September 27, 2018 by Siobhan Climer
Cloud. Blockchain. NVMe. SSD vs HDD. Middleware. The list goes on and on. Just like any industry – whether education, healthcare, manufacturing, or finance – new recruits often go through a rigorous on-the-job language training.
While some companies take this to the extreme (See Google’s lexicon as an example; do you know what a ‘noogler’ is?), there are some basic terms that are applicable across the technology industry.
Our Tech Terms Dictionary breaks down the language barrier, providing you an opportunity to hone your technology fluency before your first day on the job.
Introduction To The Mindsight Tech Terms Dictionary
Since the technology sector is enormous, we are breaking down these tech terms into discrete sections, based on the tower under which they fall. We intend on including everything from bits and bytes to cloud and AI.
Before we start defining machine learning or the data center, though, let’s start with a brief overview of computers.
A computer is a machine that can be programmed to perform a series of tasks or instructions. Programmable calculators, like your TI-83, are technically computers. Over time, the definition of computer has become more nuanced.
Today, a computer typically references the desktop PC (personal computer) or laptop computer. There are multiple parts to these computers, though often they are referred to as a complete system. The computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and system unit are lumped together and referred to as a “computer”.
The internal parts of a typical PC include:
motherboard – (n.) is the main printed circuit board that holds and enables communication between the system’s electronic components, such as the CPU, RAM, and other sub-systems.
Synonyms: main circuit board, system board, baseboard, planar board, logic board
CPU – (n.) the Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the circuitry within a computer that performs the programs, such as logic, control, and input/output (I/O). Recall, a computer carries out instructions, or programs. The CPU is a processor that conducts these programs.
memory (or RAM) – (n.) also called ‘primary storage’, computing memory, or random-access memory (RAM), is the integrated circuits within a computer that store information for immediate use.
hard drive – (n.) the data storage device that uses magnetic rotating disks in partnership with a magnetic actuator arm to read and write digital information, storing and retrieving data.
Synonyms: hard disk drive, hard disk, fixed disk, HDD
Graphics card – (n.) a card that includes a graphics processing unit (GPU), which generates computations to create output images to display, usually on a monitor.
Synonyms: video card, display card, display adapter, graphics adapter
Computer = Machine; Network = System
A computer can sit by itself and perform incredible calculations or programs, but the heart of computing is communication. Information technology (IT) has come so far because of the network, which we will cover in the next volume of the Tech Terms Dictionary soon. Stay tuned!
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.