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Home  > Article

Say the Right Buzzwords and Sound Like an Engineer

By John R. Platt

It's hard to imagine a profession that uses more buzzwords, acronyms and jargon than engineering. Here are a few terms to help you sound like an insider.


Formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, a non-profit organization that accredits U.S. degree programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. You want to make sure your degree comes from an ABET-accredited school, especially if you plan to seek your PE license (see below).


Artificial Intelligence, one of the top goals of software engineering.

CAD (also CADD)

Computer-Aided Design, referring to the use of computer-based tools to assist engineers in all forms of 2D and 3D design activities. Start practicing on these tools now.


Certified Software Development Professional. The only software development certification that has all of the components of a professional certification. Administered by the IEEE Computer Society.


The point where environments and networks work together regardless of signal type. A major goal in communications technologies.


The Institute of Electric and Electronics Engineers, the world's largest technology professional society, and a good source of information and services to aid your career.


Internet Protocol Television, a growing field of technology to deliver video programming over the Internet. IPTV will require companies to invest in massive infrastructure and server upgrades as it becomes more popular over the next five years.


Light-Emitting Diode, a semiconductor device that emits light when forward-biased. Our world could be lighted by low-power LEDs in the near future.


A broad term for something tiny: matter or devices smaller than 1 micrometer in size. Nanotechnology research cuts a broad swatch across all fields of technology. From nano-scale devices to new types of polymers, this field will more than likely impact your career at some point -- probably sooner rather than later.


Professional Engineer, a registered or licensed engineer permitted to offer their professional services directly to the public. Licensure is performed at the state level.

Peer Review

The process (usually conducted on an anonymous, volunteer basis) of subjecting a scholarly work or idea to scrutinous examination by experts in the same field. This plays heavily into scholarly publishing, grants, and patents.


Technology specifications built in a forum of consensus that allow engineers worldwide to build devices that work (or work together) in a common, expected manner. Get involved in standards development to make a permanent mark on your field of technology (not to mention your career).


The Software Engineering Body of Knowledge, which describes the sum of knowledge within the profession of software engineering. So comprehensive, it requires the use of a Guide to SWEBOK.

Wi-Fi, WiMAX, RFID, CDMA, WSN, 3G & 4G

A collection of communications technologies that are already changing the way we work and connect. A huge industry always in flux.

John R. Platt is a freelance writer and marketing consultant who often writes about technology, entrepreneurship, and the environment.

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