How to Understand Programming Jargon for Newbies

Last Updated on May 20, 2023

Programming jargon refers to the technical terms and vocabulary used in the programming world. For newbies, the technical terms, acronyms, and abbreviations used can seem overwhelming, confusing, and like an entirely different language. However, programmers use these terms as shortcuts to communicate and describe sophisticated concepts easily.

Understanding programming jargon is essential for newbies as it helps them to communicate, collaborate, and contribute to software development effectively. A lack of knowledge of these terms can lead to misunderstandings and errors, hindering the progress and success of the project.

How to Understand Programming Jargon for Newbies

In this blog post, we will explore various aspects of programming jargon, its importance, and how newbies can learn it quickly and effortlessly. We believe that by the end of this blog, you’ll become familiar with the technical terms used and be able to navigate the programming world with ease.

Read: Coding 101: Kickstart Your Programming Journey

Start With The Basics

Before delving deeper into programming jargon, it’s essential to understand the basic terminology used in programming. Here are some fundamental terms newbies should learn:

  • Programming language: a set of instructions that a programmer uses to communicate with a computer to achieve specific tasks.

  • Coding: the process of writing instructions in a programming language to develop software, websites, or other applications.

  • Algorithm: a set of instructions that a program follows to complete a specific task or solve a problem.

  • Debugging: the process of finding errors or bugs in a program and fixing them.

  • Software: a program or application that performs specific tasks on a computer or other devices.

  • Hardware: the physical components of a computer or other devices, such as a keyboard, mouse, or screen.

As you delve deeper into programming, you’ll come across more specific terms, acronyms, and technical expressions. However, understanding these basic concepts is the foundation of programming jargon.

The Terminology Used in Programming

Programming jargon involves a lot of specific language that differs from everyday language. Here are some critical terms you should know:

  • API: an acronym for Application Programming Interface, which provides a set of rules and protocols that programs need to communicate with other programs or software.

  • Variable: a value that can change within a program, used to store data or values.

  • Boolean: a true/false value used in programming, often used in conditional statements.

  • Class: a blueprint used to create objects, with properties and methods that describe the object.

  • Function: a reusable set of instructions that performs a specific task.

  • Interface: a term used in software design that defines how different parts of a program should interact.

It’s essential to understand these concepts since they appear frequently in programming conversations and documents.

The Difference Between Coding and Programming

The terms ‘coding’ and ‘programming’ are often used interchangeably, but there’s a difference that newbies should understand. Coding refers explicitly to the process of writing code in a programming language. By contrast, programming is a more comprehensive term that encompasses coding, as well as other tasks, including software design, analysis, testing, and debugging.

While coding involves writing instructions that a program can understand, programming is a more critical process that creates programs that perform specific tasks and meet particular needs.

Learning programming jargon is essential for effective communication and collaboration in the tech industry. As a newbie in programming, you should start with the basics and understand fundamental programming terms such as programming language, coding, algorithm, debugging, software, and hardware.

Additionally, you need to learn specific technical expressions that are used in programming, such as API, variable, Boolean, class, function, and interface. Finally, it’s critical to understand the difference between coding and programming, to know the roles they play in developing software and applications. By following these guidelines, newbies can navigate programming jargon with confidence.

Read: Coding Bootcamps: Are They Worth It?

Know the Different Programming Languages

Programming languages are integral to programming and understanding them gives you an edge in programming. Below are some of the most commonly used programming languages:

  1. Python: a popular language for beginners due to its readability and simplicity.

  2. Java: used in many large-scale applications and is known for its stability and security.

  3. C++: used for system software, game development, and other high-performance applications.

  4. JavaScript: the language for web development, used to bring interactivity to websites.

  5. Swift: developed by Apple for iOS/macOS app development.

The differences between programming languages:

  • The syntax of each language is specific and unique and can vary in how they are written and organized;

  • Different languages are suited for different tasks;

  • Some programming languages are object-oriented while others are procedural.

Knowing when to use certain programming languages:

  • Python: good for data analysis, automation, and scripting, and back-end web development;

  • Java: good for desktop applications, big data, and enterprise software development;

  • C++: good for high-performance applications, gaming, and low-level engineering software;

  • JavaScript: good for front-end web development, building web apps;

  • Swift: good for iOS/macOS app development.

It’s important to note that these are just guidelines and not rules. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing programming languages. What matters most is the specific needs of your project, the size of your team, and the experience and preferences of your developers.

Read: 7 Tech Jobs That Do Not Require Coding Skills

Understanding Software Development Methodologies

Software development methodologies refer to the approaches used in building and managing software projects. Different methodologies exist, and each has its unique benefits and impact on programming jargon. Here’s a breakdown of some of these methodologies:

Agile Methodology

  • Agile is an iterative and incremental approach that focuses on collaboration, adaptability, and customer satisfaction.

  • It encourages continuous delivery of functional software in short sprints, allowing for constant feedback and improvement.

  • The agile methodology emphasizes the importance of individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

  • As a result, programmers using Agile often have a strong focus on teamwork and customer engagement.

  • Programming jargon used in Agile is often centered on user stories, sprints, and backlogs.

Waterfall Methodology

  • Waterfall is a linear approach that emphasizes a predetermined plan and sequence of events in software development.

  • It involves breaking down the project into distinct phases, each with its own set of deliverables and milestones.

  • The waterfall model is often preferred for larger projects, as it allows for better predictability and planning.

  • Programming jargon used in the waterfall model is often related to processes such as design, implementation, and testing.

Scrum Methodology

  • Scrum is an Agile framework that emphasizes teamwork, collaboration, and incremental progress.

  • It involves breaking down the project into short sprints, usually two or three weeks long.

  • Scrum methodology is highly effective in managing complex and rapidly changing software projects.

  • Programming jargon used in Scrum includes terms such as scrum master, product backlog, and sprint retrospective.

DevOps Methodology

  • DevOps is a software development approach that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of developers and operations staff.

  • It is aimed at improving the quality and speed of software delivery by automating processes and reducing the development lifecycle.

  • Programming jargon used in DevOps includes terms such as continuous integration, continuous deployment, and infrastructure as code.

The benefits of using each methodology are numerous. Agile, for instance, allows software development teams to quickly adapt to changes in project requirements, resulting in a more flexible and efficient development process. Waterfall, on the other hand, provides a more structured approach that is ideal for large-scale projects that require extensive planning and organization. Scrum is perfect for teams operating in fast-paced environments that require constant feedback and adaptation, while DevOps focuses on faster and more efficient delivery of software products.

Associated Programming Jargon

The use of specific programming jargon varies with each methodology. For instance, if you’re working within an Agile environment, you’re likely to encounter terms like user stories, burndown charts, and sprints. If you’re working within a Scrum framework, you may encounter terms such as stand-up meetings, sprint burn-down, and product backlog. Waterfall jargon, on the other hand, may revolve around design specifications, testing plans, and documentation requirements. DevOps programming jargon often includes terms related to automation, testing, and deployment.

Understanding software development methodologies is essential for any newbie starting in programming. Choosing the right methodology can make a significant difference in the ultimate success of your software project. Additionally, the specific programming jargon you encounter will also be heavily influenced by the methodology you choose to work with.

Basically, software development methodologies provide a structured approach to software development. By understanding the benefits of different methodologies, developers can choose the right approach for their projects. Familiarizing yourself with the programming jargon associated with different methodologies can also help you communicate more effectively with teammates, customers, and stakeholders.

Read: How To Get Started With Coding and Programming: A Beginner’s Guide

How to Understand Programming Jargon for Newbies

Familiarize Yourself With Programming Tools

Programming jargon can sometimes be overwhelming for beginners in the field. However, understanding these technical terms can improve your coding skills and help you communicate more effectively with other developers. One way to start is by familiarizing yourself with commonly used programming tools. Here are some of them:

1. Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)

IDEs are software applications that provide a comprehensive environment for developing and testing code. They typically feature a code editor, debugger, and compiler, among other tools. Some popular IDEs are Eclipse, Visual Studio, and IntelliJ IDEA.

2. Text Editors

Text editors are simpler tools than IDEs, but they’re still essential for programming. They allow you to write, edit, and save code files. Some popular text editors include Sublime Text, Atom, and Notepad++.

3. Version Control Systems (VCS)

VCS allows developers to track changes to code over time, collaborate on the same project, and revert to previous versions if something breaks. Git is the most popular VCS, with Github being the most famous Git hosting service.

4. Package Managers

Package managers help you manage project dependencies by automatically installing and updating them. They can save you time and reduce errors. Some popular package managers include npm for Node.js, pip for Python, and Composer for PHP.

5. Command-line Interface (CLI)

The CLI is a text-based interface that allows you to interact with your computer’s operating system and run commands. Programming often requires the use of the CLI to move files, launch applications, and execute scripts.

Now that you know some commonly used programming tools, here’s how to use them:

  1. Install your preferred IDE or text editor on your computer. They are usually available for free, and you can download them from their respective websites.

  2. Version control systems like Git can be a little more involved, but there are many online tutorials available to help you learn how to use them.

  3. Use package managers like npm and pip to install and update dependencies automatically. Simply type the appropriate command into your CLI.

  4. Speaking of the CLI, it’s essential to learn the basics of command-line navigation and commands. Start by learning common commands like cd, ls, mkdir, and rm.

  5. Finally, keep in mind that every tool has a specific use case. Don’t try to use an IDE for tasks better handled by a text editor, and vice versa. Take some time to explore the options available to you, and choose the tool that best suits your needs and that you feel most comfortable working with.

Programming tools are essential for coding and programming. Familiarizing yourself with these tools is not only beneficial but also helps establish fluency in the language of computer programmers. With practice, you can master these tools and start using them to enhance your coding capabilities.

Read: The Art of Problem Solving through Programming

Learn From Online Resources

If you are new to programming, you may have noticed that developers usually communicate in a language that seems to be incomprehensible to outsiders. Programming jargon is like a foreign language, and like any language, the only way to master it is through practice, reading, and listening. Fortunately, there are numerous online resources available to help newbies understand this language.

Explanation of Online Resources Available for Newbies

Using online resources is an effective and efficient way to learn programming jargon. Whether you want to learn about a specific programming term or just need a refresher on the basics, there are many resources available. Some of the online resources available for newbies include:

  • Forums and discussion boards: these are excellent resources where you can ask questions, learn about the latest trends and developments, and connect with other developers.

  • Tutorials: online tutorials are an excellent way to learn programming jargon and other programming concepts. Many of these tutorials include videos that provide step-by-step instructions.

  • Online courses: there are many free and paid courses available online that are tailored to specific programming languages. These courses are created by experts and provide structured and in-depth training.

  • Code repositories: online code repositories like GitHub are an excellent resource for newbies to practice coding and learn from other developers. These platforms also provide a collaborative learning environment where you can contribute to open-source projects and get feedback from other developers.

The Benefits of Using Online Resources

Learning programming jargon through online resources offers many benefits, including:

  • Cost-effective: most online resources are free and open to everyone, which makes them an affordable option for newbies who are just getting started in programming.

  • Convenience: online resources are available 24/7, so you can learn at your own pace and on your own schedule.

  • Structured learning: many online tutorials and courses provide a structured learning path, which makes it easier for newbies to learn programming jargon and other concepts in a logical order.

  • Interactive learning: online forums and discussion boards provide an interactive learning environment where you can ask questions, get feedback and collaborate with other developers.

  • Practice: online code repositories provide a platform for newbies to practice coding and receive feedback from other developers. This helps newbies to apply what they have learned and gain real-world coding experience.

Which Resources are Recommended for Beginners

With so many online resources available, it can be overwhelming for newbies to decide which ones to use. Here are some recommendations for online resources that are ideal for beginners:

  • LearnCode by Nicholas Idoko: This platform offers 250 lectures on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL, Apache Cordova, NodeWebkit, etc. At 1 lecture per day with an assignment for each lecture and the ability to ask questions directly to the instructor.

  • Codecademy: This platform offers interactive tutorials on various programming languages, including Python, JavaScript, Ruby, and more. It provides a structured learning path and offers a free trial period.

  • Udemy: This platform offers both paid and free courses on various programming languages. The courses are created by experts in the field and include video tutorials and quizzes.

  • GitHub: This platform is excellent for practicing coding, collaborating with other developers, and contributing to open-source projects. It offers free and paid plans.

  • Stack Overflow: This platform provides a huge database of programming questions and answers. It is an excellent resource for getting answers to specific programming-related questions.

  • Reddit: this platform has numerous programming-related subreddits, including /r/learnprogramming, /r/programming, and more. These subreddits provide a community of developers who are willing to help newbies with their programming-related questions.

In fact, programming jargon can be overwhelming for newbies, but with the many online resources available, it can be learned quickly and efficiently. Whether you choose to use online forums, tutorials, online courses, code repositories, or Q&A platforms like Stack Overflow, you can acquire the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to become a proficient programmer. Remember to practice, ask questions, and collaborate with other developers, and with time, you will master programming jargon and become an expert in your chosen programming language.

Read: Hiring a Web Developer vs Using a DIY Website Builder


Understanding programming jargon is crucial for beginners to communicate effectively in the industry. By continuously learning and exploring, one can expand their knowledge and gain confidence in working with different programming languages and concepts.

The importance of learning programming jargon cannot be overstated. Newcomers to the field may feel intimidated by the overwhelming amount of terminology they must familiarize themselves with. However, with time and consistent effort, these terms will become second nature.

Although it may seem daunting at first, it is important for newbies to keep exploring and learning. The benefits of being able to communicate and work effectively with other programmers cannot be overstated.

As with any language, the more one practices, the better they become. By devoting time and effort into learning new programming concepts and jargon, beginners will be able to confidently navigate the world of coding and contribute to the industry.

Read: Is a Software Developer the Same as a Web Developer?

Before You Go…

Hey, thank you for reading this blog to the end. I hope it was helpful. Let me tell you a little bit about Nicholas Idoko Technologies. We help businesses and companies build an online presence by developing web, mobile, desktop, and blockchain applications.

We also help aspiring software developers and programmers learn the skills they need to have a successful career. Take your first step to becoming a programming boss by joining our Learn To Code academy today!

Be sure to contact us if you need more information or have any questions! We are readily available.


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