Breaking the tech language code

Here at HackIT we’ve had quite a lot of new starters recently as we’ve continued to expand our capability to undertake in-house delivery of digital services.

Some of those folks come with a strong background in the kinds of technology we use. For example, our developers are all up-to-date with all the latest techniques to do with APIs, AWS, Git and SaaS services.

However, some people come from a background where the above would just be a list of meaningless acronyms. For example, some of our excellent new Delivery Managers have been a little overwhelmed of the barrage of new tech-related phrases they have been barraged with as soon as they arrived.

In order to help new HackIT members prioritise which tech things to learn about first, we did the best thing to do in such circumstances – we asked everyone! We put this spreadsheet together to start collecting technical terms people either thought were important or that they were encountering for the first time. We then ask everyone to self-assign themselves as either technical or non-technical and then rate each of the terms as “critical” (things to understand in the first 1-2 weeks), “important” ( things to understand in the first 4 weeks), “useful” (things to understand in the first couple of months) or “not useful” (nice-to-have’s). When we then totalled up the votes this is when we found.

The top 15 terms prioritised by tech-folks.

  • Front end developer
  • Back end developer
  • UX designer
  • QA engineer
  • Front-end code
  • Back-end code
  • MOSCOW
  • GDS
  • Git
  • Dev / test servers
  • Production
  • Cloud
  • UI designer
  • Github
  • Branch

The top 15 terms prioritised by non-tech-folks.

  • GDS
  • API
  • Local Gov Digital
  • Cloud
  • Server
  • AWS
  • Documentation
  • Front-end code
  • Back-end code
  • Digital Marketplace
  • SaaS
  • Github
  • MHCLG Local Digital
  • Time and materials
  • Dev / test servers

There are many more terms in the spreadsheet.

We’re not going to be providing definitions for these terms at this point. Partly because sometimes they differ between people and we don’t want to start any internal flame-wars! Really though, what we want to do is encourage lots of conversations where new starters discuss some of the topics they’re not sure about with their colleagues and hopefully pick up a lot of other concepts along the way.

We’re going to be updating this list on a regular basis and using it as part of our onboarding process for new starters so especially keen people can have a chance to start getting up to speed on things that may be brand new to them before they even start here at HackIT!

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