I thought I had a fairly good grip on the English language, but after a year in a tech start-up, I realised how little I knew. So, I called in the big guns, Ctrl’s developers Christo Goosen and Rudi Zeeman to give me some language lessons in tech. These are a few words I THOUGHT I knew…

Old words with new meanings

The catch is that there aren’t that many new words. It’s more a matter of old words being given new meanings. I guess it’s a nifty way of translating complex concepts with real-world concepts. But it’s also where you can be exposed as completely clueless because you will assume you know the meaning just because you know the word.

  • Scrum, for example, is a buzzword at the moment and I’m not talking about that thing rugby players do. I’m referring to a methodology that allows a team to self-organise and make changes quickly. There is even something called a scrum master who facilitates the process and flow of information.
  • Agile. Ah, yes, wouldn’t we all love to be fit and to move around quickly and easily? But Agile, or Agile Methodology, has come to mean something very specific in the world of software development. It refers to a particular style of project management. The idea behind it is to assist teams in responding to the unpredictability of constructing software. It makes use of work sequences that are commonly known as sprints (another word I thought I knew!).
  • Here’s a lekker one for the history buffs! Although Kubernetes (K8s) sounds very now, it’s really an ancient Greek word for a helmsman, captain or governor that now refers to… wait for it: “an open source system to manage Linux containers across private, public and hybrid cloud environments” I bet you didn’t know that!
  • Then there are words you didn’t realise had any other meaning than the tech meaning it has today. We all know Adobe right? The American multinational computer software company who brought us useful software such as Photoshop, Acrobat Reader and the Portable Document Format (aka PDF). But whereas the software company has only been around since 1983, the word adobe has been around for 4000 years and refers to a kind of mudbrick used to build houses in some parts of the world.
  • Of course, we can’t leave out Java. Yes, the main island of Indonesia. Yes, a cup of Java is indeed a delicious cup of coffee. And yes, it’s also one of the world’s most well-known software programming languages. But I’m sure most of you knew that!

Tech translated

So, I realised that almost every word means something completely different in the world of coding and that I will hear old words with new meanings every day! Words like brew (an app development platform, acronym for binary runtime environment for wireless), triage (how to deal with a coding incident), bugs (coding mistakes or unwanted pieces of code), container (a virtual method to package an application so it can be run, with its dependencies, isolated from other processes), cloud (virtual online computing resources), parent (original piece of coding in a hierarchy) and root, which refers to the most powerful account or directory where a file begins and not a certain part of a plant.

All that’s left to say is:

Developer: Hey, Bot, can you help me with this dev work?

Bot: Sure, I’ve got AI!

Developer: How about python?

Bot: I’m sure I can crunch it.

Developer: That’s proper sick!

Bot: Ok, so let’s hustle and churn out some binary!


Written by Retha Venter, chief storyteller at Ctrl.