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It is next to impossible to make money in IT without a solid grasp of the English language. Without English, you can’t sell your services, land a lucrative project, or get hired by an international company. Being oblivious about the need to improve your English skills keeps you stuck in a local market, and your earnings may never go beyond the national average.

And it’s not just that—without some knowledge of English, even the process of learning how to code becomes tricky. The syntax and commands in most programming languages (not to mention instructions and courses) use the logic of the English language and include its expressions.

If you’re serious about your IT career, regardless of your current position in the field, you must start upgrading your English skills now. Now, you’re probably unsure where to start, so we made it easier for you. In the rest of this article, you’ll get an overview of valuable resources and a bonus: a list of the most frequently used English expressions for IT professionals! And guess what? It’s completely free. You don’t even need to leave your email to download it. Now, let’s go.

English for programmers, software developers, and engineers: tips and resources

If you’ve read my recent article about learning to speak English like a native speaker—and felt uncomfortable about it—now it is time to relax. Unlike someone who is trying to emulate a native speaker, you don’t need to master the grammar or have a flawless accent. You’re a tech pro, not a linguist or something.

The most important things you need to focus on right now are clarity and accuracy, as well as expanding your vocabulary to include industry lingo. While you do need some basic knowledge of grammar rules, messing up with a verb tense is hardly going to get you into trouble. However, you need to be able to understand what your client or manager wants to interpret the task at hand and come up with the desired output.

Also, you should know the language enough to convince a recruiter to call you for an interview and then explain to the interviewer what you know and what you can do for them. Again, you can stick to rudimentary grammar forms and have any accent (as long as you sound intelligible)—the only thing that matters is your ability to communicate and pass the message. And that message is likely to be filled with the words and phrases that you’ll find down this page.

But let’s not rush and risk missing some valuable info. Before we get to the list, I’ll review the resources you’ll need if you’re serious about this.

Top English language resources for programmers, developers, and other IT professionals

Even though I still love textbooks, this time, I won’t recommend any. If you’re into IT, there’s little chance of finding anything useful in a grammar book. Instead, you should consume relevant content—books and articles related to your industry, for example—and get a tutor to help you process everything.

Free resources

Best free resources include podcasts and YouTube channels, but which ones? Unless you’re an absolute beginner, you won’t profit much from listening to podcasts about learning English. It sounds counterintuitive, I know, but if you already know some English (and you definitely do—you are reading this, after all), look for top content in your field, like This Week in Tech, In Her Ellement, Hard Fork, TED Radio Hour, Darknet Diaries, Land of the Giants, or similar. That’s the only way to be properly exposed to the industry jargon and to get the key terms right. Such content may seem difficult to digest at first, but you’ll definitely get better.

Over time, your ability to follow the discussion will improve, but that still doesn’t mean that you’ll be equipped to participate in one. So, it is time to move to the next level and get some help.

English courses for IT professionals

English courses, whether online or onsite, are always an okay option, and they definitely can help you make some progress. However, instead of general English courses, you should look for ones specialized for people in tech and business. You can find several such courses on Udemy and Coursera.

The downside of any course, however, is that it isn’t tailor-made, and it may not produce the best results in the shortest amount of time. Unfortunately, your individual progress will be limited by the design of the chosen course. Yet, luckily, there are other options, too.

1-on-1 lessons with English tutors

Live tuition on LiveXP is undoubtedly the best solution for any IT pro for several reasons. When you have someone to work for you one-on-one, you get all the attention. Your current level of English gets recognized, along with your learning style, and the whole experience is all about your growth. You get to choose a teacher and enjoy a pleasant time in conversation while your ability to communicate in English increases.

Find out your English level with this quick test

As I have already emphasized countless times, the key is to focus on your particular industry, so when choosing an English teacher, you should look for those knowledgeable in IT. But how many English teachers are there who are also into tech? Believe it or not, there are many! Just go to the LiveXP main page and apply the appropriate filters.

Once you choose English as the target language and define your goal (and, optionally, find people who also speak your native language—although I wouldn’t really recommend that unless you’re a total beginner, which you are not), go to the “interests” field and pick relevant ones, such as IT and Programming, Technologies, Robotics, Sciences, Business, etc. You’ll be surprised by the number of people who can help you practice speaking about these exact topics!

English lessons for organizations

In addition to individual lessons, LiveXP provides a B2B program, which allows international tech businesses to thrive in international, English-speaking surroundings.

If you’re an owner or manager in an IT company with a diverse workforce, and you want to up the game, improve the communication between team members from different countries, and help them grow, LiveXP has a perfect solution. Just imagine this: one subscription, and bam! You’re in, with access to a bunch of skilled tutors and nifty learning tools—think whiteboards, notes, and even a trusty dictionary.

We’ve got an impressive crew of about 2,000 tutors, and yes, you guessed it, loads of them are native speakers. If that seems too much to handle, it is good to know that you won’t be going solo on this adventure—your very own personal manager will be right there, holding your virtual hand and guiding you through every twist and turn.

When it comes to billing and payments, you’ll get one neat invoice for your entire crew. No more platform chaos either—LiveXP is your all-in-one solution. No need to shuffle between different tools—we’ve got you covered. And here’s the cherry on top—tracking your team’s language progress. Our HR dashboard lets you keep an eye on their success story, making sure they’re hitting those language milestones.

Business English and technical vocabulary for IT professionals: top words and phrases to learn

As promised at the beginning of this article, here’s a list of the most frequently used words and phrases related to the IT industry that would be essential for any tech professional to learn:

  1. Application: A piece of software designed to perform a specific task or provide a particular function, often used on computers or mobile devices.
  2. API (Application Programming Interface): A collection of guidelines and protocols enabling various software programs to connect and engage with one another.
  3. Artificial Intelligence (AI): Technology that enables machines to mimic human intelligence, such as learning from data, recognizing patterns, and making decisions.
  4. Blockchain: A shared online record system that safely saves data on many computers, making everything open and secure.
  5. Bug: A mistake in a computer program that makes it act wrong or not work properly.
  6. Code: Instructions, written in a programming language, that tell a computer what actions to perform.
  7. Compiler: A software tool that translates human-readable code into machine-readable code, enabling programs to be executed by computers.
  8. Data Center: A facility housing computer servers and networking equipment for storing, processing, and managing data.
  9. Database: A place where information is stored and organized so it’s easy to find and manage.
  10. DevOps (Development and Operations): An approach that integrates software development and IT operations to enhance collaboration, automation, and continuous delivery.
  11. DNS: A tool that turns website names (like livexp.com) into numbers that computers use to find them online.
  12. Encryption: Changing data into a secret code so others can’t easily read it without permission.
  13. Firmware: Software embedded in hardware devices to control their operations and functions.
  14. Front-end: The part of the software that users see and use.
  15. Full Stack: Refers to a developer skilled in both front-end and back-end development, capable of working on all layers of a software application.
  16. Hacker: A person who uses technical skills to exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems or networks, either for malicious purposes or ethical hacking to improve security.
  17. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): The code used to make websites and decide how they look.
  18. IoT (Internet of Things): The network of interconnected devices and objects that can collect and exchange data over the Internet.
  19. Network: A collection of interconnected devices and communication paths that enable data sharing and resource access.
  20. Patch: A software update designed to fix bugs or vulnerabilities or improve functionality in an existing program.
  21. PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor): A popular server-side scripting language used for web development to create dynamic and interactive web pages.
  22. RAM (Random Access Memory): Short-term computer memory that holds data the computer is using right now.
  23. Router: A networking device that directs data traffic between different computer networks.
  24. Server: A computer or program that gives stuff or help to other computers, usually over the Internet.
  25. SQL (Structured Query Language): A language used for managing and querying relational databases.
  26. Trojan: Malicious software disguised as legitimate software, often used to gain unauthorized access or control over a computer.
  27. UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience): UI is how the software looks, and UX is how it feels to use.
  28. XML (eXtensible Markup Language): A markup language used for storing and transmitting structured data.
  29. Agile: A way to make software where teams work together in small steps and can easily make changes as needed.
  30. Backup and Recovery: Processes and strategies for creating copies of data and systems to restore them in case of data loss or system failures.
  31. Containerization: A lightweight virtualization technology that isolates and packages applications and their dependencies for easy deployment and management.
  32. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets):  A code used to make websites look nice and organized.
  33. Docker: A tool that helps developers make and manage apps in special boxes called containers.
  34. LAN (Local Area Network): A system that links gadgets in a small place like a home, office, or school area.
  35. OAuth: An authorization framework used for secure third-party access to user data without exposing user credentials.
  36. Shell Scripting: Writing scripts using a command-line interface to automate tasks and interact with operating systems.
  37. SQL Injection: A type of cyberattack where malicious SQL statements are inserted into an application’s input fields to manipulate a database.
  38. Zero-Day Exploit: A cyberattack that takes advantage of a vulnerability in software before the vendor releases a patch or fix for it.

Bonus: general words and phrases commonly used in an IT business environment:

  1. Communication Skills: The ability to convey information clearly and effectively through various means, such as written, verbal, and nonverbal communication.
  2. Problem-Solving: The process of analyzing and resolving challenges or issues systematically and logically.
  3. Decision Making: The process of choosing a course of action from various alternatives based on careful consideration of available information.
  4. Time Management: Effectively planning and allocating time to tasks and activities to maximize productivity and meet deadlines.
  5. Project Management: Planning, executing, and controlling projects to achieve specific goals and deliverables within constraints like time, budget, and resources.
  6. Leadership: Guiding, motivating, and influencing a team to achieve objectives and produce results.
  7. Teamwork: Collaborating and cooperating with others within a group to achieve a shared goal.
  8. Presentation Skills: Effectively conveying information to an audience through engaging and organized presentations.
  9. Customer Service: Providing assistance, support, and solutions to meet customer needs and ensure satisfaction.
  10. Risk Management: Identifying, assessing, and mitigating potential risks that could impact a project, process, or organization.
  11. Change Management: Guiding individuals and teams through transitions, particularly when implementing new processes, technologies, or strategies.
  12. ROI (Return on Investment): How much profit or loss you get from money you’ve spent or invested.
  13. Workflow: The sequence of tasks, activities, and processes that are completed to achieve a particular goal or outcome.
  14. Compliance: Adhering to laws, regulations, standards, and policies applicable to a specific industry or organization.
  15. Business Continuity: Preparing and planning to ensure an organization’s critical functions and operations can continue during and after disruptive events.
  16. Disaster Recovery: Implementing strategies and procedures to recover IT systems and data following a major disruption or failure.
  17. Business Analysis: Identifying and defining business needs and solutions to drive improvements and meet objectives.
  18. Digital Transformation: Integrating digital technologies and strategies into all aspects of a business to drive innovation, efficiency, and customer value.
  19. IT Governance: Frameworks and practices that ensure IT activities align with business goals, manage risk, and optimize resources.
  20. IT Strategy: A plan that outlines how an organization’s IT resources and capabilities will be utilized to achieve business objectives.
  21. Data Privacy: Measures and regulations to protect the confidentiality and control of personal and sensitive data.
  22. Incident Management: Responding to and resolving unexpected disruptions or incidents to restore normal operations.
  23. Service Desk: A central point of contact where users can request assistance, report issues, and seek technical support.
  24. Endpoint Security: Protecting individual devices (endpoints) from security threats through software and policies.
  25. Change Management: Guiding individuals and teams through transitions, particularly when implementing new processes, technologies, or strategies.
  26. Asset Management: Monitoring and optimizing the lifecycle of physical and digital assets, such as hardware, software, and licenses.
  27. User Access Control: Implementing policies and technologies to manage and restrict user access to sensitive resources.
  28. Business Process: A bunch of steps or jobs done together to reach a business goal.
  29. E-business: Conducting business activities electronically, encompassing aspects like e-commerce, online marketing, and customer service.
  30. CRM (Customer Relationship Management): Strategies, technologies, and practices used to manage interactions and relationships with customers.
  31. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning): Integrated software systems that manage different business functions, such as finance, human resources, and supply chain.
  32. BI (Business Intelligence): Technologies and processes that analyze and present business data to support decision-making.
  33. Reporting: Presenting information and data in a structured format to convey insights and support decision-making.
  34. Productivity: The efficiency and output of work or processes, often measured against resources used.
  35. Efficiency: Achieving maximum output with minimum resources or effort, optimizing processes, and reducing waste.
  36. Workflow: The sequence of tasks, activities, and processes that are completed to achieve a particular goal or outcome.
  37. Market Research: Collecting and analyzing data about markets, customers, and trends to inform business decisions.
  38. Customer Insights: Information gained from analyzing customer behavior, preferences, and feedback to improve products and services.
  39. Branding: Establishing and promoting a distinct and recognizable image, identity, and reputation for a product or organization.
  40. Sales Funnel: The step-by-step process that potential customers go through when considering and making a purchase.
  41. Target Audience: The specific group of people that a product, service, or marketing campaign is intended to reach and engage.
  42. Customer Engagement: The interaction and connection between a brand and its customers, often measured by interactions and loyalty.
  43. Customer Retention: Ways to keep and build a good relationship with current customers.
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