The tech industry loves its abbreviations! If someone tries to baffle you with acronyms without saying the words in full at least the first time, I suggest you pull them up and ask them to explain themselves. It can often wipe off a smug smile if the IT insider doesn’t know himself!
And having used up all the three letter combinations, many TLAs use four or more letters!
Here’s a brief list to kick off, but Google is your friend in tracing many of these. Feel free to suggest more we should add to this list.
AD – Active Directory, the address book in a Windows server that remembers who is who
CAL – Client Access Licence, a method of making sure you buy enough copies of software for everyone
CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, those weird squiggles you sometimes need to decipher and type to log in to web sites
DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, the rules a server uses to give everyone a unique IP address
DOC – The file name extension for Microsoft Word Documents
GB – Gigabyte, a measure of memory or disk space. Equivalent to about a thousand million letters
HDMI – High Definition Multimedia Interface, a high quality connection for sound and video for TVs
IP – Internet Protocol, usually referring to the unique number allocated to a computer on a network, represented by four 3 digit numbers separated by spaces
LAMP – Linux Apache MySQL PHP (or PERL or Python), refers to popular free open source software
MB – Megabyte, a measure of memory or disk space. Equivalent to about a million letters
Mbps – Mega bits per second, speed or bandwidth of a network. More is better
MCP – Microsoft Certified Professional, a certificate you can earn through a multiple choice exam to show your knowledge of Microsoft products
MCSE – Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, a certificate you can earn through a multiple choice exam to show your knowledge of Microsoft products. Harder than MCP
NAS – Network Attached Storage, a box of disks you attach to your network to give lots of storage space
NAT – Network Address Translation, part of a firewall that connects your network to the internet
PDF – Portable Document Format, a popular file format that looks and prints the same on all computers
PPT – The file extension for Microsoft Powerpoint files
PSU – Power Supply Unit, the power supply in your computer.
QoS – Quality of Service, when mixing voice and data you might want to specify that voice signals receive a higher QoS so that phone calls sound better
RAID – Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, a way of connecting hard disks so that data is not lost if (when) one or more breaks down
RAM – Random Access Memory, the memory in your computer that it uses for running programs. Forgets everything when the power is removed
RDP – Remote Desktop Protocol, a way of connecting to computers via the internet to administer them
RTFM – Read the Flipping Manual
SAAS – Software As A Service, a way of selling access to computing facilities as an ongoing service rather than buying a one off licence. Check how you get your data back when the contract ends!
SAN – Storage Area Network, like a NAS but bigger and faster
SAS – Serial Attached SCSI, high quality disks suitable for servers
SATA – Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, lower quality disks suitable for desktops and laptops
SCSI – Small Computer System Interface, connection type of faster hard disks
TB – Terabyte, a measure of memory or disk space. Equivalent to about a million million letters
TCP/IP – Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol, the code computers use to talk to each other over networks
TSCM – Technical Surveillance Counter Measures, methods of detecting listening devices
UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supply, big battery backup for important devices that need to keep going when the power fails
VM – Virtual Machine, a way of running several instances of a computer on powerful hardware
VPN – Virtual Private Network, a method of securely connecting computers across the internet
WAN – Wide Area Network, a network connecting computers over long distances
XLS – The file extension for Microsoft Excel files
XML – eXtensible Markup Language, a file type that includes both information and descriptors telling programs what the data means