Understand How a Computer Works

Basic IT literacy is a given, as is a fundamental understanding of computer science. The majority of the work you’ll be doing will be on a computer and you won’t be spending a huge portion of your time using applications like Microsoft Word, Excel or Outlook. Rather, you’ll be in the trenches of the computer using the text editors, the terminal console or in your IDE; writing and running your own code. I very rarely spend time looking at nice user interfaces, you’ll be ‘closer to the metal’, in that you’re working with data a layer below conventional applications with graphical user interfaces. Closer to the metal machinery that grinds all the instructions.

Working in this way enables a huge possibility for customisation and flexibility with regards to what the computer is capable of. Let’s run through some basics you should know.

“What is an OS?” 

“What is linux”

“What is a Virtual Machine?”

“What does distributed computing mean?”

“What’s the difference between RAM and ROM?”

“What is a shell/bash script”

“What’s a CPU?”

“How many MB in a GB?”

“How do you do basic file management in the terminal? E.g. remove, copy and rename files”

“What’s the difference between a relational database and a non-relational database?”

“What is a binary executable?”

There are plenty more important concepts you should understand besides the above, but run through each one to check you know the answer and if you don’t, give it a search online.