Reviewing this guide means you’re taking a step toward your tech education, a path that can re-code your future by opening doors to exciting, rewarding, and well-paying careers.
Tech lingo and buzzwords can sound like a foreign language when you’re just starting out. Learning these terms is important to successfully communicate within the industry.
This guide covers more than 30 terms any new tech pro should know, and you’ll see them come up in many foundational courses in web development, software development, and UX/UI design—all common coding paths.
Adaptive and Responsive Design
Adaptive design means making sure a website is able to adapt, or respond, to different devices when opened on them. Good adaptive/responsive designs have layouts that change to fit the screen size and maintain their usability whether on a phone, tablet, or desktop. You might more commonly know this as responsive design.
API (Application Programming Interface)
An API, or Application Programming Interface, is code that helps you connect two programs. Have you ever downloaded an app and it asked if you wanted to connect to Facebook? API allows that to happen.
Applications are software that help you do different things, from making a spreadsheet to adding an appointment on your calendar. It’s likely you’re well versed in mobile applications on your phone. Applications can also be created for web and desktop.
Backend development involves behind-the-scenes code, like APIs, software, and operating systems. It powers the things you see as a user.
Are you a Google Chrome Fan? All about Safari? Love to surf the web using Mozilla Firefox? These are all web browsers, or the software you use to access websites and things on the internet. Browsers use URLs to communicate, pull, and, in essence, interpret the code so it can be displayed as a (hopefully beautiful) website.
Like a spider, a bug can strike fear for a developer, but in truth, these errors are the way programmers get stronger and more experienced. Bugs are mistakes, such as broken, incorrect, or unnecessary code, that can stop a website or program in its tracks and/or keep it from working as it should. The process of finding and fixing bugs is called debugging. Great debugging skills make great programmers!
Cache is essentially storage. The first time you visit a website, your browser pulls files and data and stores it temporarily in your cache. This helps your browser remember the site, so the next time you visit it the files will be pulled quicker (instead of gathering the files from the server again) and the webpage will load faster. Cache can also refer to a form of RAM storage that can make your computer’s CPU run faster.
Code is the building block of anything tech. It is what coders use to craft websites and software and what communicates with a computer so it knows what to do. There are many types of code, called coding languages, that, similar to a foreign language, have their own set of terms, syntax, semantics, rules, and side effects. Some of the most common coding languages include:
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)L The primary building block of websites. It determines a site’s structure.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): Works with HTML to create a website’s visual style. CSS is used to dictate colors, fonts, size, and more.
- C: A procedural programming language created for writing operating systems and other system-related programming tasks.
- C#: A popular object-oriented software development language for Windows.
- Python: A popular object-oriented coding language known for its simple syntax, easy readability, and flexibility. Python is frequently used for data projects but is also growing in popularity in app development.
- Ruby: A popular and flexible programming language that’s easy to use syntax makes it a go-to multi-purpose language. Ruby on Rails is a Ruby-based framework for web application development.
- Go: A new popular language designed at Google.
Building websites and applications requires multiple files and data. Databases are how information and data is stored. These files are typically accessed through Structured Query Language, commonly called SQL. MySQL is the most common open source database management system (DBMS) and helps you move data and files within the database as well as inside and outside the database. When building a website, most website hosts include MySQL to assist in building your site.
Deployment is the launch of a web site or app once it’s complete. This means it’s been not only developed but tested.
In HTML, elements are individual components of code within a larger document. H1, for example is an HTML element designated a line of text as a primary headline (or headline 1). Elements are written with an element in brackets, called tags. The opening tag looks like <h1>, while the closing tag always includes a backslash: </h1>. Content you want to show up on the website as that element goes between the two tags. For example, if coding this blog as a webpage, it’s title would be the h1 element. It would therefore be coded: <h1>Coding Terms 101: 25+ Terms to Get Started in Tech</h1>.
A framework is a tool that gives you a jumpstart on a development project. Instead of having to start from square one, framework is a platform consisting of a collection of coding and programs you can build upon. It keeps you from reinventing the wheel each time you launch a new project.
Full-Stack Developers are a little bit “jacks of all trades.” They can do frontend and backend development and are knowledgeable in many aspects of coding and development processes.
Git is an open source version control system. What’s that mean? Basically it’s a software that helps you store, keep track of, and access different versions of your program as you code. This is a must-have tool for software developers when working on large, complex projects with multiple parts. GitHub is a cloud-based platform for Git and one of the most popular tools for developers to host code and manage and build software.
Mobile first is a design approach focusing on developing the design for how a site or app looks on a phone or other device first. This method is popular for UX-focused designers and developers (hint: everyone should be UX-focused!). The ideology is designing for mobile is often the hardest, so a mobile-first design not only makes the mobile design highly effective but makes the design process for desktop easier.
In CSS, properties are the elements of HTML you are able to style with CSS. For example, if h1 is contained in the webpage, it’s color, size, etc., are able to be changed using CSS.
A sitemap does just as it sounds–it maps out a website and shows the hierarchy of the pages. This tool is used by both web developers and designers and to play a role in how search engines read the website.
The process of creating software applications, from the coding to testing and debugging.
Have you ever noticed when a website says “https” at the beginning of its URL? That means the site has a Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, certificate installed. This means the site is secure and is following security measures to make sure data exchanged between the server and the browser is encrypted (or encoded to not be easily accessible and seen to unauthorized users).
Text editors are a coder’s best friend You might think we mean Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, but there are Text Editors that specifically work for programming languages. This software allows you to write code in plain text. Many text editors also have built-in tools that help make writing code faster.
UI Design, or User Interface Design, focuses on the aspects of an app or website users interact with, like buttons. They consider the actions a user will take when engaging with the application and the overall layout.
UX, or User Experience, Design is the process of making an application or website (a product) user-friendly. UX Designers often engage in User Research, a process to understand a user’s goals and needs when engaging with a product, and use that to help shape the overall experience when using the product.
Developers frequently make updates to software and applications. Sometimes they’re small updates for better operations or security. Other times they’re large overhauls. Version control helps keep track of those new versions of files and code as well as the old. This makes it easy to revert back to an older version if a bug occurs and you need to troubleshoot to find the source. Git is a popular version control tool.
Web Designers & Developers
A web designer specializes in the visual creation of websites, while a developer codes the website and applications. It’s not uncommon for individuals to do both.
A wireframe is a plan of the overall design of each page of a website. It’s typically one of the first phases of the design process and serves as a blueprint for later design and development. A wireframe consists of placeholder items like lines and boxes instead of the full images and text.
Now that you have an overview of these key coding terms, it’s time to take the next steps toward your coding career!
Get the inside scoop on tech careers and learning to code with these resources
- Start building your personal brand in tech
- Learn 5 reasons web development is a hot career option
- Get the 7 signs you’re a good fit for a career in UI/UX design
- Find out why anyone can learn how to code
- See how a carpenter was able to upgrade his life after coding bootcamp
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