15 Information Technology Vocabulary Words Every English Student Should Know

They say we live in “The Information Age.”

All this information moves around thanks to information technology (IT).

IT also happens to be a powerful force in the business world, and it affects all of our lives.

So, what’s new in the world of IT?

Plenty, for sure. There’s always something happening in IT!

Have you heard how IT helped athletes win Olympic gold in Rio 2016?

Do you know the four basic things you should do to protect your computer from hackers?

Yes, there’s lots going on in the world of IT that we should know about, simply because IT is all around us and we’re using it every day.

But before we can understand it, we must master the language of IT.

IT is a specialized field that has a language of its own. It’s still English, but many IT vocabulary words have meanings different from what we’re familiar with.

How Information Technology Vocabulary Can Help You in Business and Daily Life

Take a look around you.

IT is all about using computers and other technology to manage information. It’s everywhere, including in our hands, offices and homes. There’s no escape from IT nowadays. Because we use it so often in business and daily life, it’s not only useful, but necessary, to know the language of IT.

After all, IT is advancing (moving forward and growing) so fast that we have no choice but to keep up with new developments. So here again, knowing the vocabulary of information technology helps us stay informed.

Do you know of any business that doesn’t use computers? No? Well, this just shows you how much businesses depend on IT these days. Large businesses have entire departments of employees focused on managing IT. There are even entire IT companies!

So, it makes sense that you’ll need IT language not only in your current job but also in your future career.

Okay, let’s get on with the list of IT words I have for you today.

You may have already heard your company’s technical support team or your computer repairman using these words. Don’t worry, pretty soon, you too will be confident using them for daily and business communication.

Let’s get started.

The Language of Information Technology: 15 Words to Power Up Your IT Vocabulary

The English words on this list have many meanings. In this post, I’ll only be explaining them in the IT context.

1. Monitor

The noun monitor refers to the video screen used to display information on your computer.

Sample sentence: I work on the computer most of the day. I find that using a bigger monitor reduces (lessens) the strain on my eyes.

To monitor can also be used as a verb to describe the action of keeping watch over a technical fault or process running on a computer.

Sample sentence: The technical support team will monitor my computer over a period of time to see what’s causing this problem.

2. Connect

The verb to connect is used to describe the action of establishing (making) communication with the Internet or with another device (computer equipment) such as a monitor, modem, etc.

Sample sentence: Can you please show me how to connect my laptop to the central printer?

The noun connection refers to the communication between two or more computer devices, or a link to the Internet.

Sample sentence: According to Techspot, Speedtest has released a report of the speed of Internet connections across the US.

3. Install

The verb to install means to set up or make a computer or application (software program) ready for use.

Sample sentence: On my first day of work, my supervisor sent the technical support team to install a new computer for me.

So then, the noun installation refers to the act of installing a computer or application.

Sample sentence: Infoworld has the complete guide to Windows 10 installation that will answer any questions you might have.

4. Network

Did you know that your computer at work is probably linked to the office network?

The noun network refers to a system of connected computers and other devices such as printers that exchange data with each other. A private office network is known as intranet.

Sample sentence: Before we open for business, I need to get my office computer network set up and tested.

Networked, the adjective form of this word, is used to describe this kind of environment (situation).

Sample sentence: In a networked system, a problem on one computer could affect all the other computers on the network.

5. Boot

The verb to boot has a special meaning in IT. It’s often used in the phrasal verb to boot up, which means to turn on a computer and have it ready for use. You could also say “start up” or “power up.”

Sample sentence: There seems to be a problem with my laptop. It wouldn’t boot up this morning.

Boot up is a separable phrasal verb that you can use with a pronoun. You can use “start up” and “power up” in the same way, they’re both separable. This means that you can take the preposition “up” and use it later in the sentence. It does not have to follow directly after “boot.”

Sample sentence: There seems to be a problem with my laptop. I couldn’t boot it up this morning.

Adding the prefix “re” gives the word reboot. The suffix “re” is often used to mean doing something again. The verb to reboot means to start your computer again.

Sample sentence: If you’re still getting errors on your computer, you might want to reboot it.

Reboot can also be used as a noun.

Sample sentence: If you’re still getting errors on your computer, a reboot might help.

6. Access

The verb to access, when used in IT, means entering and using a computer, website or application.

Sample sentence: This is a shared computer only for the use of our department. You can get the password from me if you need to access it.

The noun access refers to the act of accessing the computer. It’s commonly used with the verb “grant” to mean give permission to use.

Sample sentence: I’m afraid we can’t grant anyone access to our department’s computers.

7. Log in

Some websites and applications need you to log in before you can enter and use them. To log in refers to the process where you enter certain information before you’re allowed to access a website or application.

Sample sentence: I’ve forgotten my password so I can’t log in to Gmail anymore.

The opposite of log in is log out which is what you should do to exit a site or application.

Sample sentence: Don’t forget to log out before you leave especially if you’re using a shared computer.

Sometimes the terms sign in and sign out are also used.

8. Download

To download is a verb you’ll often hear in IT to talk about transferring data or information from a main computer source to another device.

Sample sentence: I need to download the photos of my business trip to my computer for today’s presentation.

The noun download refers to the information or application that has been downloaded.

Sample sentence: I found a download on Computer Weekly for the most popular technology articles in 2016 for IT leaders.

9. Upgrade

It’s not unusual to hear this word in a fast-changing field like IT. The verb to upgrade means to bring your computer (or other device) up to date with the latest hardware or software.

Sample sentence: Our management is confident that our business will improve if we upgrade to the latest computer equipment.

The noun upgrade simply means an update to a higher (newer) version. You might’ve heard the common phrase “get an upgrade.”

Sample sentence: According to Infoworld, IT managers have been waiting for the upgrade to Windows 10.

10. Analyze

The verb to analyze is used quite often in IT when there’s a need to study data, information or even a technical problem closely. For instance, you might analyze product trends or a problem with your communications network.

Sample sentence: This is not a problem with a simple solution. We need time to analyze why your laptop won’t boot up.

The noun form analysis refers to the act of, and the result of analyzing the data or problem.

Sample sentence: According to the technical support team’s analysis, you’re better off buying a new laptop than trying to repair this one.

11. Browse

The verb to browse is used in IT to look over information casually without being too detailed.

Sample sentence: Before you come to the meeting, please browse online to get some ideas of the current trends in office furniture.

The noun browser, as you may already know, refers to the program on your computer that allows you to open and use websites on the Internet.

Sample sentence: If your browser doesn’t work, try closing and reopening it.

12. File

The noun file in IT refers to a collection of data or information organized under a specific name and stored in a computer’s folder.

Sample sentence: Please save each year’s sales data in a different file for easy reference.

File is also commonly used to talk about things related to a file such as filename, file size, etc.

Sample sentence: What’s the filename you used to save last year’s sales data?

13. Blog

Do you have a blog? The noun blog refers to a website where you write about your personal experiences, opinions and interests.

Sample sentence: Our company’s blog offers a lot of useful information and tips on how to use our products in different ways.

The verb to blog simply means to write a blog.

Sample sentence: Since everyone in our department is too busy to blog for the company, management has hired a few part-timers to do the job.

14. Back up

The phrasal verb back up is often used in IT to mean making a copy of data and files to protect them against accidental loss.

Sample sentence: It’s always a good idea to back up your computer regularly.

Back up is a separable phrasal verb that can be used with a pronoun.

Sample sentence: My laptop has been switching itself on and off. I think I’d better back it up after work tonight.

Backup, when spelled as one word, is a noun referring to the copy of files and data that you’ve made to keep.

Sample sentence: The system administrator does a full backup of the system every weekend.

15. Perform

In IT, we’re often concerned about how the computer system performs. The verb to perform refers to how fast a computer can process information.

Sample sentence: Are you sure that my computer will perform better if I upgrade my RAM (computer memory)?

The noun performance is used to talk about the speed and capacity (workload) of the computer..

Sample sentence: Upgrade your RAM (computer memory) and you won’t find any reason to complain about your computer’s performance


So there you have it. With this information technology vocabulary in hand, you’re ready to speak confidently and keep up with the latest developments in IT.

Remember, practice makes perfect.

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