Techie Talk? Beam me up Scottie!

Techies.  They live in your IT department, often look as if they hail from a far-flung galaxy and certainly seem to speak in their own strange tongue.

It’s called ‘techie talk’ and like it or not, if you are in business, you probably need to learn some of the lingo!

In the first of our three-part thrilling journey into the weirdest words on the web, Optimise  kicks off a lowdown of tech terms from ‘spiders’ to ‘skins’ and ‘cad’ to ‘firewall’. It’s an A – Z for exploding heads!

(A – F)


Abend: Short for "Abnormal end." An abend is an unexpected or abnormal end to a process. In computer software, it typically refers to a software freeze or crash when a program unexpectedly quits. (For which you will be told to reboot by a techie).

Avatar: In the computer world, an avatar specifically refers to a character that represents an online user.  Avatars are commonly used in multiplayer gaming, online communities and web forums, and are far more attractive than the person is in real life!

AdWords: AdWords is Google’s flagship advertising product and main source of revenue. AdWords offers pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for both text and banner ads. The AdWords program includes local, national and international distribution. Google’s text advertisements are short, consisting of one title line and two content text lines. Image ads can be one of several different Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standard sizes.


Bot:  Sounds a bit cheeky, but this is software used by search engines which collects documents from the Web to build a searchable index for the search engine.

Byte:  A byte (pronounced bite) is a set of 8 bits that represent a single character in the computer's memory. Whilst bits are often used to measure data transfer speeds, bytes are used to measure file sizes, hard disk space and computer memory.


CAD: No, this isn’t James Hewitt the former ‘love rat’ who once wooed Princess Diana.
CAD stands for ‘Computer-Aided Design’,  also known by engineers and architects as the best invention of all time. Today, CAD software is used for nearly all three-dimensional designing. Designers can turn an object into an electronic representation more quickly and accurately than by diagramming it with a pencil and paper.

Cache: This term is pronounced like ‘cash’ not ‘catch’. There are many different types of caches but they all serve the same purpose. A cache stores recently used information in a place where it can be accessed extremely fast. For example, a web browser like Internet Explorer uses a cache to store the pages, images and URLs of recently visited websites on your hard drive. Web caching is the caching of web documents (e.g. HTML pages and images) in order to reduce bandwidth usage, server load and perceived lag.


Debugger: Certain errors, often called bugs, can occur in programs causing Spiderbot them not to function as the programmer expected. Sometimes these errors are easy to fix, whilst some bugs are very difficult to trace. A debugger tells the programmer what types of errors it finds and often marks the exact lines of code where the bugs are found. Debuggers also allow programmers to run a program step by step so that they can determine exactly when and why a program crashes.

DNS: Stands for ‘Domain Name System.’ The primary purpose of DNS is to keep web surfers sane. Without DNS, we would have to remember the IP address of every site we wanted to visit, instead of just the domain name. Can you imagine having to remember ‘’ instead of just ‘’?


Encryption: Is a process of transforming data or information using an algorithm which makes that data unreadable and security to transport data.  Used when credit cards are processed online for transactions.

E-commerce: (Electronic-commerce) refers to business over the Internet. Websites such as and eBay are all e-commerce sites. The terms "e-business" and "e-tailing" are often used synonymously with e-commerce. They refer to the same idea, they are just used to confuse people trying to learn computer terms.


Firewall: In the IT world, firewalls do not involve any fire or pyrotechnics, but they serve a similar purpose as fireproof walls do in real life. A computer firewall limits the data that can pass through it and protects a networked server or client machine from damage by unauthorised users.