Say What? How To Navigate The IT Language Gap

If the word “oracle” conjures up an image of a bearded sage and the term “corba” makes you think of a snake, maybe it’s time you got with the program. While it’s not necessary to know the meaning of every term associated with information technology?not to mention the related industries?familiarity with key terminology and acronyms can prove useful when conversing with candidates and writing job descriptions. Because the world of information technology is home to a language all its own, you might often feel like an alien among its full-time residents. But there are several resources that can help you translate?and even talk the talk. Webopedia is an online dictionary and search engine that allows you to search for computer and Internet technology terms. You can search by keyword or by category. Among the categories are “Communications,” “Computer Science,” “Graphics,” and “Multimedia.” Webopedia also includes a “Menu” section, under which you’ll find categories such as “Term of the Day,” “New Terms,” “Quick Reference,” and “Search Tool.” Clicking on “Quick Reference” provides you with common Internet and computer facts. “Search Tool” leads to the “Webopedia Personal Search Tool,” a link that you can drag and drop onto your personal bookmark tool bar for convenient access to Webopedia definitions. Webopedia’s definitions are easy to understand and, within each definition, there are other words to which you can also link for more information. TechEncyclopedia is a straightforward reference source with a database of 14,000 definitions. Simply key in a term and a definition is returned. But what a definition it is! Keying in the term “corba,” for example, resulted in a basic definition, followed by more detailed information, as well as system interface drawings and technical flow charts. TechEncyclopedia provides quite a bit of context for its definitions, which may be helpful if you need more than a brief overview of a term. WhatIs?com allows you to search for definitions of technological terms, as well as definitions of words relevant to industries associated with the Internet. At WhatIs.com there are two ways to search. You can enter a word or phrase in the “Quick Search” box and hit “Go,” or choose from an extensive alphabetical list of terms and categories. If you choose a category from the list, it will lead to more information. For example, choosing “advertising terms” returns a second list, also alphabetical, of terms relevant to Web marketing and advertising. The first item in the list is the word “ad.” Included as part of its definition are other terms, such as “banner” and “pixel.” Clicking on each of these returns a corresponding definition, which includes other keywords and the opportunity to access these as well. The information at WhatIs.com organized for quick reference, while the layers of information allow you to drill down for more detail if you so choose. At Acronyms and Abbreviations you can search for both technical and non-technical acronyms and abbreviations. The complete names of abbreviated companies are also available. In the search box, key in the acronym or abbreviation for which you want a full name and hit enter. The corresponding name is returned. Sometimes, as in the case of popular abbreviations, more than one item is returned. The Jargon File offers explanations of and insight into the use of key words and phrases associated with computer technology. The creator of the Jargon File, Eric Raymond, refers to his dictionary as a “comprehensive compendium of hacker slang illuminating many aspects of hackish tradition, folklore, and humor.” While it’s doubtful you’ll ever come across some of the more offbeat terms he’s included, The Jargon File can serve as a reference source for common computer terminology. It’s also particularly useful when trying to understand slang. In our fast-paced world, technology keeps evolving. And with it, the language too keeps changing. If it’s all geek to you, why not use a translator? Easy-to-use online resources offer a quick way to make those foreign terms understandable, and a little time spent learning a candidate’s lingo can translate into greater recruiting success.

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Paula Santonocito is an e-recruitment strategist and columnist for AIRS, the global leader in Internet recruitment training, tools, news and information. AIRS News:www.airsdirectory.com/news/newsletters/ AIRS Training:www.airsdirectory.com/products/training/ AIRS SearchStation:www.airsdirectory.com/products/tools/searchstation/

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