Tech Industry Jargon
By Amanda Huang
Want to better understand tech buzzwords and jargon? It’s easy to feel lost and overwhelmed in a room full of people who seem super familiar with technical lingo so here it is: a simplified plain-English dictionary of words you might want to brush up on before walking into a networking event at a tech company!
1. User Interface (UI): User interface emcompasses all the parts of the website, app, or device the user interacts with. Everything from display screens, menus, and the keyboard and cursor are all considered a part of the user interface.
2. User Experience (UX): UX focuses on helping improving the emotions users feel about a product or service, or how easy it is to use. People talk about UX design, which is just the practice of manufacturing design that improves communication between a product and the user, so as to give the user the best overall experience. We can also talk about user flow here, which describes the path users typically take on website or app. Understanding user flow allows UX designers to create more intuitive paths for users. User research, the process of investigating and collecting data on how typical users behave on your product or service, is employed here to facilitate better designs.
4. Back end development: Back end is the part of the website that makes it run behind the scenes. This includes applications, servers, and databases that make the website or web service function but are typically not visible to users.
5. API (Application Programming Interface): API are interfaces used to build web applications. Think of them as building blocks or pre-made chunks of code web developers can work with. Developers put these blocks together and write more code on top of it to create whatever app or program they are trying to build. An example would be Google Maps API, which allows developers to add the Google Maps service to their own web page.
6. Devops (development operations): Devops is the software development process that emphasizes collaboration between the development, operations, and quality teams. When you get all three teams to work together better, Devops teams aim to produce shorter development cycles and release more reliable software.
7. Software: Software seems to encompass so much so let’s break it down a bit. Broadly, software is simply a program that tells a device what to do. Software includes:
- Individual applications: web browsers, word processors
- System software: Operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Mac OS)
- Drivers: software that allows operating systems to communicate with hardware
- Utilities: Tools like anti-virus programs or hard drive defragmenters
8. Version control: A tool used by developers to keep track of changes to code and files. Version control is useful because it allows you to go back and restore earlier versions of your program or application in case of bugs.
9. Cloud computing: This is where you store your data in the “cloud”, not on your local computer. It is spread out among a number of remote servers accessible through the Internet. Popular examples of this are Google Docs, Facebook, Gmail.
10. Virtual Machine (VM): A virtual machine is software that makes it possible to run a computer operating system on a computer running another system. Ex: using Windows10 on a MacBook Pro.
11. Big data: This is a term used to refer to collections of huge amounts of data, so large that they cannot be processed by traditional data processing systems. Big data comes from sources like cell phones, emails, user database information, applications, and servers. Companies want to find ways to comb through this data to identify consumer patterns and use them to optimize and grow their business.
12. Net neutrality: This refers to the idea of governments and Internet providers should treat all data on the internet the same way, no matter where it is coming from and what it contains. Net neutrality protects your internet privacy because it prevents governments or companies from paying to prioritize their traffic.
If this was helpful, look out for more jargon pieces on this website!