could use on any computer anywhere.  As a software developer, you would want to have as many potential users as possible.  But this is becoming very pronounced now as more and more devices become available.  Moreover, there are a variety of operating systems for each of these devices.  Coming up with a Cross-platform software ensures your dominance in your field.  Take for example Firefox.  Mozilla has poured a lot of hours to make sure that Firefox works on PCs, Macs, Linux machines, iOS and Android devices.  What this means is that a lot more of their users are using Firefox and keeping their devotion to the browser.  This leaves no leeway for the competition to get into the picture.

9. Crowdsourcing

What is It?

Crowdsourcing means the outsourcing of your tasks to, well, a crowd of people.  That is, you will have a loosely defined group, which will do the work for you.  Crowdsourcing takes away the task that you have to do in-house or by using an employee and letting a bigger group of people do it.  In IT, crowdsourcing usually involves the general public.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Crowdsourcing is a good way to gain a bigger work force or gain specific skill sets to make your product or service even better.  An example where crowdsourcing works perfectly is in your Web site’s content.  In an age where unique content is vital, you could use crowdsourcing to come up with great content for your site.  You can ask people to rate or review your products.  Or they could write posts for you.  Another example would be its utility with a new software or service.  When Google first came out with Chrome, they invited users to check out a beta version of the product and asked them to report errors and suggest more functionality.

10.  Customer Relationship Management

What is It?

Customer relationship management refers to a set of processes, tools, technologies and software that help businesses manage their relationships with their customers.  For instance, a customer relationship management software would be able to give businesses enough details about their customers from the level of communication that has been done by each customer and when.  This allows businesses to personalize and customize their contacts with the customer to gain more sales.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Building relationships with the customer allows a business to sell more.  But that is not the only reason why CRM tools, processes and software are very important as it also enables businesses to know just what a customer needs.  As an IT professional, you would need to know these platforms and software so that you could fine-tune it to the business’ needs.  What’s more, it has backend programming and interfaces that only IT could deliver.

11.  Data Center

What is it?

A data center is a repository for managing, storing and disseminating information and data that is organized around a specific business or body of knowledge.  In short, it is a facility that houses your computer systems, components, servers and storage systems.

Examples of data centers include the National Climatic Data Center, which houses weather information, and your own company’s data center.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

A data center becomes increasingly important as your company grows.  It is vital to business operations and continuity.  If your IT system is compromised, so will your operations.  At the heart of every data center is the IT team running it.  As an IT professional, you will be expected to know how to maintain, administer and run a data center and its associated services.

12.  Disaster Recovery

What is It?

Disaster recovery is your business’ ability to continue working after a catastrophe has occurred.  The catastrophe could be in the form of a computer virus or a hacker attack, a fire or even natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

This is closely related to business continuity, which allows your business to continue operating even during such catastrophes.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Just think about this.  IT downtime is the reason why businesses lose $26.5 billion each year.  So can you just imagine how much money a business would lose in the event a natural calamity strikes or in the event your system gets attacked by cybercriminals?  IT fuels much of today’s business operations and, as such, a big part of any disaster recovery plan involves or is even more focused on IT and its resources.

13.  Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

What is It?

Disaster recovery as a service is implementing your disaster recovery policies and procedures with the help of the cloud.  DRaaS is not just merely backing up your data on the cloud, but you can also tap computing power from your cloud provider so that you could more or less have a virtual machine where you could continue to operate from.  Merely backing up your data would mean that you can just download the latest backup when disaster strikes.  If you have lost your computers and network during the disaster, you will need to buy before you could continue to operate.  DRaaS takes care of that, which reduces the delay in getting back on your feet.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

As more and more go to the cloud, more and more businesses are also realizing the benefits of doing so.  With disaster recovery and business continuity becoming a vital part of every business, IT professionals would need to learn how to leverage DRaaS and still keep it cost-effective for the company.  Tech professionals would need to ensure that data put on the cloud is secured, and accessible whenever it is needed.  But they also have to balance these with the costs.

14.  Disruptive Technology

What is It?

First coined by Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor and best-selling author, disruptive technology refers to a new technology that surprisingly displaces an already established one.

Examples of disruptive technology: Take a look at how far your own computer’s storage has gone.  First, you have the 5.25 inch floppy disk drive, which replaced those bulky 8-inch floppy disks.  Then you had the CDs and then the flash drives that could store more than your hard drive could, in some cases.  Then from having these flash drives, you could now download content from the net and have these stored on the cloud.

Traditional, bulky and multi-volume printed encyclopedias have also been dying because of online encyclopedias and wikis.  CRT TVs have long lost to LCD and Plasma TVs.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

IT is a very dynamic field and innovations come up every so often. IT professionals would need to keep their skills updated and be on the lookout for disruptive technologies that could replace tech that is currently in order to remain relevant in the industry.

15.  Enterprise Architecture

What is It?

Enterprise architecture is basically a function that helps businesses find out how to implement the best strategies for its development.  Think of it as a business’ blueprint for success.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

IT is one of the resources that are managed in enterprise architecture.  People, operations and information are the other three.

16.  Green Technology

What is it?

Green technology is technically environment-friendly innovations and technology that relate to safety, health, energy efficiency, renewable resources and recycling, among other things.

Examples of green technology include solar cells, reusable bottled water, and other similar products.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Green technology is not only great for the environment, but as more and more people become environmentally aware, they tend to go for products and innovations that help save Mother Earth.  Not only that, green tech also helps them save on energy bills.

17.  Healthcare IT

What is It?

Healthcare IT or health information technology is a function of IT that deals with the creation, design, use, development and maintenance of IT systems to be used in the healthcare industry.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Healthcare IT systems are very beneficial to hospitals, clinics and other health businesses because it can lower their costs, reduce errors and increase efficiency that all lead to better patient care.  This would call for skilled IT practitioners who could work to improve the computer systems and compliance of healthcare related businesses, thus offering a new area where skilled IT professionals would be more in demand.

18.  IT Governance

What is It?

IT governance is just corporate governance that is focused on information technology systems.  It reviews the performance and security risks of IT systems.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

IT governance is required by law, especially due to the Sarbanes Oxley Act and Basel II.  But more than this, IT governance will show the business just how important IT is to it, as well as define key metrics with which to measure performance and whether or not IT is helping the organization achieve its goals.

19.  ITIL®

What is It?

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) sets forth the best practices and standards for providing IT services.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

ITIL® is a highly credible framework that all IT professionals should consult and adhere to when doing their jobs.  It is adopted by most IT departments.  Certification for ITIL® is also highly sought after and could help you build a career in IT, as well as give you a higher salary.

20.  Virtualization

What is It?

Virtualization is the development of a virtual version of an IT resource, such as a server, storage, device, or even operating system.  It simulates software and hardware that allows a software to run.  Virtualization gives rise to virtual machines where you can run programs very much like on a physical machine.

Why is it Important to the IT Professional?

Because of its benefits to businesses, such as significant cost savings and the ease with which a business can allocate vital resources, virtualization remains to be an important trend in IT.  IT professionals who know how to configure, maintain and administer virtual servers, desktops, applications and storage will surely be in demand.

If you’re interested in learning more about some of these terms, check out TrainSignal’s iPads in the Enterprise and VMware Training Videos.

ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Cabinet Office.

About the Author

Michael Gabriel Sumastre is a skilled technical blogger and writer with more than seven years of professional experience in Web content creation, SEO and research paper writing. He has written more than a thousand articles related to tech and gadgets, cloud computing, IT management, SEO, SEM and software solutions. He ghostwrites books / e-books and has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. Michael is also an expert in webmastering and loves to ride his sportsbike. He maintains his portfolio and personal blog at TheFinestWriter.com

Author's Website: http://www.thefinestwriter.com


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