The Tech Glossary

Ten definitions to help you understand the digital world


The Digital World has thousands of opportunities to learn and develop but as it moves quickly, it can be tough to keep up with all the terminology. We’ve picked out a few important terms to help you understand it a bit more.


1. Cookies

When you visit a website it sometimes offers to remember your username and password. This site is using cookies to do that. Cookies are little bits of information that a website stores to remember things about you. Your web browser then saves this data for the next time you visit the site to make your next user experience better.


2. Apps

You might have used an app if you have a tablet or smartphone. They are small but very useful software applications. Apps are used for all sorts of things from playing games to catching up on the news, learning to drive or keeping in touch with friends. They are becoming more and more important in this digital world so there will always be jobs available for app designers and developers.


3. Viral

A ‘Viral’ is any piece of content that is shared over and over again worldwide and becomes a popular talking point. So videos or memes that pop up on your social media feed, when shared hundreds of thousands of times have effectively gone viral.


4. Big Data

‘Big Data’ is large volumes of data. For example, it’s ‘Big Data’ when there’s so much data available for businesses to study that it would take too much time and cost too much to store or analyse. So companies look for new ways to look for patterns using computers and artificial intelligence programmes. Understanding and analysing Big Data will create lots of opportunities for jobs in the future.


5. The Cloud

Ever stored music or photos on The Cloud? This is online storage that can be accessed from any device with an active Internet connection. It means you can work or play “on the cloud” without having to store systems and software on your own computer.


6. SEO

Search Engine Optimisation works by pushing search results to the top of the list so websites can be easily found. There are lots of techniques involved like adding additional information to your website that people can’t see. It’s all about entering fields that search engines can read. These are known as META tags. Because everyone wants SEO working for them, there's a demand for digital marketers and web developers from companies of all sizes.


7. Open Source software

‘Open source’ projects have been coded so that they are publicly available and sometimes for free. It means users can take this code, change it, improve it and re-use it without having to pay for it.


8. Snapchat

Snapchat is an app that lets users send text, pictures and video clips to each other. The messages can be set to disappear after a set time, and will be deleted.


9. Ethical hacking

Sometimes businesses like banks hire ethical hackers to test the strength of their online security to make sure that their customers are suitably protected. They’ll hire people to deliberately crack their security systems. This can then help them find chinks in their armour and help them figure out how to fix it. It’s all done so that they are prepared for malicious attacks. Cyber security is a growing area and the skills required will definitely be in demand. 


10. Phishing

This is when someone sends you an email that looks like it is from someone you trust. They’ll try to get you to give details like passwords and account numbers. This could be in the form of a fake email from your bank, asking you to put in your PIN. This type of cyber attack can be quite convincing especially if you’re not aware of them.