Tech Jargon - A Primer for Non-Techies

Tech Jargon - A Primer for Non-Techies

Technology is changing on us all the time, and the lingo of IT professionals with all its acronyms and buzzwords can certainly feel like some sort of gibberish secret code for anyone outside the field. Terms like API, blockchain, and EDR/MDR/XDR can easily leave non-techies joining the convo a little lost in translation.

So we've got some digestible nuggets for our readers today to help build up that conversational confidence and help eliminate some of those head-scratching moments.

What is your IT pro talking about?

These words are more along the lines of what you'll hear in the office, rather than buzzwords on the news or in articles on Reddit. Some of them might be a little BASIC, but we've all got to start somewhere!

Hardware vs. Software

Hardware refers to the physical components of a computer system like the processor, memory modules, or the hard drive. Software are applications that run on the hardware, like Windows, Office, Chrome, the huge collection of other apps that drive businesses all over.

Operating System

An operating system (OS) is software (see above!) that manages computer hardware and provides a platform for running applications. Common examples include Windows, macOS, and the many flavors of Linux.

IP Address

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a numerical label unique to each device connected to a network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. If you've ever had to deal with fixing your internet at home, you've probably seen one that starts with 192.168... or 169.254...

Router vs. Switch

A router is a networking device responsible for forwarding data packets between different computer networks. On the other hand, a switch is a networking device designed to connect various devices within single network and efficiently direct data to its intended recipient.

Bandwidth and Latency

Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted over a network connection in a given amount of time. Latency measures time it takes for data to travel from the source to the destination - this can really come into play when dealing with VoIP traffic and web conferencing.

Cybersecurity Language

If you've been keeping up on your user security training you should know these!


Malware is malicious software designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems. This includes a collection of different items such as the classic virus, worms, rootkits, ransomware, keyloggers, and more!


Phishing is a method of cyberattack that involves tricking individuals into providing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal data by posing as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. There are many variants including spear phishinh and smishing.


EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response), MDR (Managed Detection and Response), and XDR (Extended Detection and Response) are cybersecurity solutions designed to enhance threat detection and response capabilities. 

EDR focuses on detecting and responding to threats on individual endpoints, MDR provides services for detecting and responding to cyber threats, and XDR offers a broader approach, providing comprehensive detection and response capabilities across multiple layers and platforms.

Hot New Buzzwords

AI and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science focused on creating systems capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. 

Machine Learning (ML) is a subset of AI involving training algorithms to learn patterns and make predictions from data without being explicitly programmed. ML algorithms improve over time as they are exposed to more data, enabling tasks such as image recognition, natural language processing, recommendation systems, and predictive analytics.


A Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) is a type of artificial intelligence model based on transformer architecture. GPT models are trained on vast amounts of text data. They can generate coherent and contextually relevant text based on a given prompt, making them valuable for tasks such as text completion, language translation, and content generation.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that overlays digital information, such as images, videos, or 3D models, onto the real-world environment. AR systems blend virtual elements with the physical world, typically viewed through devices like smartphones, tablets, smart glasses, or headsets like the Apple Vision Pro.

Master Terminology and Build Confidence

Navigating the world of technology doesn't have to be daunting. By familiarizing yourself with the latest tech terms and understanding their meanings, you can be confident discussing technology topics with any audience!

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