Information Technology Acronyms



Algorithm - Think of an algorithm as a calculation, such as 7 x 15.  Computers perform them all the time. Programmers write them as part of their applications

Application -  is a program, also called software.  For example, a payroll application could include several functions for payroll professionals to use in maintaining or processing payroll.  You will also hear the term application programmer refer to those professionals who develop these programs

BIOS - Basic Input/Output System

CPU - Central Processing Unit is the core or guts of a computer.  You will hear warnings of high CPU-usage or drains on the CPU.  The more strain that is put on a computer, the slower it will be

Database - is an organized collection of data

DBMS - Database Management System examples include Oracle, Sybase, or SQL Server.  These are systems and databases coupled together to manage large amounts of data.  Those who administer these databases are called Database Administrators (DBAs)

DNS - Domain Name System converts Internet locations into numbers, called IP Addresses.  For example, could be converted to a number like  This number is understood by computers.

DOS - Disk Operation System

Encryption is used to secure data.  Readable information is scrambled or changed into text that can only be read if another computer has the key to de-scramble it.  Encryption has become increasingly important for many types of data

GUI - Graphical User Interface describes the visual display that users interact with.  Think of the Microsoft Windows interface with icons, folders, and links

HDD - Hard Disk Drive

HDMI - High Definition Multimedia Interface is a digital interface used to transmit audio and video data in a single cable

HDTV - High Definition Television

HDV - High Definition Video

HTML - Hypertext Markup Language is the programming language that the web is written in.  You will see web pages names ending in .html

HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the protocol used to transfer data over the web

HTTPS - Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure is the same thing as HTTP but uses a secure socket layer (SSL) for security purposes.  Some examples of sites that use HTTPS include banking and investment websites, e-commerce websites, and most websites that require you to log in

I/O - Input/Output are operations, programs, or devices that move data.  I/O devices include disks, keyboards, printers, and USB sticks. You'll hear this term used by programmers also.  Many programs have to deal with input/output in terms of files or data coming into (and going out of) their applications

IP - Internet Protocol provides a standard set of rules for sending and receiving data over the internet.  It allows devices running on different platforms to communicate with each other as long as they are connected to the Internet.  In order for an Internet-connected host to be recognized by other devices, it must have an IP address.  This may be either an IPv4 or IPv6 address, but either way, it uniquely defines a device on the Internet

IRC - Internet Relay Chat allows people to chat with each other online

ISP - Internet Service Provider provides access to the Internet.  Whether you're at home or work, each time you connect to the Internet, your connection is routed through an ISP

JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group is a popular image file format.  It is commonly used by digital cameras to store photos

JSON - JavaScript Object Notation pronounced like "Jason" is a text-based data interchange format designed for transmitting structured data.  It is most commonly used for transferring data between web applications and web servers

LAN - Local Area Network is a network of connected devices that exist within a specific location.  LANs may be found in homes, offices, educational institution, or other areas

OS -  Operating System is the program that runs all system tasks and lets you run other applications. Examples include Microsoft Windows 10, Mac OS, Unix, or Linux

Programming Languages - A specific application or program that is used to develop programs is called a programming language.  Some of the common languages include Java, C/C++, or Visual Basic

RAMRandom-Access Memory uses RAM to run programs and carry out instructions.  A high-end system is going to need a lot of RAM!

ROM - Read Memory Only is the counterpart to RAM, called ROM, which is read-only.  Think of a hard disk that can only be written once. RAM, however, can be used and re-used

SMTP - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is the protocol used for sending e-mail over the Internet.  Your e-mail client (such as Outlook, Eudora, or Mac OS X Mail) uses SMTP to send a message to the mail server, and the mail server uses SMTP to relay that message to the correct receiving mail server

SQL - Structured Query Language is used to access or update data in databases

SSL - Secure Sockets Layer is a secure protocol developed for sending information securely over the Internet.  Many websites use SSL for secure areas of their sites, such as user account pages and online checkout.  Usually, when you are asked to "log in" on a website, the resulting page is secured by SSL

TCP - Transmission Control Protocol is a fundamental protocol within the Internet protocol suite - a collection of standards that allow systems to communicate over the Internet.  It is categorised as a "transport layer" protocol since it creates and maintains connections between hosts

TCP/IP - The purpose of Transmission Control/Internet Protocol was to allow computers to communicate over long-distance networks.  The TCP part has to do with the verifying delivery of the packets.  The IP part refers to the moving of data packets between nodes.  TCP/IP has since then become the foundation of the Internet.  Therefore, TCP/IP software is built into all major operating systems, such as Unix, Windows, and the Mac OS

USB - Universal Serial Bus is the most common type of computer port used in today's computers.  It can be used to connect keyboards, mice, game controllers, printers, scanners, digital cameras, and removable media drives, just to name a few

WAN - Wide Area Network is similar to a Local Area Network (LAN), but it's a lot bigger.  Unlike LANs, WANs are not limited to a single location.  Many wide area networks span long distances via telephone lines, fiber optic cables, or satellite links.  They can also be composed of smaller LANs that are interconnected.  The Internet could be described as the biggest WAN in the world

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