Deciphering Technobabble: How to Speak IT

If words like stack, client, and server remind you of working in a pancake house, or if you think the term back end has something to do with football, then you should probably learn to decipher IT.


What follows are a few tips to help you decipher technobabble.



The Letter "I" for Interface

The letter "I" can stand for internet, as in IP (Internet Protocol) or information, as in IT (information technology), but most contemporary uses of the letter "I" refer to interface.


For instance, an API is an application platform interface. An interface is a set of instructions for one program to communicate with another. APIs allow incredibly diverse programs to access meaningful data through a standardized set of instructions. This way, two programs written by two different people or companies can share information in order to do accomplish some task.



Strings of Unpronounceable Letters

MySQL, PHP, and LAMP are some examples of acronyms you might overhear when listening in on developers discussing their work. The important thing for you to know is that they are discussing the different elements that make up a technology stack.


A technology stack is made up of different components that contribute to various network functions like data storage and delivery, security, and other layers. Each component must function correctly in order for the network to function correctly. If there's a problem with a layer in the technology stack, then all the layers have to be reexamined.



Clients, Servers and Back Ends

These terms function in a tight relationship. A server is connected to a network, or group of connected devices. They store data and perform calculations that can be accessed by other computers attached to the same network. Servers can be found in-house or they can be hosted by private companies. When the server is located only on the internet, it is considered a virtual server. The common term for this is cloud hosting and can be available through hosted exchange services.


A client is any device that relies on the server's network. This can be your desktop, your laptop, your tablet, or even a mobile device.


Most users never deal with a network's back end but definitely know when it isn't working correctly. The back end is on the server, the part of the network that is full of code and technology stacks. Back end issues prevent a client from accessing the server, but do not affect the client itself.



The Front End

When you call IT for help, it is usually because you are unable to access a database or program. In this scenario, you are typically experiencing a front end issue. Front end issues are issues with clients attempting to access the server. This means that if the computer at your desk goes down, you are experiencing a front end issue. Usually this issue is resolved by following the IT person's instructions.


Though many terms sound like confusing babble, remember that each term refers to a significant network process. IT isn't trying to confuse you. They are simply trying to make your workflow and your network as smooth as possible.

 
 


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