Glossary of Tech Terms

Are you new to the world of computer science and tech and left feeling at times that there is an entirely new language you have to learn?  Do you wonder what certain terms mean but aren’t sure who to ask?  Like, what is the difference between a bit or byte?

Nextech has assembled a glossary of terms often heard when describing computer science or used in hi-tech companies and roles.  This list is in no way complete; however, it should be a good starting point for the definitions that will come most in handy.

  • Agile or Agile Development

    Agile software development refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams. Agile methods or Agile processes generally promote a disciplined project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation, a leadership philosophy that encourages teamwork, self-organization and accountability, a set of engineering best practices intended to allow for rapid delivery of high-quality software, and a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals.

  • API

    Application Programming Interface - How computers and web applications share information with each other.

  • Application

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

  • 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”.

  • Back End

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

  • Big Data

    Massively large sets of digital information.

  • Bit

    A bit is the smallest unit of information that can be stored or manipulated on a computer; it consists of either zero or one. Depending on meaning, implication, or even style, it could instead be described as false/true, off/on, no/yes, and so on. We can also call a bit a binary digit, especially when working with the 0 or 1 values.

  • Bug

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

  • Byte

    A byte is a simply a fixed-length sequence of bits. Modern computers organize data into bytes to increase the data processing efficiency of network equipment, disks and memory. Computers by convention set one byte to equal eight (8) bits.

  • CSS

    Cascading Style Sheets - Code to tell browsers how to format and style HTML for a web page.

  • CSS3

    The most current version of CSS.

  • 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〉

  • Data Architecture

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

  • Data Modeling

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

  • Data Visualization

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

  • Database

    Collection of electronic information, aka data.

  • Declaration

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

    Example: {font-size: 1.5em;}

  • Dev Ops

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

  • Element

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

    Example: 〈p〉This is my paragraph!〈/p〉

  • Framework

    Collection of programs and components used in software development.

    Example: Ruby on Rails, Bootstrap, AngularJS, Joomla

  • Front End

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

  • HTML

    HyperText Markup Language

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

  • HTML5

    The most current version of HTML.

  • Hybrid App

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

  • IDE

    Integrated development environment - Application used for software development.

    Example: Eclipse, Visual Studio, VIM

  • Information Architecture

    Information architecture involves the way a website is structured and how the content is organized. Like building architects, information architects for the digital space create a blueprint for a website or app by categorizing everything that needs to go into it.

  • Internet of Things

    The Internet of Things, commonly abbreviated "IoT," is an umbrella term that refers to anything connected to the Internet. It includes traditional computing devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, but also includes a growing list of other devices that have recently become Internet enabled.

  • Meta Elements

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

    Example: title, link, meta

  • Mood Board

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

  • Native App

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

    Example: Mail for iOS; Ingress for Android

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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〉

  • Property

    Characteristic of the HTML changed by CSS.

    Example: font-size, color, margin

  • Relational Database Management System

    System for handling digital information using tables.

    Example: SAP, MySQL

  • Responsive

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

  • SDK

    Software Development Kit - Set of tools for creating certain kinds of software.

  • Selector

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

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

  • 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=”” alt=”My image”/〉

  • Semantic Element

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

    Example: em, abbr, s

  • Sitemap

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

  • 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.

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

    Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) generally refers to a new and alternative way of accessing software, as opposed to more traditional methods of access. Whereas in the past software would generally be purchased outright and loaded onto a device, SaaS normally refers to a subscription based model where the software is hosted in the cloud and accessed via the internet. T

  • Structural Element

    Element that helps organize the content of a web page.

    Example: h1, p, div, span

  • Text Editor

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

    Example: SublimeText, TextEdit, TextWrangler, Notepad++

  • User Interface (UI)

    User interface focuses on the tools people use to interact with a website or mobile app. UI designers stylize and visually enhance wireframes that UX designers have created. Buttons, menus, and slider bars are just a few of the key components that enable you to accomplish tasks on a website or app.

  • User Flow

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

  • 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.

  • User Research

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

  • User Experience

    User experience is how people use your website or app and if it enables them to do what they need to do without confusion. By doing user research, creating wireframes and prototypes, and conducting usability tests, UX design focuses on making the product easy to use and providing users with the best experience possible.

  • Value

    Setting for a CSS property.

    Example: 1.5em, red, 20px

  • Version Control

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

    Example: Git

  • Visual Design

    Visual design typically involves bringing products and digital assets to life, from concept to execution. Visual designers translate a company’s visual language to create functional, consistent, and beautiful products for mobile devices and the web, as well as marketing materials. Their focus is on the digital space—not print.

  • Web APP

    Website that looks and feels like an app.

    Also called “HTML5 app”

  • Web Design

    Web design refers to both the aesthetic portion of the website and it’s usability. Web designers use various design programs such as Adobe Photoshop to create the layout and other visual elements of the website.

  • Web Development

    Web development governs all the code that makes a website tick. It can be split into two categories—front-end and back-end. The front-end or client-side of an application is the code responsible for determining how the website will actually display the designs mocked up by a designer. The back-end or server-side of an application is responsible for managing data within the database and serving that data to the front-end to be displayed.

  • Web Server

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

  • Wireframe

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

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