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99 Terms You Need to Know When You’re New to Tech

 

SEO WORD PHOTO_HL

Are you new to tech and feeling like you sometimes can’t even follow what people are talking about? Or have you already broken into the industry but are feeling like a bit of a fake because there are still so many terms to tackle?

Tech phrases and expressions can be tough to decipher—even with the most frantic of Googling! Sometimes all you need is a short and simple explanation to get your head around a concept and remember it the next time it comes up when you’re learning to code or in a meeting at work.

And that’s exactly what I have for you here—jargon-free, plain-English definitions of the fundamental terms you need to know to make your way in tech.

I bet you’ll find more than a few you’ve always wondered about. So, you can scratch them off your “What the heck is that?” list right away. Plus, you can bookmark this list to come back to whenever you run across another word that has you baffled.

And, if you’re ready to go from understanding tech concepts to making a great career with them, join us for a Skillcrush Blueprint. It’s the perfect way to get the tech skills you need in everything from web design to web development or WordPress to Ruby on Rails.

Social Media

  1. CONTENT CURATION

Choosing online content to share

  1. ENGAGEMENT

How much people use and interact with social media

Example: liking posts on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, viewing pins on Pinterest

  1. EMBEDDING

Putting social media content on a web page

Example: including a YouTube video in a blog post

  1. IMPRESSIONS

How many times a piece of social media content is seen

  1. INFLUENCER

Person who affects opinions and behavior through social media

  1. MENTION

Referring to a person or account on social media

Example: @mention on Twitter, +mention on Google+

  1. MICROBLOGGING

Using social media to share content like text, photos, videos, etc.

Example: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

  1. ORGANIC

Content that ranks highly because people have liked it or viewed it, not because companies have paid to promote the content

  1. REACH

How many people see social media content

  1. SOCIAL GRAPH

Network of relationships between Internet users

 

  1. USER-GENERATED CONTENT (UGC)

Social media content created by users—not by companies or organizations

Online marketing

  1. AFFILIATE MARKETING

Using other people or organizations to bring in customers via ads or content on their website

Marketing affiliates can get payments or discounts for the customers they bring in

  1. BOUNCE RATE

Percentage of website visitors who leave a website quickly without really looking at it

  1. CALL TO ACTION (CTA)

Text or image on a web page that asks a visitor to do something like read more content, join an email list, sign up for a webinar, buy a product, etc.

  1. CLICK-THROUGH RATE (CTR)

Percentage of people who click on links on web pages or in marketing emails

  1. FUNNEL

Series of events or actions a person takes in moving from being a potential customer to an actual customer

Example: visit a website, then sign up for a newsletter, then buy a product

  1. IMPRESSION

Number of times people see a certain piece of web content

  1. KEYWORD

Word or phrases used to search for online content

  1. MARKETING AUTOMATION

Using software or online services to automate and measure marketing efforts with things like marketing emails, customer relationship management, social media, reporting, and analytics

Example: HubSpot, MailChimp, Act-On

  1. MULTICHANNEL

Using different marketing platforms

Example: using website banner ads, Facebook ads, and marketing emails

  1. SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING (SEM)

Advertising on search engines

Example: AdWords, Bing Words

  1. SEO

Search Engine Optimization

Making a website or web page rank high in online search results

  1. TRAFFIC

Amount of people who visit a website

Growth hacking

  1. A/B TESTING

Presenting two different versions of online content, like a web page or marketing email, to see which one users respond to better

  1. CONTENT MARKETING

Using online content, like e-books, videos, blog posts, etc, to get more users or customers

 

  1. CONVERSION

Turning a potential customer into an actual customer

  1. DATA MINING

Going through large amounts of data to find new, useful information

  1. EMAIL MARKETING

Using direct emails to communicate with current and potential customers

  1. GROWTH HACKING

Creatively using technology, analytics, strategy in combination with product development to increase a company’s growth

  1. OPTIMIZATION

Developing a website to convert visitors to customers

Graphic Design

  1. COLOR VALUE

Way to define colors

Example: hexadecimal color code (#000000), color name (black), RGB code (0, 0, 0)

  1. COLOR THEORY

Characteristics of colors and the relationships between them

  1. GRID SYSTEM

Set of columns and rows that can be used as guidelines to arrange content on a web page

  1. PPI

Also called “density”

How many pixels per inch on a device display with higher PPI giving sharper images and text

Example: 326 ppi of iPhone 6

  1. RASTER

Image made of pixels so it can be styled more but loses quality when made bigger

Example: photo

  1. RESOLUTION

How many pixels can be shown on a device’s display with higher resolution meaning more information can be shown

Example: 1334 by 750 pixel resolution of iPhone 6

  1. RETINA DISPLAY

Term trademarked by Apple for an electronic device display with density so high (usually over 300 ppi) that people can’t see the individual pixels

  1. VECTOR

Image made up of lines calculated mathematically so it can’t be styled as much but doesn’t lose quality when it’s made bigger

Example: logo

User Experience

  1. MOOD BOARD

Collection of content showing the visual style for a website including color palette, images, icons, fonts, etc.

  1. SITEMAP

Outline, or map, of the pages needed for a website

  1. UI

User interface

How a website is laid out and how users interact with it

  1. USER FLOW

Map of the path users take from getting to a website through taking an action on the site

  1. USER PERSONA

Profile of an imaginary person who would use a website used to define who a site is for and what their needs are

  1. USER RESEARCH

Investigating how users act and what they need and want to design a better website for them

  1. UX

User experience

How people feel when they use a website

  1. WIREFRAME

Simple sketch of the key information that goes on each web page

Typography

  1. FONT

Typeface at a certain size and weight

Example: 14pt bold Arial

  1. KERNING

Adjusting the amount of space between characters

  1. LEADING (PRONOUNCED “LED-ING”)

Vertical distance between lines of text on a website

  1. TYPEFACE OR FONT FAMILY

Group of fonts

Example: Arial

  1. TYPE HIERARCHY

System of using different font sizes for text on a website to organize it and make it more visual appealing

  1. SERIF

Small line added to letters of “serif” font families that aren’t a characteristic san serif font families

Example of serif font: Times Roman

Example of san serif font: Arial

Frontend development

  1. FRONTEND

Part of a website that can be seen by users and includes HTML and CSS

HTML:

  1. ATTRIBUTE

More information about element contents that are in the opening tag and made up of the attribute name, an equal sign, and a value in double quotes

Example: alt=”My image”

  1. ELEMENT

HTML code made up of an opening tag, a closing tag, and information between them

Example:〈p〉This is my paragraph!〈/p〉

  1. HTML

HyperText Markup Language

Coding language used to put content on a web page and give it structure

  1. HTML5

The most current version of HTML

  1. META ELEMENTS

Elements that give the browser more information about the whole web page

Example: title, link, meta

  1. OPENING TAG & CLOSING TAG

Set of angle brackets with an HTML element character(s) that contains a piece of content or part of the structure for a web page

Example of opening tag: 〈p〉

Example of closing tag: 〈/p〉

  1. SELF-CLOSING TAG

Opening tag that doesn’t have a closing tag but instead “closes itself” with a forward slash before the right angle bracket

Example: 〈img src=”http://example.com/myimage.jpg” alt=”My image”/〉

  1. SEMANTIC ELEMENT

Element that gives the browser more information about the content in it

Example: em, abbr, s

  1. STRUCTURAL ELEMENT

Element that helps organize the content of a web page

Example: h1, p, div, span

CSS:

  1. CSS

Cascading Style Sheets

Code to tell browsers how to format and style HTML for a web page

  1. CSS3

The most current version of CSS

  1. DECLARATION

CSS code inside pair of curly brackets which has property and value for the selector

Example: {font-size: 1.5em;}

  1. PROPERTY

Characteristic of the HTML changed by CSS

Example: font size, color, margin

  1. SELECTOR

Part of CSS code that tells which HTML element the styling is for

Example with p as selector: p {font-size: 12px;}

  1. VALUE

Setting for a CSS property

Example: 1.5em, red, 20px

Backend development

  1. API

Application Programming Interface

How computers and web applications share information with each other

  1. APPLICATION

Type of software also called “app” and often used to refer to mobile device software

  1. BACKEND

Part of a website or web service that makes it work and includes applications, web servers, and databases

  1. BUG

Mistake or unwanted piece of code that keeps a website or program from working like it should

  1. DEVOPS

Way of working to help development, operations, and quality teams understand each other and collaborate better

  1. FRAMEWORK

Collection of programs and components used in software development

Example: Ruby on Rails, Bootstrap, AngularJS, Joomla

  1. OBJECT-ORIENTED PROGRAMMING (OOP)

Programming that allows the creation of objects that have specific and unique attributes and abilities

Example of OOP language: Ruby, PHP, Python

  1. SOFTWARE

Program or set of instructions that tells a computer, phone, or tablet what to do and includes applications and system software like operating systems, drivers, and utilities

  1. TEXT EDITOR

Software used to write plain text (with no formatting) that’s used for coding and programming

Example: SublimeText, TextEdit, TextWrangler, Notepad++

  1. VERSION CONTROL

System to keep track of changes to code and files and allows going back to earlier versions

Example: Git

  1. WEB SERVER

Computer that can be accessed through the internet or software that responds to server requests

Systems

  1. CACHING

When a web browser stores assets, like images and styles, so that the website will load faster on the next visit from the same user

  1. CLOUD COMPUTING

Storing and accessing information and services via the Internet

  1. FIREWALL

System to protect a trusted computer network, like a home network, from security risks from an external one, like the Internet

  1. ROUTER

Device used to connect personal computers to the Internet via a network like cable or DSL

  1. UPTIME & DOWNTIME

How long a website, computer, or system has been working (uptime) or not working (downtime)

  1. VIRTUAL MACHINE (VM)

Software that makes it possible to use one computer operating system on a computer running another system

Example: running Windows 8 on a MacBook Pro

  1. VPN – VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK

Network that allows the Internet to be used like it was connected to a private network (instead of a public one) and so can improve security

Data

  1. BIG DATA

Massively large sets of digital information

  1. DATA ARCHITECTURE

How data is collected, stored, accessed, and used in companies and organizations

  1. DATABASE

Collection of electronic information, aka data

  1. DATA MODELLING

Determining what kind of data is needed and how it will be structured and organized

  1. DATA VISUALIZATION

Using graphs, charts, tables, infographics, etc. to better tell about data and findings from it

  1. RELATIONAL DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

System for handling digital information using tables

Example: SAP, MySQL

Mobile

  1. HYBRID APP

Application that will work on different platforms and is a combination of a native app and a web app

  1. IDE

Integrated development environment

Application used for software development

Example: Eclipse, Visual Studio, VIM

  1. NATIVE APP

Application that’s been made specifically for a certain device platform

Example: Mail for iOS; Ingress for Android

  1. NFC

Near Field Communication

Technology that lets mobile and other devices communicate using radio waves when they’re very close to each other (about 4 inches or less) and is used for services like sharing files, pairing with accessories, or wireless payments

  1. RESPONSIVE

Website that adapts gracefully to different-sized devices like phones, tablets, wearable devices, etc.

  1. SDK

Software Development Kit

Set of tools for creating certain kinds of software

  1. WEB APP

Website that looks and feels like an app

Also called “HTML5 app”

 


 

Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Josh MacDonald

About the author: Skillcrush

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