15 Technology Terms That Every Technology Student Should Know
You’ve decided to pursue a career in the tech industry—we salute you! By investing your time in one of the world’s fastest-growing* and most exciting industries, you’ll be one of the people shaping the future. You’ll be able to influence the way we experience the world in myriad ways, from how we communicate, how long we live, and how we move around from one place to another. And because technology is changing at lightning speed, those advancements will probably be in ways we can’t even imagine yet.
All of this excitement about the future is promising, but it can also be overwhelming. How can you keep up? Well, it starts with the basics. As a technology student, you’ll need to keep a constant pulse on the latest terminology and how it relates to your future career. Here are 15 technology terms that every technology student should know.
- The internet of things. Sure, by now you know what the internet is (a global network of connected computers). But this phrase refers to more than just computers. The “things” are everyday objects that also connect to the internet. These objects can be controlled by a hub device or with your smartphone, like the Nest learning thermostat, or Wi-Fi electrical outlets that connect to Alexa.
- UI. This short acronym is vital to the design of every technological device on the market today. UI stands for “user interface,” meaning the layout of a website, app, or other item. This helps create the look and feel of the devices you use and love today.
- UX. UX stands for “user experience,” which is more about how the human relates to the interface and navigates the device. Apple’s iPhones became a smash success because Steve Jobs was extremely concerned with the user’s experience with the device.
- Augmented reality. Augmented reality has a focus on the real world but involves overlapping the virtual world within that world. This creates a mixed reality that will be a big part of our future.
- AI. No term is more newsworthy today than AI, which stands for artificial intelligence. With AI, computers become smarter over time, learning how to do things without the programming of a human.
- Social engineering. This is another newsworthy term referring to the act of taking people’s passwords and sensitive information for personal gain. This is usually the act of hackers who parade as a trustworthy source. They garner information from the person without the other party realizing their intent.
- HTML. The internet is built upon the language of HTML. This stands for HyperText Markup Language and is what programmers use to write website code. It gives the page the look from its text, images, videos, etc.
- CSS. Related to HTML but subtly different, CSS is the language used to format HTML code. The acronym stands for Cascading Style Sheets and helps to enhance the design of the content on a website.
- Encryption. As hackers are becoming smarter than ever, encryption is an important part of keeping data safe. Encryption is the act of making data unreadable by other users who have not been authorized to access the data. It basically turns information into a made-up language using special formulas.
- Front end of a website. Any website developer throws this term around with ease, so it’s important to know the meaning. The front end of a website is any part of a website you can see. When you type in a URL and find text, videos, and graphics, this is the front end that has been created by a web designer.
- Back end of a website. The back end of a website goes hand in hand with the front end. This is the part you can’t see, made up of the HTML and CSS code that creates the website behind the scenes.
- Cloud computing. Cloud computing is a form of data storage. Rather than storing data on the hard drive of a computer, the information is stored in a “cloud,” which is a number of remote servers. Google Docs and Gmail are examples of cloud computing, as are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
- Big data. This is a term tossed around a lot that many people don’t quite understand. Big data refers to the collection of data so large, it can’t process through the normal systems. Big data can be collected from mobile devices, emails, apps, and more.
- Native apps. Unlike the apps found in the App Store or Google Play, native apps are made specifically for one platform and only run on that device. Examples of native apps include Mail for iOS.
- A/B testing. This is an important form of research mainly done for marketing purposes. With A/B testing, two different ads or programs are put to use, then the results are analyzed and the better performing ad is kept running. A/B testing allows marketers to find the most effective means of advertising.