March 20, 2023 21 Tech Terms You Need To Know
By Samuel Ancer
Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, and it seems like every day there is a new tech term that we need to understand. Whether you're a tech enthusiast or just trying to keep up with the latest trends, it's essential to know the key terms used in the industry. From Artificial Intelligence to Web 3.0, this article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to 21 must-know tech terms. Understanding these terms will help you navigate the rapidly changing technological landscape and stay ahead of the curve. So, let's dive in and explore the world of tech!
21 Tech Terms You Need To Know
Agile is a type of business mindset created by the developing world to shake up the existing Waterfall model. Agile was brought about because a lot of times when developers would work on a project, by the time the project was ready for final release, the market would have changed so much that their tech was not needed.
To fix this an iterative model was brought forward, focusing on being responsive and able to release products quickly so that they would still be market relevant. So Agile refers to a (relatively) new way of doing business that focuses on quick responses, quick communication and being adaptable.
API stands for Application Program Interface and is the connection between the front and back-ends of a website.
Beyond that, APIs are a way of speeding up development and reducing costs by having pre-made programs that can interact with data sources and other assets without having to know how it works.
An API is the way a computer uses a computer.
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, refers to any computer that is capable of performing a role normally demarcated for a human. So essentially any time a process is automated by a machine, that was once held by a human, that can be seen as artificial intelligence.
However, most people believe that artificial intelligence must hold a degree of complexity, and as such there are no true existing examples of artificial intelligence. But there are often quite a few examples we hold day to day, for example, an automated ride-hailing system, or an algorithm for flight planning, both of these can be seen as Artificial Intelligence.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a commercial cloud platform for the company Amazon, and one of the largest cloud platforms in the world. It offers a high amount of memory, processing power, data storage, and analytics as well as tools for developers and Internet of Things services among other needs.
The cloud computing element of Amazon has been around for 16 years and is one of the fastest-growing wings of the company, with year-on-year double-digit growth. So AWS is the cloud computing platform that is part of the Amazon company and is one of the largest and most widespread cloud computing organisations in the world.
Massive data sets that ordinary data software cannot deal with.
It is usually characterised as having greater variety, volume, and comes with greater velocity.
Examples of this are social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok and LinkedIn. Government data libraries also form examples of big data.
A blockchain is a type of database. While most databases use tables to hold and display their data, A blockchain will gather and hold information in sections, or blocks.
Each block has a specific capacity and when it is filled it is closed and linked to the block that was most recently filled. This creates a chain of blocks, hence the name blockchain.
Instead of having a singular server that holds data, a blockchain will operate across a network, with many servers doing the work of storing and recording data.
Bootstrapping in tech refers to the self-starting process whereby a system initialises itself without external input, using a minimal set of resources, code, or data. It's commonly used in software development, start-ups, and computer systems.
The cloud is different servers around the world that are connected through the internet. It's a connection of computers that can run programs, store data, and provide an ever-increasing number of services.
Popular examples of cloud services are Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, and Google Cloud. Cloud technology reduces the tech needs of users and also has the benefit of making documents and information accessible and shareable from anywhere.
Cryptocurrency or crypto is a digital currency that is encrypted using blockchain technology to keep track of transactions.
Crypto allows for the removal of central authorities using the blockchain database. Units of crypto are created through minting, which can be done either through a proof of work or proof of stake systems
Proof of work uses connected computers to perform complex mathematical equations that, when solved, release new currency. Proof of stake is a random drop based on the number of tokens owned by a party.
Criticisms of proof of work are its environmental impact due to the energy used, whereas proof of stake has been criticised as undermining the idea of decentralised currency.
Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are remotely piloted or autonomously controlled aircraft used for various applications.
They vary in size, design, and functionality, with many employed for aerial photography, surveillance, agriculture, and delivery services.
Drones have become increasingly popular due to their versatility, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness, and are utilised by hobbyists, businesses, and governmental organisations alike.
Any application that has been made obsolete or is outdated is referred to as a legacy application.
Reasons for its obsoletion can be that new software can do the same job better, that support no longer exists for the application, or that current operating systems and browsers no longer support that application.
Legacy systems may be too ingrained into a business's operations for the business to simply switch to a new application, and so many legacy applications are still in use while the business slowly transfers its operations to a new application.
Machine Learning is a subfield of Artificial Intelligence that lets computers learn without explicit programming instructions. So basically, any time a computer programme can learn without direct input from a person.
Usually, Machine Learning is done through algorithms that explore data and identify patterns. Machine Learning is used in a host of technology, from self-driving cars, to the algorithm that chooses which shows you might like to watch on Netflix.
Near Field Communication (NFC)
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a wireless communication technology that enables two devices to exchange data over short distances.
It operates at a frequency of 13.56 MHz and has a range of about 10 centimetres. NFC is primarily used for contactless payments and for sharing small amounts of data between devices, such as photos, videos, and contact information.
NFC works by sending data back and forth between two devices using electromagnetic induction. One device acts as the initiator and sends a signal to the other device, which responds with the requested information.
NFC is a secure form of communication, as it uses encryption to protect the data being transmitted. It is widely used in smartphones, payment cards, and other small devices, and is becoming increasingly popular in areas such as public transportation, access control, and healthcare.
A neural network is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) designed to recognise patterns and learn from data. It is inspired by the structure and function of the human brain and consists of layers of interconnected nodes that process and transmit information.
Neural networks can be used for a wide range of tasks, including image recognition, speech recognition, natural language processing, and predictive analytics. They are trained using large amounts of data, and the process involves adjusting the connections between the nodes to improve accuracy.
Neural networks have been successfully applied in many real-world applications, such as self-driving cars, virtual assistants, and fraud detection. They are a powerful tool for solving complex problems and are increasingly being used in a variety of industries, from healthcare and finance to marketing and manufacturing.
Non-Fungible Token (NFT)
An NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a unique digital asset that represents ownership of a piece of content, such as artwork, music, or a tweet.
It is stored on a blockchain, which provides a permanent and secure record of ownership. NFTs are bought and sold using cryptocurrency and have become increasingly popular as a way to monetise digital content.
They allow creators to sell one-of-a-kind works and collectors to own unique digital assets.
Open-source software refers to a practice of free licensed software that is usually created by a non-profit organisation. The term open source is a reference to the open source way, which is a set of principles involving transparency, collaboration, regular and early releases, community and inclusivity.
But open source is referencing any source code that is freely available to the public for modification and use. Famous examples of open-source software include Mozilla Firefox, VLC Media Player, and LibreOffice.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the practice of optimising a website or online content to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
This involves making strategic changes to the website's structure, content, and technical setup to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index.
The goal of SEO is to increase organic traffic to a website and ultimately drive more conversions and revenue.
SEO is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and optimisation to stay ahead of the competition in search rankings.
Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that is designed to maintain a stable value relative to a specific asset, such as a fiat currency or commodity.
Unlike other cryptocurrencies, which can be highly volatile, stablecoins aim to provide price stability and reduce risks associated with price fluctuations.
Stablecoins can be collateralised, meaning they are backed by reserves of a specific asset, or algorithmic, meaning their value is maintained through smart contract algorithms.
Stablecoins have gained popularity as a means of payment and as a way to store value in the cryptocurrency market. They can be used for international money transfers, online purchases, and as a store of value in countries with unstable currencies.
A tech stack is all the different components used to make an app.
These are usually separated between the front-end and the back-end.
The Internet Of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a catchall term for devices that are connected through the internet.
This includes devices that are normally associated with internet connections like your smartphone, tablet or computer.
These connections are designed to make life easier in some way, usually by automating a process or giving you remote access to something.
User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI)
User Experience and User Interface are about how you interact with software or a digital product.
The User Interface focuses on the elements that you interact with on a piece of software or digital device, this can be the screens, icons, buttons, and anything else. Common examples can be the screen for your smartphone or the layout of your favourite social media page.
The User Experience is about the overall feeling of a product or device, this can incorporate the User Interface but also includes user research, testing, and any other element that would impact the way someone uses the product.
Any form of electronics that can be worn on the body, embedded into the body, or even tattooed onto the skin.
This includes everyday items like smartwatches, but more obscure examples like air pollutant monitors that can measure the air quality that the wearer is in.
Wearables continue to grow and develop, and while mostly fringe, will most likely be part of our day-to-day lives soon.
Web 1, Web 2, Web 3
Web 1.0, also known as the static web, refers to the early days of the internet when web pages were simple, static, and one-way. It was mostly used for informational purposes, and there was no interaction between users and websites.
Web 2.0, the social web, emerged in the early 2000s and allowed for user-generated content and interaction with websites. It enabled the growth of social media, blogging, and other user-generated platforms.
Web 3.0, or the semantic web, is the current evolution of the internet. It aims to create a more intelligent web that can understand, interpret, and respond to complex human requests, by using technologies like artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and blockchain. Its goal is to create a decentralised, more secure, and intelligent web that is better equipped to serve humanity.
Keeping up with the ever-evolving world of technology can be challenging, but it's essential for anyone who wants to stay informed and succeed in the industry. These 21 tech terms provide a great starting point for understanding some of the most important concepts in technology today. By familiarising yourself with these terms and their meanings, you'll be better equipped to navigate the world of tech and stay up to date with the latest trends and innovations.