Tech words come up during meetings, in emails, and in conversations. They are everywhere these days. In those situations, just a short and simple explanation is all you need.

Here are 10 of the most common tech terms explained in plain English.

1. Fintech

Fintech is the combination of the words “financial” and “technology.” It is about finance and technology coming together to offer innovative solutions o businesses.

Since the internet and smartphone revolution, financial technology has grown explosively. Fintech relates to a variety of financial activities like money transfers, managing your investments, use, and development of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, etc.

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Copyright: ©Buffaloboy — stock.adobe.com

2. Big Data

Big Data refers to a huge volume of data that accumulated in a very short time. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube receive a huge volume of data on a daily basis. In a short span of time companies can boost their sales by using this information.

Oxford dictionary says Big data is “extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions”.

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Big Data Analytics Paving The Path For Businesses With More Informed Decisions by Ashish Parmar, 2019.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is the technology that mimics human intelligence. It’s the copycat of human behavior. Based on huge amounts of data, AI can learn and self-correct from experiences and adjust to new inputs. It is excellent at finding patterns in data.

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3 steps to make predictions in AI. Source: Singularity University

4. Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things means devices that are connected through the internet in a way that the devices can talk to one another. Like they can start, stop, or control each other without human interaction. A good example would be a vacuum cleaning Roomba in your home that you can control with your smartphone from your office.

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Examples of IoT. Source: Dynamiccio.com.

5. Blockchain

Blockchain is a database where it stores information in blocks then chained together. When new data is entered into a fresh block, it will be chained onto the previous block, creating a chronological order. You can't change any given block without changing all subsequent blocks. To simply put, it is an append-only ledger. This new way of network helps decentralize trade and allows for more peer-to-peer transactions like the picture shown below.

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How a blockchain works. ©European Union, 2019

6. User Experience (UX)

UX is the way a user interacts with a product. It is how a user feels when interacting with the system. UX designers study and test how users feel about a product or system. They consider everything related to user experiences. Things like the ease of use, utility, comfort, and efficiency in task performance, etc.

Don Norman on the term “UX”. Source: Nielson Norman group, 2016.

7. User Interface (UI)

UI is how a product’s design is laid out. It is more about visual elements. Like where the buttons are, how big the fonts are, and how menus are organized are all elements of UI. Remember UX is how you feel about using a product? So, for example, the new look of Instagram involves a change to UI, and the way you feel about it is the UX.

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User experience VS. user interface. Source: UI Design, Upslide.net.

8. Front-end

Frontend and backend are two of the most used terms in the tech industry. Front-End development deals with the details of your website or app that the users see and interact with. This includes images, navigation menus, buttons, etc.

9. Back-end

Back-End development deals with the side that is hidden from the users. It includes complex tasks like data saving and organizing. The backend communicates with the front-end to make sure that the web is working properly. If a user fills a form in your website, the back-end processes it and returns the relevant information that is then displayed on the screen.

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Difference between front-end and back-end.

10. A/B testing

A/B testing is a controlled experiment for comparing two versions of the design. The goal is to identify which one is more successful. It is a way of testing the designers’ hypotheses. A/B testing allows them to confirm whether the hypotheses will work out well or not. It helps you with making the right decisions.

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A/B testing. Illustration by: Philip Clark

Quick recap

  • Fintech
  • Big data
  • AI
  • IoT
  • Blockchain
  • UX
  • UI
  • Front-end
  • Back-end
  • A/B testing