IT Job Interview Tips: Know Your IT Terminology

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Last week I posted the top 77 interview questions that you need to be ready for when interviewing for an IT position.

To further help you with your job interview preparation, I decided to put together a quick IT terminology cheat-sheet.

The terms that are listed here are just your basic networking terminology, but they frequently come up during your typical interview with a prospective employer. That's why it's important that you know them backwards and forwards -- and that you're able to explain them well, even when you're under pressure.

So if you're applying for a position within the IT field -- whether it's an entry level job, a help desk position, or even a junior administrator or network administrator position -- you should have a good knowledge of these terms and their definitions.

After all, you don't want to blow your chances at a great job just because you forgot your basic networking terms.

As I did in my last post, I encourage you to contribute your key IT terminology in the comments and if you want, the definitions too. Let's make this a living document that everyone can benefit from!

  • Bandwidth - is a data transfer capacity or data rate measured in bits

  • BIOS - means basic input output system

  • Binary Number System - is a system that represents numeric values using two symbols: 0 and 1

  • Bit - is a binary digit of value either 0 or 1

  • Bridge - is an internetworking device used to help conserve the bandwidth on the network

  • Broadcast - is where you simultaneously transmit a message to all computers on a network

  • Byte - organizational unit for data consisting of eight bits

  • Client - is a device or system that requires services from other device or system (known as server)

  • Computer Network - is an interconnection of a group of computers

  • CPU - Central Processing Unit, also called as processor is a class of logic machines that execute computer programs

  • Data - is a digital representation of anything in any form

  • Default Gateway - is a router that serves as an access point to another network

  • DNS - Domain Name System translates names into an IP addresses

  • Fault Tolerance - is an ability of a system to continue perform his functions when one or more of its components has failed

  • Frame - is a data packed of fixed or variable length. It consists of header frame synchronization, payload, and trailer

  • FTP - File Transfer Protocol is a network protocol used to transfer data from one computer to another through a network

  • Full Duplex - is a system that allows communication in both directions at the same time. Example, land-line phone

  • Half Duplex - is a system that allows communication in both directions by only in one direction at a time. Example, a "walkie-talkie" style two-way radio

  • HTML - Hyper Text Markup Language for web pages

  • HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol - is a communication protocol that transfers information on the World Wide Web

  • Hub - a device for connecting multiple twisted pair or fiber optic Ethernet devices together, making them act as a single network segment

  • Internet - is a worldwide, public series of interconnected computer networks that transmit data using Internet Protocol

  • Intranet - is a private computer network that uses Internet Protocol to securely share part of an organization's information or operations with its employees

  • IP Address - is a unique address that certain electronic devices such as computers use in order to communicate with each other on a computer network

  • IP Telephony - Voice over Internet Protocol optimized for the transmission of Voice through the Internet

  • LAN - Local Area Network - is a computer network covering a small geographic area (home, office, building)

  • MAC - Media Access Control address, also known as hardware address is a unique identifier attached to Network Interface Cards

  • RAM - Random Access Memory is a type of computer data storage where the information is lost after the power is switched off

  • Multicast - is where you simultaneously transmit a message to a group of computers on a network

  • OS - Operating System is the software that manages the resources of a computer

  • OSI Model - Open System Interconnection Basic Reference Model is a layered, abstract description for communications and computer network protocol design; it's 7 layers are: Physical Layer, Data Link Layer, Network Layer, Transport Layer, Session Layer, Presentation Layer, and Application Layer

  • Protocol - is a set of rules that controls connection, communication, and data transfer between two computing endpoints

  • Repeater - is a device that retransmits a signal at a higher level or power

  • RJ-45 - Registered Jack - is a standardized physical interface for connecting computer networking equipment

  • Routers - a device that controls data packets forwarding between different networks

  • Routing - is a process of moving data packets from source to destination

  • Server - is an application or a device that performs services for connected client

  • Switch - is a device that connects network segments

  • TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol is a set of communications protocols that implement the protocol stack on which the Internet runs

  • Telnet - it stands for Telecommunication Network; It is a network protocol used in Internet and LAN connections

  • Unicast - is where you transmit a message to a single computer on a network

  • VPN - Virtual Private Network is a communications network tunnel through another network, dedicated for a specific network

  • WAN - Wide Area Network is a computer network that covers a broad area

Are there any important IT terms that aren't listed here? Feel free to add yours in the comments below!

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Gosia Grabowska

Gosia Grabowska is an experienced Network Support Specialist and an expert in Windows Server support. She graduated from DePaul University, Chicago with a Bachelor degree in Network Technologies with highest honors. Gosia has over 8 years of technical and support experience and has worked as Systems Administrator for a high profile law firm, where she managed the Backup and Disaster Recovery plan. Gosia has been a part of the Train Signal team since 2006 as the Product Manager and has written many articles on a variety of topics, including Exchange Server 2007, Windows Vista, Small Business Server, and more. (MCTS Active Directory, MCTS Vista, Network+, Linux+, Project+, PMP)