20 Tech Terms You May Have Heard, But Never Understood

The world of technology can be a confusing place. Not only is it full of complex tools and systems which can take a lifetime of training to understand, but there are also endless unique terms to discover and translate too. While you might have encountered acronyms like “SEO” and “CMS” in the past, you may not know what they mean, or why they’re important to you.

tech terms

Fortunately, we’re here to help. The following list covers some of the most important technology terms you should probably be aware of if you’re involved with the tech landscape.

1. SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

SEM, or Search Engine Marketing refers to all methods of internet marketing which help to promote the visibility of a website in the search results. The term “SEM” can refer to strategies like search engine optimization, to improve organic ranking, and pay-per-click or paid advertising methods too.

2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Perhaps one of the most important terms in online marketing, search engine optimization is the art of optimizing your website and content to make it more likely to show up in the search engine results pages. SEO involves a number of varied tactics, from link building and keyword research to competitor analysis and content marketing.

3. CMS (Content Management System)

A “CMS” or Content Management System is a software platform designed to help users create, manage, and modify content online. WordPress is one example of a CMS – and one of the most popular in the world, responsible for powering a significant portion of the internet. Without a content management system, you’d need to create and manage your website through code.

4. CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

A CRM, or Customer Relationship Management system, is an environment where companies can collect valuable information about their customers or users, as well as tracking leads and sales opportunities. With the data collected in a CRM, it’s easier for businesses to understand their customers, their unique needs, and their preferences.

5. PPI (Pixels Per Inch)

Pixels per inch is a term you might be familiar with if you use a lot of graphics in your day-to-day life. The term refers to the volumes pixels per inch on a device display. The higher the PPI count, the sharper the text and images will be.

6. UI (User Interface)

A user interface is all the parts of a website, computer, smartphone, or app that a user can interact with. For instance, when you tap into WhatsApp on your phone, the list of contacts you see, and the individual chat pages are both examples of a user interface.

7. UX (User Experience)

Crucial in the modern age of design, user experience involves all of the attitudes, emotions, and experiences a person has when interacting with a specific service. UX Design is the process of using design to improve the communication between a user and a product, to enhance customer satisfaction.

8. VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A VPN or virtual private network is a service which protects your internet connection and defends your identity online. A VPN basically creates an encrypted tunnel for your data and activity when you’re on the internet, so other people, including your internet service provider, can’t see what you’re doing online, or store information about you. 

9. PPC (Pay Per Click)

A form of digital marketing, “PPC” is the most common form of paid advertising used to improve your presence on the search engines. The term refers to how you pay for the attention you get, as you’re charged a fee for everyone who “clicks” on one of your ads. You can also run PPC campaigns on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

10. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

This has become an increasingly important term for companies to understand in recent years. The term GDPR refers to a set of rules that harmonize data and privacy protection laws for individuals across all 28 European Union member states, as well as Iceland, Norway, and Lichtenstein. GDPR can also apply to UK customers.

11. BI (Business Intelligence)

Business Intelligence is a term used to refer to all tools, best practices, infrastructure, and applications which allow companies to collect and analyse information about their company. Business Intelligence focuses on utilizing data to help companies make better decisions based on facts.

12. PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

A common term for anyone involved in the ecommerce industry, PPI DSS are standards of security created to ensure all organizations responsible for accepting, processing, transmitting, and storing credit card information maintain a secure and safe environment.

13. SSO (Single Sign-On)

Ideal for people who have tons of social media accounts and other profiles on the web today, single sign-on is a service which allows users to use a single set of credentials (a username and password) to access various applications. The service authenticates the end user for all the applications they need in one go.

14. 2FA (2 Factor Authentication)

2 Factor authentication and multi-factor authentication are both aspects of the security and privacy landscape. The term refers to a verification process which requires users to submit more than one set of credentials to confirm their identity. For instance, you might need to enter a temporary code sent to your phone after giving your password for an account.

15. IoT (Internet of Things)

IoT, or the Internet of Things, is the term used to refer to the network of interconnected devices in our day-to-day lives, capable of connecting through the internet. For instance, your smart speaker and smartphone are both components of the IoT space.

16. NLP (Natural Language Processing)

A component of artificial intelligence, natural language processing is the technology which allows machines to understand human language. Natural language processing, and natural language understanding (NLU) are often used in systems required to understand human commands, like Alexa, or Siri, as well as systems responsible for reading text.

17. XR (Extended Reality)

This is a term that’s been gaining a lot of attention in recent years. Extended Reality, or “XR” refers to all forms of immersive technology in the digital landscape, including virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.

18. SaaS (Software as a Service)

Another extremely popular term in an ever-evolving world of digital transformation, Software as a Service refers to cloud-based programs which allow users to access software housed on a service. This means you can access as much of the software as you need, when you need it, without having to install anything on a device.

19. API (Application Programming Interfaces)

An API is a protocol programmers and coders can use when writing code to help various systems communicate with each other. For instance, if you were building a website, you could use an API to add an Instagram feed to your homepage.

20. Metadata

Metadata is just data about other data. For instance, image file metadata would include information about the picture’s resolution, file size, and even the creation date. Some forms of metadata are automatically established with the creation of a file, while others are created by a user.

And there you have it! 20 terms to make you more confident about your tech knowledge!

Posted by
Dharmesh Donda

iStaunch is written by Dharmesh Donda, an avid Internet geek, IT professional since 2012. Have been in IT industry for more than a decade, and currently doing management and consulting work have taken a plunge into entrepreneurship.

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