Are you new to tech and feel like sometimes you can’t even follow what people are talking about? If so, here are some jargon-free, plain-English definitions of the fundamental terms you need to know to make your way in tech.
Social Media Related Terms
Engagement - How much people use and interact with social media (Example: liking posts on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, viewing pins on Pinterest).
Embedding - Putting social media content on a web page (Example: including a YouTube video in a blog post).
Impressions - How many times a piece of social media content is seen.
Mention - Referring to a person or account on social media (Example @mention on Twitter, +mention on Google+).
Reach - How many people see social media content.
Online Marketing Related Terms
Bounce Rate - Percentage of website visitors who leave a website quickly without really looking at it.
Keyword - Word or phrases used to search for online content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Making a website or web page rank high in online search results.
Traffic - Amount of people who visit a website.
Graphic Design Related Terms
Color Value - Way to define colors (Example: hexadecimal color code (#000000), color name (black), RGB code (0, 0, 0)).
Raster - Image made of pixels so it can be styled more but loses quality when made bigger (Example: photo).
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).
User Experience Related Terms
Sitemap - Outline, or map, of the pages needed for a website.
Typography Related Terms
Font - Typeface at a certain size and weight (Example: 14pt bold Arial).
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).
HTML Related Terms
HyperText Markup Language (HTML) - Coding language used to put content on a web page and give it structure.
Meta Data - Elements that give the browser more information about the whole web page (Example: title, link, meta).
Backend Development Related Terms
Bug - Mistake or unwanted piece of code that keeps a website or program from working like it should.
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
Text Editor - Software used to write plain text (with no formatting) that’s used for coding and programming (Example: SublimeText, TextEdit, TextWrangler, Notepad++).
Web Server - Computer that can be accessed through the internet or software that responds to server requests.
Systems Related Terms
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.
Cloud Computing - Storing and accessing information and services via the Internet.
Firewall - System to protect a trusted computer network, like a home network, from security risks from an external one, like the Internet.
Router - Device used to connect personal computers to the Internet via a network like cable or DSL.
Uptime & Downtime - How long a website, computer, or system has been working (uptime) or not working (downtime).
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).
Virtual Private Network (VPN) - 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 Related Terms
Big Data - Massively large sets of digital information.
Database - Collection of electronic information, aka data.
Mobile Related Terms
Hybrid App - Application that will work on different platforms and is a combination of a native app and a web app.
Native App- Application that’s been made specifically for a certain device platform (Example: Mail for iOS; Ingress for Android).
Responsive - Website that adapts gracefully to different-sized devices like phones, tablets, wearable devices, etc.
Web App - Website that looks and feels like an app.