Survival guide for tech dummies: 60 tech terms explained

Survival guide for tech dummies: 60 tech terms explained

Being a marketing intern in a software company isn’t always easy. Being a tech illiterate between all those tech savvies was quite difficult. Especially when talking about our integrations or an update that is going to happen. That’s why I wanted to write a glossary of the most important technology terms you’ll stumble upon when you’re doing your internship in a software company.

Technology is the next big thing in the world. From our smartphones to VR-glasses up to the latest features in cars. Everything has its base in the techworld. I never thought I would be doing an internship in a start-up like Azumuta. But here I am and they didn’t lie. Technology is a pretty heavy (but interesting!) topic.

First things first (because I didn’t know these words)

  • A tech illiterate: Someone who doesn't know anything/very little about technology.
  • Tech savvy : well informed about or proficient in the use of modern technology, especially computers

A

Applications - types of software, perhaps better known as "apps", those little icons on your mobile homescreen - that are designed to provide a function to a user or another app. Apps include everything from web browsers to word processors, to photo and image editing programs and to chat programs.

API (Application Programming Interface) - a type of intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. Every time you use an app like Instagram, send an instant message or check the weather report on your phone, you are using an API

API - is actually an intermediary that allows communication between two systems, while an API endpoint is a URL that allows the API to access resources on a server. Thus, without API endpoints, APIs could not actually be intermediaries.

B

Back end - basically the behind-the-scenes portion of a site and website service (this includes applications, web servers and databases), and is usually not visible to the user interacting with the site or service.

Best-of-breed approach - combining different solutions (from different suppliers) within your work environment. (working with integrations in other words). It’s the counterpart of a best-of-suite solution.

Best-of-suite solutions - Whereas in a best-of-breed approach you have different vendors in niche departments of your business, best-of-suite solutions is the purchase of one system that has all aspects. The downside is that many features may not be the best compared to what is available on the market. Because integrations have become easier in recent years, most employers choose a best-of-breed approach because each software has its own niche.

C

A call to action - a piece of text, banner, image with a visual distinction that asks a visitor to take an action - read more content, send an email, subscribe to an email list, etc. CTA’s are a marketing tool that converts web users into leads for businesses.

CamelCase - a digital agreement where the first letter of each word in a compound is capitalized, except the first word. For example: “email checker” becomes “emailChecker”. Software developers often use PascalCase when writing source code to name functions, classes and other objects to maintain a clear overview.

The click through rate (CTR) - the number of users (in percent) who click on links in web pages or marketing emails. CTR is important because it measures how many users are actively engaged with the linked content on a site. For example, you might send a newsletter to 2,000 customers of which only 100 actually click on the blogs to read.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) - an approach to increase the percentage of visitors who change to paying customers. CRO methods usually entice users with a call to action.

D

Data lake - a general storage area for large quantities of unstructured data from various sources.

Data warehouse - a central location for storing structured data from various sources.

Data Masking - a way of anonymizing pieces of data so that the data is still usable for a particular purpose, without the risk of exposing e.g. confidential data or PII (personal data).

E

ESB - Enterprise Service Bus, one of the many integration softwares used in larger organizations to organize internal communication between applications by placing messages on the 'bus' and being read by other applications.

Engagement - the term used for likes or other interactions with a company on social media. It is a unit of measurement that companies use to measure and evaluate their social media performance.

Elements - individual HTML components of a document or webpage. For example, a paragraph in an HTML document is an element. Elements are made up of an opening tag, a closing tag, and information between them.

F

Field Mapping - the process of matching data between two or several platforms. For example, when integrating one platform with another, you want to make sure that your lead's mailing address in a CRM ends up in the correct field in the mailing list.

Front end - defines all the parts of a website that can be seen and interpreted by users. Front end web designers usually work with coding such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Framework - A set of tools and components in a scripting language that are often used in software development. A kind of library really. Examples of frameworks include Ruby on Rails, Bootstrap, React, Angular, and Joomla.

G

Grids - a series of existing frames that can be used as guidelines to arrange content on a web page or application. Grid systems provide an even "look" to your design, making it more readable and recognizable to the viewer.

H

HTML (HYPERTEXT MARKUP LANGUAGE) - HTML is the standard language used to create web pages. It’s the most basic building block you’ll need for developing websites. You might remember basic HTML tags from early personal websites like Myspace, where you could customize your page with commands inside <>.

HTML5 - (in feb 2021) the latest version of HTML. HTML5 focuses on features that can be used on low-powered devices (making it ideal for creating mobile applications), the native ability to work with multimedia and graphic content, and new semantic web tag elements (features you use to structure your pages and documents).

I

Identity resolution - A concept used among others in a CDP (Customer Data Platform) to discover and merge duplicate contacts. For example, an account under Jan Janssens and under Janssens Jan can be merged.

iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) - is an integration cloud platform that allows multiple platforms to communicate and exchange data without difficulty.

J

Jitter - refers to small delays during data transfers. It can be caused by a number of factors including network congestion, collisions, and signal interference.

K

A kernel - the foundational layer of an operating system (OS). It functions at a basic level, communicating with hardware and managing resources, such as RAM and the CPU.

L

Logic gates - necessary building elements of an integrated circuit. They perform basic logic functions. Most logic gates have an input of two binary values, and an output of one value. Some circuits may have only a few logic gates, while others, such as microprocessors, may have millions.

M

Meta elements - HTML elements that are not visible to the user on a web page, but give the web browsers additional information about "background" of the site such as the page description, language, last modified, etc. Meta elements can also provide information for social networking, such as a cover image, author details, last modified, etc.

Mood boards - creative expressions (images, materials, pieces of text) used to represent the visual style of a project. The style represented on a mood board is then translated into digital form by visual designers.

Monitor - a high level word that tech savvies use for the screen. The monitor displays the computer's user interface and open programs.

N

Native apps - apps who were created for specific platforms. They run only on the platforms they were created for, and are stored locally on those devices. Safari for iOS and Google Play for Android are both examples of native apps.

Native integration – is an integration that is already included in the user interface (UI) of a platform, so you mostly don't need to use an iPaaS solution.

O

One-way synchronisation – is data synchronisation where data is going in one direction, from a source platform to a destination platform.

Object Oriented Programming (OOP) - A form of programming that focuses on creating objects that have specific attributes and capabilities. In OOP, the computer program consists of these created objects. These then interact with each other.

Octa-core CPU - eight processing cores in a single chip. It is similar to a dual-core CPU (two processors), but has eight processors, which can process instructions simultaneously.

oAuth - an authentication protocol that allows you to give a third party service access to your data. For example, if you use a CRM like Lime Tech, you can grant an integration platform access to your Lime Tech data. This is done with oAuth, which opens an authentication from Lime Tech that asks if you want to grant access.

P

Production - a production room is actually the "live" software. Data integrations are often test driven before they are released into production.

A property - in CSS (the code used to add style to documents) is a part of the base of an HTML (font size, color, margin) whose style it changes by CSS.

PascalCase - a digital agreement where the first letter of each word in a compound is capitalized. For example: “email checker” becomes “EmailChecker” Software developers often use PascalCase when writing source code to name functions, classes and other objects to maintain a clear overview.

Q

Queue - a list of tasks waiting to be processed. When a task is sent to a queue, it is simply added to the back of the list. Computer programs often work with queues as a way to organize tasks.

Quad-core CPU - four processing cores in a single chip. It is similar to a dual-core CPU (two processors), but has four processors, which can process instructions simultaneously.

R

Routers - the devices used to connect personal computers to the Internet. The device you use to access your WiFi network is a router.

REST API - REST (representational state transfer) describes how an API should look (by default), how it should behave, and how people could use it. The idea behind this is that all APIs work the same way, so people can quickly become familiar with them.

Responsive web design - the practice of designing websites so that they are visible and accessible on both mobile devices and the computer. This includes phones, tablets and other handheld devices. The purpose of responsive web design is to have an as proportional and seamless design on a mobile device as on the computer. This approach also ensures better SEO.

S

SaaS (Software as a service) - also known as software on demand. This means that the customer does not have to purchase the software, but a contract is made per month and/or per user. The customer chooses which plan is right for their production team.

Sandbox - a development environment of a software application to test new updates and features. Integrations are often tested using a sandbox before moving to production.

Single source of truth - a construct where one database contains all "official" data, which is considered accurate. All other applications that use the same data must pull that data from the "single source of truth" application.

T

Two-way synchronisation - a form of data synchronization where data is streaming in both directions. This means that data is maintained in one of the two platforms and changes must also be made in the other platform, either automatically or not.

Traffic - the total number of users that a website may welcome. There are different types of visits, such as unique visitors and the total number of clicks. All of this can be tracked in Google Analytics.

A toolbar - a group of icons or buttons that can be seen on the interface of a software program or of an open window. When the toolbar is part of the interface of a program, it is usually located directly below the menu bar. An example is Microsoft Word's toolbar, where we can customize the colors, font and styles.

U

The user interface (UI) - includes all functional parts of a website, app, etc. The user can decide how the screen (or device) looks and how he interacts with it. For example, displays and touch screens, menus on websites, keyboards, your cursor - they are all part of a user interface.

User flow - the path that typical users take when they start on a website or application until the moment they leave. Creating a fluid path that is intuitive for users to follow is a part of user experience (UX) design. The easier the company makes the user flow, the faster a visitor or user can navigate it.

Uptime (or downtime) - describes how long a website, computer or other system was active (uptime) or inactive (downtime).

V

Virtual machine - a software that allows a computer operating system such as Windows to be used on a computer running another system such as a MacBook and vice versa. One system can host multiple virtual machines.

VPN - Networks that allow public Internet connections to be used as private networks by encrypting the data that is sent and received. This can be useful, for example, to ensure security of your data. In theory, anyone can access our data through a public connection.

Version control - a tool used to track changes to code and files. It gives IT specialists the ability to go back to a previous version should bugs occur. Most version controls are built into the program in which the codes are written.

W

Wireframes - in fact the "skeletons" of a website. They contain the most important information that will appear on each page of a website. Designers can use these sketches as a starting point for the layout of a Web site.

Z

A ZIP/RAR file - Zipping one or more files creates a compressed file that takes up less space than the uncompressed version. It is widely used for backing up files and reducing the size of large data transferred over the Internet.

This is me

Hopefully some of these explanations will help you in the future. It helped me survive my internship. So next time you’re talking to an expert, take this blogpost with you and chat away. But don’t brag too much, because they will get you exposed for the little cheater you are. But from now on, you will (finally) understand what they are talking about. So send that mail asking to join the meeting and upgrade your skills by using our tech survival guide.