IT Career Glossary

Glossary of key IT terms and acronyms used on this site.
Term Main definition
Accredited Schools
An accredited school is a campus-based or online learning institution deemed accredited by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Accreditation ensures that schools meet rigorous and up-to-date standards of education and professionalism. To become accredited, schools must undergo evaluation and approval of curricula by a DOE-approved accreditation board. Advantages of attending an accredited school include 1) credits earned at accredited schools are often transferable to other accredited schools and advanced degree programs, and 2) accredited schools are eligible for more financial aid options, particularly from the state and federal governments.
An ACL, or Access Control List, is a collection of Access Control Entries. An ACL lets you specify what type of traffic to allow on an interface. By default, traffic that is not explicitly permitted is denied. ACLs are usually applied to the interface that is the source of inbound traffic.
Active Directory
Active Directory is a Microsoft technology that enables applications to find, use, and manage directory resources, such as user names, network printers, and permissions, in a distributed computing environment. Microsoft Active Directory helps increase system security, reduce the cost of running systems, and generally simplifies IT administration.
Active Directory Certificate Services
Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) provides customizable services for issuing and managing public key certificates used in software security systems employing public key technologies.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is the largest association of health information technicians and the premier certifying body in Healthcare IT. AHIMA issues in-demand certifications in health information management, coding, billing and healthcare security.
Application Programming Interfaces
An application programming interface, or API, is an interface used by a software program to enable interaction with other software. For example, mobile developers can embed Google Maps into a GPS-based mobile application by implementing the Google Maps API.
The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) is a non-profit organization committed to furthering education in engineering, and the premier accrediting body for engineering training and degree programs.
Big Data
Big Data refers to data sets that are so large and complex they surpass the storage and analysis threshold of typical database software. The business advantage of big data analysis lies in an organization's ability to identify complex trends and actionable intelligence for smarter decision-making.
Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence (BI) is a broad category of applications and technologies used for accessing, gathering and analyzing business data to help organizations make smarter decisions. Common functions of business intelligence technologies include data-mining, reporting, online analytical processing, analytics, performance management, benchmarking and predictive analysis.
An acronym for "Computer-Aided Drafting and Design," CADD is the discipline of using computer programs, such as AutoCAD or Revit Architecture, to draft and design the blueprints for complex structures and animations.
The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) is the leading accrediting body of health IT degree programs.
CCA: Certified Coding Associate
AHIMA's Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential demonstrates coding competencies across all settings, including hospitals and physician practices. Based upon job analysis standards and state-of-the-art test construction, the CCA is creating a larger pool of qualified coders to meet health IT employer needs.
CCS: Certified Coding Specialist
AHIMA's Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) credential demonstrates mastery in classifying medical data from patient records. These coding practitioners review electronic health records and assign numerical codes for each diagnosis and procedure. CCS certified professionals know the ICD-9-CM and CPT coding systems, and are knowledgeable in medical terminology, disease processes and pharmacology.
CHDA: Certified Health Data Analyst
AHIMA's Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA) credential demonstrates expertise in health data analysis and the knowledge to acquire, manage, analyze, interpret, and transform data into accurate, consistent, and timely information, all while balancing the "big picture" strategic vision with day-to-day details.
CHPS: Certification In Healthcare Privacy and Security
AHIMA's Certification In Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS) credential is the only combined privacy and security certificate in the healthcare industry. The CHPS proves competence in designing, implementing, and administering comprehensive privacy and security protection programs in all types of healthcare organizations.
CIA Triad
The CIA Triad refers to Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability, the core principles of information security.
Cisco Networking Academy
Cisco Networking Academy is a global education program, sponsored by Cisco Systems, that teaches students how to design, build, troubleshoot, and secure computer networks for increased access to career and economic opportunities in communities around the world. Networking Academy provides online courses, interactive tools, and hands-on learning activities to help individuals prepare for ICT (information & communications technology) and networking careers in virtually every type of industry.
Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a real-time web service, whereby shared resources like data, software, and storage services are provided to computers and other devices over the Internet. Cloud computing extends IT's existing capabilities by allowing users to access information, without necessarily having the storage space or even the knowledge to configure this information themselves.
Short for "Committee on National Security Systems," the CNSS defines quality standards on IT security and information assurance training.
Collision Detection
Collision detection is the process of finding where objects collide in a video game or simulation. If a bad collision is found, the programmer may have to alter the code so gameplay occurs as designed.
CSS, short for Cascading Style Sheets, is a style sheet language used to control the look and format of web pages.
A Database Management System (DBMS) is a set of computer programs that controls the creation, maintenance, and day-to-day use of a database. The DBMS allows database administrators and other data specialists to manipulate and manage an organization's data. Examples of popular DBMS: Oracle, SQL Server, IBM & MySQL
Degree Completion Program
In a degree completion program, applicants must possess a previous degree or equivalent college credits to be admitted. For example, students can apply an existing associate degree or credits from an unfinished bachelor's to earn a 4-year degree with just two more years of study.
Author - Daniel Greenspan
Synonyms - degree completer program
Domain Name System
Domain Name System (DNS) is the naming convention for TCP/IP networks, such as the Internet. Client computers query a DNS server to assign memorable, alphanumeric DNS names to the IP addresses that computers use to communicate with each other.
External Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). Operates between external systems.
Enhanced Interior Gateway Protocol. A Cisco routing protocol that uses the Diffusing Update Algorithm to provide fast convergence and minimized bandwidth utilization.
A firewall is a part of a computer network that blocks unauthorized access from external networks. It is comprised of hardware, software, or both, and is configured by a network administrator or IT security specialist to permit or deny network transmissions based on a specific set of rules.
An acronym for "Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System," HCPCS is a set of health care procedural codes based on the American Medical Association's Current Procedural Terminology (CPT). Healthcare industry insiders often pronounce HCPCS as "Hick-Picks."
High Availability
The ability of a system or component to limit or avoid network disruption when a component fails.
HTML, short for Hypertext Markup Language, is the predominant language used in the construction of web pages.
In the IT industry, ICT is an acronym for 'Information & Communications Technology'.
Instructor-Led Training is any course wherein the trainer and students interact in real-time. ILT can be in person or live-online.
Information Assurance
Information Assurance (IA) is the practice of managing risks related to the use, processing, storage and transmission of digital data, and the processes and systems used for those purposes. The Information Assurance field is a sub-category or specialization of Information Security.
Information Security
Information Security, a.k.a. IT Security, is the protection of computer systems and data from unauthorized access, disruption, modification or destruction. The frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks continues to rise, placing IT security skills in top demand.
An Intranet is a network based on TCP/IP protocols (an internet) that is centralized within an organization, and accessible only by the organization's employees or others with authorization. Pages in an intranet look and act just like public web sites, but the firewall surrounding an intranet fends off unauthorized access.
Abbreviation for Internet Protocol version 4. IPv4 is the fourth stable IP revision, and is widely used in Ethernet and other data communication topologies.
Internet Protocol version 6.
IT Business Analyst
IT business analysts figure out how a company can use its technology to improve production or workflow. Demand for these skills has skyrocketed, particularly now that every company is looking for ways to cut costs while maintaining productivity.
IT Service Management
IT Service Management (ITSM) is a popular framework for managing IT services, which is philosophically centered on the customer's perspective of IT's contribution to the business. ITSM stands in deliberate contrast to technology-centered approaches to IT management and business interaction. The following sentence represents a characteristic statement from the ITSM philosophy: "Providers of IT services can no longer afford to focus on technology and their internal organization; they now must consider the quality of the services they provide and focus on the relationship with customers."
JavaScript is a scripting programming language commonly used to add interactive features to web pages, e.g., animated images or pop-up windows.
A LAN (or local area network) is a network connecting computers in a small area, typically an office or building.
Linux is an open-source (free to use) version of the UNIX operating system, and one of the most prominent examples of open-source software. Many businesses and government agencies run the Linux OS; one reason organizations choose Linux is because it is typically far less expensive than buying licenses for Windows or Mac OS.
Mobile Development Environment
A mobile development environment is a software application containing the tools that a mobile developer uses to write, test, and deploy applications onto a mobile device. Mobile development environments typically include code editors, debuggers, and simulators that mimic the hardware and software of mobile devices, allowing mobile applications to be created on a full-size computer.
NAT, or Network Address Translation, is a mechanism for reducing the need for globally unique IP addresses. NAT allows an organization with addresses that are not globally unique to connect to the Internet by translating those addresses into a globally routable address space.
Open Shortest Path First. An IETF link-state protocol. OSPFv2 supports IPv4 and OSPFv3 supports IPv6.
PHP - short for Hypertext Preprocessor - is a popular server side scripting language that can be embedded into HTML to create a wide variety of mini-applications, or used on its own to build large-scale sites and complex business applications.
The PMBOK - short for "Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge" - is a project management guide, and the globally recognized gold-standard for the practice of project management. The PMBOK Guide applies to all projectized industries, including technology, construction, software, engineering and more. The current version - and the edition used by PMI to guide its certification program - is the PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition.
A practicum is a college course, usually in a specialized field of study, where students practice their skills in the field and under the supervision of an active practitioner.
RHIA: Registered Health Information Administrator
AHIMA's Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential is designed for managers and supervisors of health information technicians. As the vital link between care providers, payers, and patients, the RHIA is an expert in managing health records, administering computer systems, collecting and analyzing patient data, and using classification systems and medical terminologies. *RHIA certification candidates must hold a CAHIIM-accredited degree.
The Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification from AHIMA proves that a health information technician can ensure the quality of electronic health records by verifying their completeness, accuracy and proper entry into EMR computer systems. RHIT is the most demanded certificate for entry-level health information professionals.
RHIT: Registered Health Information Technician
AHIMA's Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential demonstrates the ability to effectively manage medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into EMR computer systems. Combined with job experience or a bachelors degree, the RHIT holds solid potential for advancement to supervisory positions. *RHIT certification candidates must hold a CAHIIM-accredited degree.
Rich media
Rich media refers to web pages and web components that contain multimedia and/or interactive elements with audio, video or special effects, e.g., a banner ad that expands to fill the screen and plays a video clip when a user mouses over it.
SaaS - an acronym for Software as a Service - is a software delivery method wherein a company's data is stored online and accessed via any web-connected device. SaaS vendors host and maintain the servers, databases and code that controls the data, in exchange for a monthly or annual subscription fee. Organizations use SaaS because outsourcing data storage in this fashion is typically much cheaper and hassle-free than doing it on-site.
server-side programming language
Server-side programming languages are scripts that are executed on the server, and then translated into HTML which can be viewed by all web browsers. The most popular server-side scripting language is PHP.
soft skills
Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance your interactions, job performance and employment prospects, as opposed to "hard skills" which measure your ability to perform specific tasks. The best soft skills to learn depends on your specific goals and career path. Soft skills typically in high demand in IT include verbal and written communication, team/project leadership, contract negotiation and creative problem solving.
SOHO is short for Small Office/Home Office. A SOHO network contains 10 or less employees.
SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) is a component of the Microsoft SQL Server database software that delivers online analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining functionality for business intelligence applications. Analysis Services supports OLAP by letting you design, create, and manage multidimensional structures that contain data aggregated from other data sources, such as relational databases. For data mining applications, Analysis Services lets you design, create, and visualize data mining models that are constructed from other data sources by using a wide variety of industry-standard data mining algorithms.
SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a component of the Microsoft SQL Server database software which can be used to perform a broad range of data migration tasks. SSIS is a platform for data integration and workflow applications. It features a fast and flexible data warehousing tool used for data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL). The tool may also be used to automate maintenance of SQL Server databases and updates to multidimensional cube data.
SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a component of the Microsoft SQL Server database software that provides a full range of ready-to-use tools and services to help you create, deploy, and manage business intelligence reports for your organization, as well as programming features that enable you to extend and customize your reporting functionality.
Vendor neutral certification
A vendor neutral certification is an IT credential that validates your knowledge and skills in concepts spanning numerous vendor-technologies. For example, CompTIA A+ proves you can troubleshoot and repair operating systems from multiple vendors including Microsoft, Apple, Novell and Linux.
Visual Basic
Visual Basic is programming language developed by Microsoft, in which developers can design programs and applications that use a graphical user interface (or GUI).
A VLAN is a group of devices on one or more LANs that are configured so that they can communicate as if they were attached to the same wire, when in fact they are located on a number of different LAN segments.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the routing of voice calls over the Internet, or through any other IP-based network. Basically, this technology converts normal voice into a digital signal — much like a CD recording — and then wraps that digital signal with a set of IP header information, allowing it to travel across the Internet. The digital signal is reconverted back to a normal voice signal at its destination.
Short for "virtual private network," a VPN is a network that provides traveling workers or remote office locations access to an organization's central network via the internet. VPNs typically require remote user authentication, and data is often secured with encryption technologies to prevent disclosure of private information to unauthorized users.
A WAN (or wide area network) is a network of computers within a very large area, such as an entire state or country.
Web 2.0
Web 2.0 is a loosely defined intersection of website characteristics, including increased user participation, user-centered design, peer-to-peer collaboration, dynamic user-driven content and a rich online experience. As the Web 2.0 movement continues to grow, organizations are rapidly hiring talented programmers to increase their presence on the top Web 2.0 sites - and incorporate Web 2.0 elements into existing sites - to gain a competitive advantage in this fast growing and highly active population. Common Web 2.0 site structures and examples include social networks (Facebook), blogs (Mashable), wikis (Wikipedia), video sharing sites (YouTube) and social bookmarking hubs (Digg).
web browsers
A web browser is a program used to view, download, upload, surf or otherwise access documents (or pages) on the World Wide Web. Examples of popular web browsers include Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari and Google Chrome.
Short for "Web-based Seminar," a webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar transmitted over the Internet. Modern webinar software has very modest connection requirements so almost anybody with a computer and an internet connection can join and participate.
WLAN is short for Wireless Local Area Network. Also known as WiFi, this is the linking of computers without wires. It is most commonly used for internet access, either in public hotspots or in private home and office networks. Connectivity is limited to between 10 and 200 meters depending on physical infrastructure.
Author - Daniel Greenspan
Work breakdown structure
A work breakdown structure (WBS), in project management and systems engineering, is an oriented dissection of a project into smaller deliverable components. It defines and groups a project's individual work elements in a way that helps organize and define the total work scope of the project.
Short for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language, XHTML is a hybrid of HTML and XML specifically designed for Net device displays.

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