Tech Terms Made Easy!

Technology and Software development comes with hundreds of acronyms. Sitting in a meeting where people consistently use tech terms can be overwhelming and leave you feeling confused. However, these tech terms, like most industry jargon, are meant to keep you at an arms distance & not allow you truly know what is happening behind the scenes. So to help you out here are some of those acronyms with easy to follow explanations and non-technical comparisons.



SDK – Software Development Kit:
An SDK allows a developer to code into an existing system to make it function to their needs. An SDK is available on SaaS products which help you tweak the system to work for your exact needs.

What is the tech term like outside of technology?

  • An SDK is like a box of Betty Crocker Cake Mix. The SDK is simply the base to make a cake. If you want the cake that the box offers, just follow the standard steps. However, with the cake mix, if you want to be creative and create your own type of cake you can. So, if your box is for a vanilla cake, there is nothing stopping you from adding strawberries and chocolate frosting. This allows you to buy a cake mix and make it your own, rather creating your own cake mix.

 

 

API – Application Program Interface:

An API is a way that allows systems to communicate by sending and receiving data regardless of the language. It also represents how the data is laid out and represented through the application.

What is the tech term like outside of technology?

  • An API is like speaking to someone who speaks a different language while having a translator present. As you speak to the translator, they tell the person(s), in their respective languages, what was just said. They allow for the conversation to happen while being the intermediary between the two people.

 

 

SSL Certificate – Secure Sockets Layer Certificate:

An SSL Certificate is the standard technology for keeping an internet connection secure and protects data going in between systems. When a website has an SSL Certificate a Padlock shows next to the URL to showth at it is active.

What is the tech terms like outside of technology?

  • An SSL Certificate is like a liquor license. The Liquor License represents that the bar is legally allowed to sell alcohol. This lets you know the owner obtained everything legally and you shouldn’t have worries about having drinks from that bar.
  • The SSL Certificate lets people know that their data is safe on your website.

HTTPS – Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure:
The Https is seen as HTTPS://  it is located at the beginning of URLs. The HTTPS triggers the SSL to activate and run the encryption layer to protect your data on that specific website.

What is the tech term like outside of technology?

  • The HTTPS is the Bouncer outside of the bar checking IDs. This allows the bar to keep its liquor license by only allowing patrons who are of age to purchase drinks. The Bouncer protects the bar by not allowing those of whom are underage to enter the bar.
  • A bouncer is just like the HTTPS. It puts the SSL into effect to protect the website from hackers and those trying to steal data.

UI or GUI – User Interface or Graphical User Interface: 

The UI or GUI are interchangeable terms it is simply what displays on the screen. It is what the user physically sees.

What is the tech terms like outside of technology?

  • The UI or GUI is like a board game and the pieces. There is no functionality in a UI or GUI it is, simply the physical appearance of the board game.


UX – User Experience:

The UX is how the user interacts with the UI. Having a good UI and UX go hand in hand, as planning out the UX can dictate the design of a UI.

What is the tech term like outside of technology?

  • The UX is how the aforementioned board game is played and interacted with. What information does the UI have that causes different actions to happen? When paying monopoly if you land on a chance spot you then pick up a card which could result in you to moving 4 spaces forward or to go to jail, etc. The UX is how a user interacts with the game. The simpler it is to understand the rules and play a game the better the UX is.
  • It is important with digital products to create a user-friendly UX. If the user must guess or question how to interact with your application, that isn’t a good thing. The user should know how to use it from the start or be able to easily learn how to use it.


VPN – Virtual Private Network:

A VPN uses virtual connections routed through the internet. It allows you to use a remote location and securely access your business’s systems, it can be a hidden private network or a visible network protected by some sort password or pin. This makes it so that no one can track you and your data can be hidden. For example, you won’t experience remarketing nor can cookies follow you.

What is the tech term like outside of technology?

  • A VPN as a consumer & non-work purposes is like going undercover. When you go undercover you are completely hiding your identity, no one knows who you truly are, but you can continue to experience life under that new identity. A VPN is like that but better, with a VPN when going undercover, you can go to your same neighborhood stores & common stomping grounds, yet no one will know it is you.
  • A VPN for your business is like having a hidden speakeasy behind the public-facing restaurant. Those who know where the secret entry, password, and are on the list can enter the speakeasy. Those who don’t know the password, the location, nor are on the list are unable to access or even know that the speakeasy exists. When you tell your employees the location and password to your VPN they are able to access that VPN and all of its contents, or in this case the secret speakeasy and all of its contents.

JSON – JavaScript Object Notation:

JSON or a JSON Object is a way that the system sends data between the servers & the application. A Developer codes the system to take the JSON Object & display the data in their proper fields on the UI.

What is the tech term like outside of technology?

  • A JSON Object is like a list of ingredients for your recipe. When you go to the recipe the first thing you see is the items that you need to create the dish. A JSON Object provides a simple layout that is easy to understand. The Recipe then dynamically uses the ingredients to call upon that specific ingredient to be used.
  • However, as a user, you will never see the JSON Object or “Ingredient list.” You will only see the recipe with the ingredients already incorporated into the appropriate steps.

CRON – Command Run On:

Also known as a “Cron-Job”. A Cron-Job is a set command or that triggers an action to happen at a predetermined time. Cron-Jobs are used for running features that are consistently required by the system while removing the user’s need to run the function.

What is the tech term like outside of technology?

  • A Cron-Job is like an alarm on your phone. You set your alarm to run Monday- Friday at X time and Saturday & Sunday at Y time. The Alarm is something you set once and forget, as long as you set your alarm to repeat daily or weekly, it will continue to run.
  • Another example is setting a routine on your thermostat. This way you can set multiple temperatures for when you wake up, leave for work, return home, & sleep. This is an example of real life a Cron Job. It’s something that the homeowner requires of their thermostat, however, they do not want to manually set the temperature every day.

Thinking about the high-level functionality of these acronyms and relating it to something that is easily understandable will help you get a better grasp upon technology and tech terms. However these tech terms, like most industry jargon, are meant to keep you at an arms distance & not allow you truly know what is happening. Most of the items aren’t hard to understand once you can get a high-level idea of the functionality & purpose.

Please comment below the acronyms or terms that you would like us to help you understand! We will use your suggestions for the next list!

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Jason Senter
Jason Senter
Executive Director of Sales & Product Management

After finding my footing in the world of technology, I joined Grata Software. I focus on identifying opportunities within your business where technology or processes are lacking, and how we can improve them. When I'm not playing sports or in the kitchen cooking, you can find me here at Grata Software, as the Head of Sales and Product Manager.