Tech Glossary for the Nontechnical: Edition 4

Tech words to help you sound more tech-savvy

Kevin Meldau
2 min readAug 28, 2019


Photo by Lauren Peng on Unsplash

Speaking to a group of techies can be hard. It can feel as if you’ve stumbled into a conversation where everyone is speaking a dialect of Mandarin. Also, you don’t always have time to Google “CMS” or find out why our friends in Europe are getting so upset about Cookies.

Sometimes all you want is a simple explanation, not a long drawn out commentary. That’s what we’re trying to do here: a jargon-free, plain-English tech dictionary. We’ve compiled a list of terms you’ll need if you’re considering speaking to anyone that knows how to ‘computer’. There’s a lot we didn’t cover here. It’s part of a series of weekly posts that I’ll be doing to try to boost your tech vocabulary.

Web apps

Web apps are websites that look and function like an app (not simply linked pages). Examples of web apps would be Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design is the practice of designing websites so that they look good on multiple screen sizes (phones, tablets, wearable devices, etc.).

NFC (Near Field Communication)

NFC allows mobile devices to communicate using radio waves when they’re in close proximity of each other (about four inches or less). It’s used for platforms that use file sharing, data pairing, or wireless payments. Organizations can use NFC to make services interact with consumers.

Native apps

Native apps are built specifically for predetermined platforms (Android or iOS). They only run on the platforms they were built for, and are stored on the phone.

IDE (Integrated development environment)

IDE’s are pieces of software that includes tools like code editors, debuggers, and build automation tools. Examples of IDE’s include Atom, Sublime Text, Visual Studio, and VIM.

Hybrid app

Hybrid apps are pieces of software that work on different devices. They’re a hybrid combination of a native app and a web app.

Data visualization

Data visualization is the use of graphs, infographics, etc. to describe data that is being evaluated.

Data modeling

Determining what kind of data is needed and how it will be organized and structured.


Data architecture represents the way data is collected and stored. It’s the way data moves throughout the organization’s systems and applications.

Big data

Big data is a term for data that is so big it can’t be processed through traditional data processing. This data normally come from sources like mobile devices, emails, search keywords, and servers. Companies can identify consumer patterns and then use them to predict and optimize business objectives.

Watch this space for my weekly list of ‘words to know’ in tech!



Kevin Meldau

Cherish life's extraordinary moments, one story at a time.