Demystifying Tech Terms: A Guide for HR Leaders and Tech Recruiters

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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Head of People
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Technical jargon often complicates the tech hiring process for HR leaders. Sufficient knowledge of industry-relevant tech terms can help HR and tech recruiters hire suitable candidates and strengthen their recruitment strategies.
Published on
June 5, 2024
Updated on
June 5, 2024

When hiring tech talent, HR leaders and tech recruiters must be familiar with common tech jargon to increase hiring accuracy and efficiency and communicate roles and responsibilities to potential candidates more effectively.

Often, HR teams are responsible for posting job descriptions that accurately reflect a particular role's technical requirements. Understanding tech terms is crucial to avoid missing key skills or qualifications when creating these postings. For example, simply writing ''proficiency in programming languages'' instead of specifying the required languages such as Java, Python, or C++ could lead to receiving an overwhelming number of unqualified applications, wasting time and resources.

HR teams are also often the first line of contact for candidates and are responsible for identifying potential recruits for tech leaders; if they lack familiarity with tech terminology, they may inaccurately identify skilled candidates, leading to a mismatch in job requirements and candidate expectations.

Misinterpretation or misunderstanding of skills listed on resumes can result in hiring the wrong candidate, technical interviews can go awry, and assessing a candidate's proficiency without knowledge of tech jargon can be challenging.

While it's hard to provide an extensive and all-encompassing list of tech terms applicable to all possible tech positions in today's business landscape, the guide below covers the most common and relevant tech words that HR teams and tech recruiters may encounter during the hiring process.

Software Development Tech Terms To Know

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that software developers comprise the largest component of computer and mathematical occupations. The job outlook for software developers is also quite positive, indicating an increase of 25% between 2022 and 2032.

Employing software developers will continue to be driven by emerging technologies and the ongoing need for businesses to innovate and improve their digital presence. A tech recruiter or HR professional should know the terminology when sourcing and recruiting for technical roles.

For example, front-end developers should be proficient in HTML and CSS. They should also have experience working with APIs and SaaS platforms. Similarly, a potential project manager for a software development team should be familiar with terms like Agile methodology, DevOps, and source code management.

The following terms should be included in job postings to attract candidates who are familiar with modern software development practices and tools.

  • Back-end: The back-end of a software application is its server side. It includes databases, servers, and applications that run on the server and are responsible for processing and storing data.
  • Front-end: The front-end of a software application is also called the client side. It includes everything users see and interact with, such as buttons, menus, forms, text fields, etc.
  • Front-end framework: Front-end frameworks are pre-written collections of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code that help developers create a user-friendly front-end for their web applications.
  • User interface: A software's user interface (UI) is the visual part that allows users to interact with it. It includes buttons, menus, and screens that users see and use.
  • DevOps: DevOps is a merger of software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It is an approach that aims to improve collaboration and integration between development and IT teams.
  • User experience: The user experience (UX) is the experience of a user interacting with a software application. Factors like usability, accessibility, user satisfaction, and design contribute to the user experience.
  • Agile: Agile is a methodology in project management that advocates for ongoing enhancement and flexibility to accommodate evolving requirements during the software development lifecycle.
  • SaaS: Software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution approach where applications are hosted on the cloud. The service provider manages all aspects of the software, including maintenance and security.
  • API: An application programming interface (API) comprises protocols and tools that facilitate communication between software programs. API integration is essential for building modern, interconnected software systems.
  • Sandbox: A sandbox is a secure and isolated testing environment for developers to test their code without affecting the production environment. It facilitates experimentation and debugging before releasing the code to users.
  • Source code: Source code consists of the instructions that tell a computer what to do. It is the underlying code of a software application and is usually written in a programming language like Java, C++, Python, or JavaScript.
  • HTML: HTML is the standard markup language for creating web pages and applications. It provides the structure and content of a webpage, while CSS (cascading style sheets) controls its visual appearance.
  • End user: The end user is the customer or client who actually uses a software application.

IT Tech Terms To Know

Information Technology (IT) encompasses all the technologies and systems used to create, store, manage, and share information.

The IT team supports end users (the employees) with common issues like Wi-Fi connectivity, email access, troubleshooting hardware or software problems, and more. Recruiters should focus on terms like operating system, computer program, computer network, and web server for IT positions. The other terms are relatively more straightforward.

For an OS or computer program development role, candidates should have experience in programming languages such as C++ and Python. The job posting should also mention requirements like knowledge of various operating systems (Windows, Linux, MacOS), debugging skills, and familiarity with software development tools like Git or Visual Studio.

Some examples of IT technical jargon to be aware of when hiring IT specialists include:

  • Operating system: The operating system (OS) is the software that manages a computer's hardware and software resources. It offers an interface for users to interact with their devices and run applications.
  • Computer program: Anything that runs on a computer is considered a computer program. It can be as simple as a calculator application or as complex as an AI algorithm.
  • Hard drive: A hard drive is a physical storage device that stores digital information. It can be internal or external and comes in different sizes, typically measured in gigabytes (GB).
  • Local area network: The local area network (LAN) comprises a group of interconnected devices within a limited geographical area, such as an office or building. It allows for the sharing of resources and data between devices.
  • Computer network: A computer network forms when multiple computers and devices are connected. Devices other than computers may be printers or servers.
  • Web server: A web server is a computer hardware or software that hosts websites and web applications, providing them to end users over the internet.
  • IP address: Each device linked to a network has an internet protocol (IP) address, acting as its distinct identifier. This address facilitates routing data packets to the appropriate destination within a network.
  • Bandwidth: The maximum data transfer rate across a network is bandwidth. It is measured in bits per second (bps). The higher the bps, the more data can be transmitted in a given time through the network.
  • Router: A router is a networking device that connects multiple networks and acts as a traffic controller for data on a network.

Cybersecurity Tech Terms To Know

Cybersecurity in development protects computer systems and networks from cyber attacks, unauthorized access, and data breaches. According to Statista, the cybersecurity market revenue is expected to reach $538.3 billion by 2030.

There's a high demand for cybersecurity specialists in an increasingly tech-driven space. HR teams must familiarize themselves with standard cybersecurity terms to find the right fit for their organizations.

Tech terms like DDoS, anti-virus, phishing, malware, and firewall should come up in interviews. For example, interviewers can ask candidates if they have experience with common firewalls like Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) or Check Point, or how they've managed a phishing or ransomware attack.

Here are some terms to know when hiring cybersecurity experts:

  • Firewall: Firewalls are network security mechanisms to regulate both inbound and outbound network traffic. Firewalls serve as a protective barrier separating secure internal networks from potentially risky external networks, like the Internet.
  • Malware: Malware, short for malicious software, refers to any intentionally crafted software that harms computers, servers, clients, or computer networks. Some examples of malware are worms, viruses, Trojan Horses, ransomware, spyware, and adware.
  • Two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an access management security process that requires two forms of identification to log into an account. Of the two forms, one is known (e.g., a password), while the other is a code sent to a device the user has (e.g., a smartphone).
  • Phishing: It is an attempt by a malicious actor to obtain sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or personal data. These attacks direct users to enter details at fake, malicious websites that appear legitimate.
  • Anti-virus: An anti-virus program detects and removes computer viruses, malware, and other malicious software. It runs in the background while a user is working on their device.
  • DDoS: A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious effort to cause disarray in the regular traffic flow to a specific network or server by inundating it with excessive internet traffic.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware refers to the act of a malicious actor encrypting a victim's data and demanding payment in exchange for the decryption key.
  • Encryption: Encryption is the procedure of encoding information that restricts access solely to authorized parties, thereby safeguarding the confidentiality and integrity of data.
  • VPN: A Virtual private network (VPN) establishes a secure and encrypted link between two networks via an internet connection, enabling users to transmit and receive data across shared or public networks.

Artificial Intelligence Tech Terms To Know

McKinsey forecasts new and emerging technology will create 20 million to 50 million jobs worldwide by 2030. AI is one of these technologies. Similarly, the World Economic Forum also reports that AI will create new fields of work.  Tech recruiters must be familiar with examples of technical jargon in the AI sphere to up their hiring game.

Common terms like generative AI, large language model, deep learning, algorithm, machine learning, and chatbot must be a part of job descriptions. For example, a job listing for a data scientist should mention that the ideal candidate must have experience with large language models and deep learning algorithms.

In technical interviews, knowledge of these terms helps to craft relevant questions. For example, interviewers can ask the candidate to explain how they have used generative AI in their previous projects and what challenges they faced while training a deep learning model. Questions about the most common algorithms used in machine learning and their applications are also relevant.

Understanding these terms helps leaders communicate with AI teams. They may need a Natural Language Processing expert to help improve the customer support chatbot's responses. Knowledge of tech terms will help produce a clear and concise job description based on the AI team's insights.

The following technology terms are essential ones recruiters should know when hiring AI professionals.

  • Artificial intelligence: AI is the field and advancement of computer systems capable of executing tasks typically necessitating human intelligence, including visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation.
  • Machine learning: Machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, encompasses the ability of a machine to mimic intelligent human behavior. Artificial intelligence systems are employed to execute intricate tasks in a manner akin to human problem-solving methods.
  • Algorithms: An algorithm is a set of rules a computer follows to solve a problem. AI uses algorithms to perform specific tasks, such as recognizing patterns in data.
  • Deep learning: Deep learning is a type of machine learning that relies on artificial neural networks, employing multiple layers of processing to extract increasingly sophisticated features from data.
  • Neural networks: Neural networks are algorithms inspired by the human brain that process and analyze large data sets to learn patterns.
  • Natural language processing: This branch of machine learning enables computers to interpret and understand human language.
  • Large language model: A large language model is an AI system that can process large amounts of text and generate human-like language.
  • Chatbot: A chatbot is an AI-powered computer program that mimics human conversation. It usually provides users with information or services.
  • Generative AI: A type of AI that uses machine learning to generate new content or data; the output is not based on existing data but on the machine's interpretation of patterns and rules. Generative AI models can create images, videos, music, and text.

Cloud Computing Tech Terms To Know

Over 60% of corporate data is in the cloud, so it's not surprising that businesses need to hire cloud specialists.

Since most organizational data is in the cloud, professionals are needed to manage and secure this repository. An example of technical jargon related to cloud computing is SaaS.

Similarly, candidates for cloud-related roles should be familiar with terms like hybrid cloud, big data, public cloud, and private cloud. They should also be proficient in the IaaS or the PaaS a company uses. Recruiters and HR professionals need to understand what these terms mean and how they apply to the specific needs of a business.

Here are terms that HR leaders should know to understand the cloud a bit better:

  • Cloud computing: Cloud computing delivers computing services, such as storage, servers, databases, software, and more over the internet.
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): This type of cloud computing offers virtualized computing resources over the internet. A service provider hosts the infrastructure while users can access and manage it remotely. Some examples of IaaS are Google Compute Engine (GCE), Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
  • Platform as a service (PaaS): In a PaaS model, a cloud provider offers a platform for users to develop, manage, and deploy applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. Some examples of PaaS are Heroku, Google App Engine, IBM Cloud, and AWS Lambda.
  • Big data: Big data refers to a large volume of structured, semi-structured, or unstructured data. The cloud is the storage solution of choice for big data as it is scalable and cost-effective.
  • Elasticity: This is the ability of a system or infrastructure to automatically scale up or down depending on demand.
  • Public cloud: A public cloud is a type of cloud computing where resources are shared among multiple users. Public cloud services are usually accessible over the internet.
  • Private cloud: A single-tenant environment in which a single organization uses the cloud infrastructure is called a private cloud. It offers more control and security over assets.
  • Hybrid cloud: A hybrid cloud combines both public and private clouds.
  • Blockchain cloud computing: Integrating blockchain technology with cloud computing has given rise to a new concept called blockchain cloud computing. It merges the blockchain's security and decentralized storage with the cloud's scalability and flexibility.

Blockchain Technology Terms To Know

The blockchain gained popularity with Bitcoin. Since then, it has evolved and is used in various industries.

HR leaders hiring blockchain specialists should know some basic terms for blockchain technology. For example, hiring a DAPP specialist requires understanding what a DAPP is. A job description for such a post must use tech words like cryptocurrency, decentralization, smart contracts, cryptography, and consensus.

When hiring in finance, knowledge of fintech and related terms like smart contracts, decentralization, consensus mechanisms, and distributed ledger technology is crucial.

Here are some additional blockchain technology terms to familiarize yourself with:

  • Decentralization: The process of distributing power or control from a central authority to individual nodes in a network. In blockchain, this refers to removing intermediaries like banks and other financial institutions.
  • Address: It is the alphanumeric string used to send and receive cryptocurrencies. It is also known as a public key.
  • DAPP: A decentralized application, commonly referred to as DAPP, is an application that runs on a decentralized peer-to-peer network.
  • Smart contract: An automated digital agreement that self-executes and contains the terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties involved. It is coded into the blockchain and automatically executes when certain conditions are met.
  • DeFi: DeFi stands for decentralized finance. It is a category of financial services and applications built on blockchain networks that operate without traditional financial intermediaries like banks.
  • Consensus mechanism: The method used to reach an agreement in a decentralized network that ensures that all nodes have the exact copies of the blockchain. The most common consensus mechanisms are proof of work (PoW) and proof of stake (PoS).
  • Cryptography: Cryptology, or cryptography, is the study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties. In blockchain, cryptography is used to secure transactions and protect users' privacy.
  • Distributed ledger: The decentralized database that records all transactions on a blockchain network is the distributed ledger. It is maintained and updated by multiple nodes in the network, making it immutable and secure.

Web Development Tech Terms To Know

There are over 1.13 billion websites in the world. Why? A website is any organization's digital storefront.

Businesses hire professional web developers to make their websites user-friendly and visually appealing. When seeking these experts, tech recruiters should understand terminology like front-end, back-end, full-stack development, mobile SEO, and programming language experience.

Candidates should be familiar with common programming languages like HTML, CSS, and  JavaScript and frameworks like React and Node.js. These terms should be used when writing job descriptions and filtering through resumes.

Hiring for SEO requires familiarity with SEO, HTML, mobile SEO, cookies, and responsive design. Interviewers must ask candidates about their SEO skills or experience creating search engine-friendly websites.

  • Search engine: This software system crawls, indexes, and retrieves data on the internet. Google is the best-known example of a search engine.
  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means optimizing a website's content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Programming language: A set of instructions for creating websites and software. It's how developers communicate with computers.
  • Hypertext Markup Language: The Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, is the foundation of every website. A markup language structures a webpage's text, images, and other media elements.
  • Mobile SEO: Mobile SEO optimizes websites for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
  • JavaScript: JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages for making websites interactive and dynamic. It's commonly used for creating dynamic features on web pages, such as pop-ups and animations.
  • Responsive design: A website is said to have a responsive design when it can adapt and adjust its layout to the device the user uses to view it.  
  • Cookies: These are the small text files stored on a user's computer by their web browser. Cookies allow websites to remember details about the user, such as login credentials and website preferences.

Let Revelo Handle the Tech Talk for You

Keeping up with the exhaustive list of tech terms can be overwhelming, especially as new technologies emerge. Luckily, Revelo can help.

As a dedicated talent marketplace, Revelo connects U.S. companies with pre-vetted Latin American developers who are time-zone-aligned for seamless collaboration. Our candidates are screened for soft and technical skills and English proficiency.

Our team provides negotiation support, so yours can find a great hire without curating a new dictionary of terms to do so. Revelo assists companies through recruitment, from local compliance support and payroll and benefits administration to employee onboarding and engagement.

Contact Revelo today to access our highly skilled talent pool today.  

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