Why Tech Jargon Is Bad for Your Career

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2008-04-23 Print this article Print

"Platform," "Megs and rams," "FTP," "Scalable solution" ...

Jargon shows up in all professions, but in few is it more apparent, or more divisive, than in the world of technology.

Picture this. You're in the middle of a presentation to a business team about some technology it would behoove the company to invest in and this comes out of your mouth:

"Just last week, we loaded 15 BGUs in the OTB and got an output of 1,300 cycles, which shows our testing program is right on target."

You might have missed it, but half the room was day dreaming and the other half were checking e-mail on their BlackBerrys. What they were not doing: considering whether they should budget for this technology, because you had lost their attention.

Can an over-reliance on tech jargon be bad for your career? Some experts say yes.

"Boring business jargon not only fails to make people sound smart but also makes them less likable. Conversely, those who try to speak and write clearly stand out," explains Monster.com.

The problem is that while jargon can be a useful shorthand when speaking to other techies, it makes it difficult for non-techies to understand the message--a no-no in an environment where IT departments are increasingly being pressured to explain their value in business terms, and not vice versa.

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