Learn The Lingo: Understanding The Jargon In Software Development

A summary of the top ten words you might want to know when working with a developer


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Are you struggling to muddle through the tech jargon when it comes to software development?

There are a lot of very specific terms that get thrown around in this industry which means that, if you don’t already work in tech, it’s not hard to be left a little confused.

After all, technology isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so we won’t blame you if you’d rather leave it to the pros – but if you can muddle through at least some of the jargon, you’ll have a better chance of knowing which developer is right for you.

That’s why we’re here to help.

We’ve pulled together some of the top lingo you should know when it comes to software development (even if someone else is doing the hard work for you).

Top 10 Tech Terms To know

1. Back End

When developers refer to your software’s ‘back end,’ they’re talking about all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes to keep the system running, such as coding and the majority of the business logic. If you run a website, you may be able to add blogs and make edits via the back end, while your customers only see the finished result on the front end. Another way to look at it is that the back end code tends to be server side code which runs in the cloud, instead of in the browser like the front end code.

2. CMS

This term refers to content management systems. It’s the part of your software that allows you to create, edit and maintain the content that appears at the front end, and is usually designed in a way that makes it easy for non-developers to use and access.

3. Custom Build

A custom build is something that has been developed specifically to meet your requirements as a business. You may come across this when deciding whether to opt for ‘off the shelf’ software or bespoke software for your business – and you can read more about the differences here.

4. Framework

The framework is the platform from which we develop the software in the first place. Essentially, it’s the foundation which is used to build programmes for the specific piece of software and may already include code libraries (or other programmes) to be used in the development process.

5. Front End

‘Front end’ development refers to the part of the software that the customer or user actually sees. This is essentially what the software looks like and focuses on how user experience is optimised to help them navigate the software effectively. This includes things like the HTML/CSS and client side JavaScript of the site, and runs within the browser. It’s possible to have a website without any backend code, but without any frontend code. 

6. LMS

If you’re in the learning and development industry, you might see the acronym for learning management systems (LMS) appear quite frequently. This is the software that allows you to host courses and keep track of learner progress.

7. Plug In

A ‘plugin’ is a module, or even piece of software in itself, that can be added into a system for added functionality purposes. They can be added to create new features, even from a third-party developer, and are easily incorporated into existing software.

8. Wireframe

You may hear the word ‘wireframe’ close to the beginning of your software project. It refers to the plan for how the software should be structured, right at the bare bones. For a website, this could be in the form of a blueprint, which demonstrates how the site would be laid out, where content would go and any navigational systems which may need to be included.


You might see this acronym around when looking at options for your CMS, and it stands for ‘what you see is what you get’. This is a specific type of CMS that allows you to modify content on your site without needing to know HTML. For example, want some words in italics? Just highlight it and click the ‘italics’ button – that’s WYSIWG in a nutshell.

10. UX

When we talk about ‘UX’, we’re talking about the overall user experience while navigating, interacting and using the application or site. For example, if you’re running a learning management system, bad user experience may be that information is hidden away on the page, or an action leads to an unexpected result or that the user interface (UI) looks cluttered and overwhelming.

Want to find out more?

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding tech jargon, but we hope it helps get you started. If you’re still a little confused or need to myth-bust some more words (or even have a project in mind), don’t hesitate to get in touch with the BuildEmpire team right here.