The Jonajo Blog

Tech Terms: A Brief Guide

Have you ever been in a conversation where someone throws out some fancy tech terms that you do not understand at all? For example, why are they telling me that I need an MVP? I thought MVP stands for Most Valuable Player? If you are new to the tech world there may be a lot of words floating around that you have never heard before or at least never heard in this context. Have no fear, I have compiled a list of terms that you should know in order to survive in the world of tech. Before we get started, I want to note that the tech world is constantly evolving. This list of tech terms may be outdated shortly after I publish it. It is important to keep up with current trends and innovations in technology so that you stay ahead of the curve.

Software:

Generally it is a program that tells a device (computer, phone, tablet) what to do. An example of software are applications (this is not the only type of software, there are many more).

Application (Apps):

Of all the tech terms, this is one of the most commonly used. I am sure you have run into in your everyday life. An app is simply a type of software (often on a mobile device) designed to provide a specific function for the user or for another application. An app can be anything from a game to a web browser to a communication platform.

Bugs:

Simply mistakes or unwanted pieces of code that cause a website or program to not function in the way it was intended.

Web Servers:

These are the actual computers which store the websites, apps, documents, etc. that can be accessed via the internet through applications. By reading this article right now you are using a web server to access this website. 

Front End:

All parts of the website that users see and interact with.

Back End:

The parts of the website or web service that make it work. This is usually not visible to the user

Minimum Viable Product (MVP):

This term is often used in software development. It describes an early version of the product that has enough features to attract potential users and validate the product from the get-go. The MVP also often serves the purpose of gathering user feedback as a way to quickly improve the product. 

Application Programming Interface (API):

The most simple definition of an API is that it is an interface used for building web applications. APIs provide building blocks that coders utilize by putting them together to create a program.  APIs allow for developers to better interact with their websites. Some examples include embedding functions into and gathering data from the website.

Responsive Web Design:

Sometimes this is also referred to as a website being flexible. When you design a website to be responsive you are designing it to be adaptable to all devices that a person may use to view is (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.). A responsive web design is a hallmark of an experienced web designer. 

Bounce Rate:

A statistic that refers to the ratio of individuals who visit a website and quickly leave it with minimal attention or interaction (they click away very quickly). In general, it is good to have a low bounce rate. This indicates that you have engaged your users and keep them on your site for longer.

Click-Through Rate (CTR):

I have often heard this term used regarding the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. The CTR indicates the percentage of users who click on your link of interest (e.g. on a website or in an email).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

This is a key strategy in internet marketing. SEO is the practice of optimizing a website so that it shows up as highly as possible in relevant, unpaid search results. For example, the first sites that pop up when you Google something. The practice of SEO involves understanding the algorithms used in a specific search engine and creating content that contains the appropriate keywords.

A/B Testing:

A/B testing is a common practice which involves releasing two versions of online content, randomly presenting them to the users and gauging reactions. This is a great way to gather data if you are unsure about something that you’re launching. For instance a feature of an app, or the efficacy of a marketing campaign. 

Actionable Analytics:

Essentially this means utilizing that data that a company has gathered by analyzing it and gaining insights on issues and their causes. Actionable analytics are intended to help determine how to solve issues within a company. 

Data Visualization:

This is a pretty straightforward one. Data visualization involves using tools such as graphs or tables (there are a variety of other options as well) to examine analyzed data and communicate the findings.

Artificial Intelligence (AI):

This is one of those buzzwords that is thrown around at every networking event. It seems like every company is interested in AI and if you’re not you are behind the times. But honestly, this is a pretty vague term that just means a machine displaying what we define as ‘intelligence’. In this instance, it is usually referring to when a machine captures information about its environment and uses that information to adapt in some way that helps it to achieve a goal. 

Machine Learning:

Machine learning is a subset of AI which involves less supervision. The program spends its time digging through data, finding patterns and modifying the way that it works in accordance with those patterns. The less supervision means that it does this without any explicit instructions to do so.

Augmented Reality (AR):

AR is a way of integrating computer-generated content with the real world. Examples of AR include filters and geotags on Snapchat/Instagram as well as applications such as Pokemon Go.

Virtual Reality (VR):

VR is a similar concept to AR. The major difference that I have seen between the two is that VR seems to be more immersive. VR typically involves more of an individual’s senses. This immersion is achieved usually by doing things like wearing goggles and headphones which block out the rest of the world.

Blockchain:

Blockchain seems to be the wave of the future when it comes to protecting data. It is a type of database that monitors every change made within it. These changes are time stamped and contain links to previous versions. This data is not contained in one place but is distributed and encrypted. 

 

Although this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the tech terms a person needs to know, I hope that it has helped you to feel more comfortable and confident in holding a tech-related conversation. See below if this basic over view was not enough and you want to learn more tech terms.

 

 

 

 

Goggi, Christina. “57 Technical Terms That All True Geeks Should Know.” GFI Blog, 4 Sept. 2019, techtalk.gfi.com/57-technical-terms-that-all-true-geeks-should-know/.

Ouellette, Alexandre. “These Are The 17 Top Tech Buzzwords You Need To Know.” The 17 Tech Buzzwords You Need To Know Right Now, careerfoundry.com/en/blog/web-development/tech-buzzwords-to-learn/.

Smith, Kelli. “99 Tech Terms You Need to Know When You’re New to Tech.” Skillcrush, 21 June 2019, skillcrush.com/2015/03/26/99-tech-terms/.

Top 50 Tech Terms That Are Now Common Expressions – NetLingo The Internet Dictionary: Online Dictionary of Computer and Internet Terms, Acronyms, Text Messaging, Smileys 😉, www.netlingo.com/top50/common-expressions.php.

 

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Alyssa Wicker

Alyssa Wicker is a Field Marketing Representative at Jonajo Consulting and a PhD Student in Marketing at the University of California, Riverside.

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