The Techtionary: Tech Terms You Need to Know from A – Z

As the tech industry rapidly evolves, it’s essential that you stay up to date on the latest terms and trending topics. Whether you’re just entering the tech field (Welcome!), in the early stages of your startup, or you just want to better understand the terminology, we got you! 

We were once where you are now – feeling behind the learning curve of the tech scene – and did not have the benefit of a familiar community that we could tap into for answers. That’s exactly why six years ago, we set out on this journey to build a community of Black women tech founders. Yes, six years! Throughout that time we were able to build our vocabulary and created this techtionary for you to bookmark as a reference.

We are here as a guide to help you gain the fundamentals needed for that new position you’re about to embark on. Whether you’re scaling your business or in your first tech role, these are the terms you’ll need to know! Our Techtionary will support you on your new journey. 

Let’s get started!

A

A/B testing 

The practice of creating variations of your CTA (Call-to-Action) or copy to determine how your audience responds to what’s being shared by or about your company, (ie, simulating which version will perform better). 

Accelerator

A program providing mentorship, capital, and connections to businesses and investor partners. 

Acqui-hire

A company being bought out primarily for the skills and expertise of the staff. 

Agile manifesto

A document used to identify the four key values and 12 principles to allow software developers to work efficiently. 

Agile mindset

The mental habit of responding to changes in uncertain and turbulent environments. 

Angel Investor

An individual investor, family member, or friend who invests monetarily in exchange for ownership equity in the company. 

Artificial intelligence – AI

A simulation of human intelligence processed by computer or robot, such as translation between languages, decision-making, etc. 

Articles of organization

An official public document that outlines the basic details required by state/local government agencies to form your limited liability company (LLC). (mosourcelink.com)

Association

A cognitive skill that teaches creative people how to make connections across seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas. 

Average over value – AOV

This metric measures the average total of every order placed over a defined period of time. 

Average revenue per user – ARPU

Sometimes referred to as average revenue per unit, this is a measure used primarily by consumer communications, digital media, and networking companies, defined as the total revenue divided by the number of subscribers. 

Augmented reality – AR

A technologically-enhanced version of the physical world using sound, digital and visual elements, and other sensory stimuli. 

B

Back end

A website, application, or software that users don’t use, see or interact with. It is this part of a program’s code or computer application that allows it to operate in the desired way of the developer. 

Big data

A collection of data in a huge volume. It also refers to the exponential growth and accessibility of information. 

Bitcoin

A digital currency that operates on a decentralized network.

Blockchain

A system in which a record of transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are maintained across several computers that are linked on a peer-to-peer network. Put simply, the blockchain makes it difficult to cheat the system, hack or change. 

Bootstrapping

A business not depending on traditional finance methods such as investors, crowdfunding, and/or bank loans. Instead, they operate solely on self-invested capital. 

Bridge loan

A short term loan used to bridge the gap between a person or company securing permanent financing and removing an existing obligation. 

Build, Measure, and Learn – BML

A process of building a product, measuring consumer metrics, and learning from them to better respond to customer needs and improve the product for the ultimate sustainability of the company. 

Burn rate

This measurement is the pace at which your company runs through its startup capital, ahead of or before generating positive cash flow – typically calculated per month. 

Buyout

A transaction in which investors purchase all shares or interest of your company. 

Beta release 

A pre-release of software to test, under real conditions, how a large group of users, respond, react to, and engage with your product/service will respond in reality. 

C

5.1 Public Cloud

Refers to the cloud services that are shared across multiple organizations. Each of these organizations can use the public cloud to store data and access them through the internet. 

5.2 Private Cloud

A cloud service that is solely dedicated to an individual organization. 

5.3 Hybrid Cloud

A combination of both private and public cloud services. It provides greater flexibility to the users. 

Cache

A collection of data in a reserved storage location that can be accessed presently or in the future. 

Cap table 

An intricate spreadsheet or table breaking down the company’s shareholders’ equity. 

Cliff 

An employee stock vesting agreement usually established one year before the stock options vest. 

Cloud

The on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user. (Wikipedia)

Cookie

Data captured from a website which is then stored within the web browser and can be retrieved at a later time. 

Create Read, Update, and Delete – CRUD

An application that uses several forms to get data in and out of a database. 

Crowdfunding

A funding project that includes raising small amounts of money via the internet from a large sum of people. 

Cryptocurrency 

Decentralized digital currency that is built using blockchain technology.

Customer Acquisition Cost – CAC 

The total cost of acquiring a new customer, essentially the amount invested into your marketing strategy divided by the number of the new customers during the allotted time given to acquire. 

Customer development 

The stage during which you discover and validate the customer most commonly achieved by interviewing them and testing hypotheses qualitatively and quantitatively. 

Customer experience management, or CXM

A system of marketing technologies and strategies focused on customer overall experience, engagement and satisfaction. 

D

Dragon 

A startup that has raised over one billion dollars in one single round of funding. Examples are Uber, Chime, Instacart, and Stripe, to name a few. 

Doing business as – (DBA) 

A business alias used to promote an image or product that doesn’t align with your official title. 

E

Entrepreneurial support organizations (ESO)

A government, education, or nonprofit agency that creates a program focused on helping to grow or start small businesses. Also, known as resource partners or service providers. 

Equity funding

Capital created through the sale of shares of the company to financially support both short and long-term goals.

Exit

A strategy created to liquidate or dispose of financial assets following an event/circumstance being met by an investor or the business owner.

F

Freemium 

A business strategy in which basic or limited products or features are offered to users for a trial period at no cost.  Once the trial ends, the customer is charged premium pricing. 

Front End

The interface that a user sees and interacts with

G

Grant

A sum of money received from an organization or government for a particular purpose, most commonly, for the purpose of research. 

I

Incubator

A collaborative program to support startup businesses in the early development stage, providing seed funding, mentoring, training, and workspace. 

Interactive design 

The creation of products or platforms designed with an intuitive screen interface for the purpose of connecting people and technology. 

Intellectual property – IP

An idea or invention protected by the use of patents, copyrights, or trademarks. Want to learn more about how to protect your trade secrets and monetize your IP? Check out our On-demand Webinar here. 

Inbound marketing 

Marketing strategy used to generate leads or pull in (inbound) your ideal customers through the use of created content such as lead magnets, and obtaining high search engine ranking. Examples include infographics, educational videos, webinars, and training.

Initial Public Offering – IPO

The process of a company’s ownership transitioning from private to public ownership, through the purchase of shares. This allows a company to raise capital from public investors. 

Internet of Things – IoT

The connection of physical products to the internet or other communication networks and devices, allows for data processing and smart interaction through sensors, software, and systems.

K

Key Performance Indicator – KPI

Metrics used to track progress, performance, and targets. This can include Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Return in Investment (ROI), and monthly or annual recurring revenue. 

L


Lean startup

A framework or business model focused on managing and building a startup by experimenting, testing, and iterating while developing products based on findings from your tests and feedback. 

M

Machine learning

An integral part of AI referring to machines using smart algorithms to learn new information and perform actions without being programmed. 

Metaverse 

A virtual world that mimics the physical within a computer-generated environment.

Minimum viable product – MVP

A product in its early stage with just enough features to attract customers. Their experience and feedback provides insight for future product development, eliminating the guesswork from product development. 

N

Natural Language Processing

Also under the AI umbrella, this computer science allows machines to understand and process human language. 

Non-fungible tokens – NFT

A digital asset that represents real-world objects (like artwork or real estate) encrypted with metadata to prevent them from being traded or exchanged for one another. 

O

Objectives and Key Results – OKRs

A goal-setting system used to establish challenging and ambitious goals, and track success with measurable results. 

Outbound marketing 

Any marketing activity in which a person, team or company proactively reaches out to their target audience (ie, through direct mail, TV, radio ads, and print), just to name a few. 

P

Pitch deck – (Deck) 

A quick presentation highlighting the key areas, such as product, market, plan, team, and traction for investors. 

Proof of concept 

The test run used to determine the viability of your idea in reality, based on evidence, (ie the product sample or prototype). 

Q

Quality Assurance – QA

The test run at different stages to ensure the developed application meets expectations and functions properly. 

R

Resource Partner 

A government, education, or nonprofit agency that creates a program focused on helping to grow or start small businesses. Also, known as entrepreneurial support organizations (ESO) or service providers. 

Retention 

The percentage of your consumers who continue to pay for your product/service over a given time period. 

Return on Investment – ROI 

A performance metric used to measure the profitability of an investment. 

Rollout 

A product release to build awareness and excitement with consumers through a strong marketing campaign. 

S

Search Engine Optimization – SEO

Strategies to improve positioning and appearance in organic search, instead of ranking at 6 on Google’s first page you can become number with the right strategy

Seed

The first round of money is raised to begin the development of your product or business, covering the cost of your proposal to investors. 

Second-stage entrepreneurship

Companies that have grown beyond the startup stage and are focused on scaling the company by investing in professional managers. 

Series A 

Following the seed stage, at this point, your company has generated revenue and demonstrated potential growth, encouraging investors to invest. 

Series B 

Considered the second round of funding, this stage is all about the growth of business and meeting those new levels of goals. 

Series C

At this stage, you are in position to scale your business and investors are willing to double their investment because of the success from the last two rounds (Series A and B). TL;DR: they see those dollar signs. 

Software as a Service – SaaS 

An acronym describing companies that deliver applications over the internet as a service, such as Google Apps, Hubspot, and Zoom. There are plenty more and you have the opportunity to create one yourself. (Check out our blog, Top 12 Tech Startups

Spoofing

A type of scam or cyberattack where an intruder disguised as a known and trusted source tries to gain unauthorized access to a user’s device or information

Stack 

A combination of technologies used to build or launch a functional application/project

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats – SWOT analysis

A framework used to create a competitive analysis of your company’s positioning to develop a strategic plan for the future

Sweat equity 

Human capital turned to financial capital through an entrepreneur’s self-funded commitment which is time, knowledge, and skills

T

Term sheet

The term sheet is a nonbinding agreement between a founder and an investor outlining the basic terms and conditions in which an investment will be made. 

Traction 

An evaluation of key metrics for predicting scalability and success, investors will use specific KPIs to review this time to evaluate an opportunity for investment. 

U

Unicorn 

A startup that has reached and exceeded a billion-dollar valuation. 

Unique selling point – (USP)

The essence of what differentiates your product or service from your competitors. 

Usability

the quality in which the user is able to access its user interface with no complications

User experience (U/X)

is the user ease of use and efficiency of a product, service, or system

User interface 

The design of an application that provides the experience helping to solve the user’s problem or accomplish their goal

V

Value proposition 

An essential part of your brand communication expressing what the company stands for, its motivations, and aims. 

Vesting  

The eventual allotment of shares in a company to employees or investors of a startup. Vesting schedules require stock option holders’ involvement in the startup for a predetermined period, usually 4 years, before they can claim their shares.

W

Wireframing

A blueprint is used by programmers and designers to ideate, demonstrate, and communicate the structure of a software or website being built.

Y

Yak Shaving

Programming lingo describes (smaller, seemingly insignificant) tasks that must be completed prior to advancing to the next step, in order for a project to move forward. 

Z

Zombie Startup

A seemingly promising startup that has failed to grow and gain the traction necessary to become an enterprise. 

Zone of Insolvency

The point at which a company is unable to pay its debt and creditors will not be paid. 

Congratulations, you’ve just finished reading the Talk Tech dictionary (lovingly called the Techtionary)! 

Don’t look now, but your genius is showing! What terms and definitions did we miss? 

As the ever-expanding tech world continues to progress, this glossary of tech terminology will serve as an essential educational tool. Be sure to bookmark this page as a resource and revisit it when you need a refresher. Want to continue your learning journey with Black Women Talk Tech? Sign up for our Udemy course here to boost your confidence and build your tech terms toolkit. 

Lastly, don’t miss out on the latest BWTT Happenings. Stay in the know with our bi-weekly newsletter. Signup here for all the gems and goodies we have in store for our community insiders. 

 

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