A laptop halfway closed on a brown table. Coding Terms You Must Familiarize Yourself With

Coding Terms You Need to Know in 2023

Coding is an important part of the world today, and almost everything we do involves computers. While it isn’t important for everyone to know coding terms, anyone who wants to learn to code can benefit from learning more terminology. For example, according to PayScale, people with programming certificates earn an average salary of $72,000.

Tech beginners must get comfortable with basic terms along their coding journey. While you may never have to learn how to write out procedural code or a code base from scratch, there are plenty of terms that can be useful to understand. The guide below introduces you to coding terms that you must familiarize yourself with programming and coding.

What Is Coding?

Coding is the designing of instructions in a language that computer systems understand. This helps a computer carry out whatever task a human wants it to do. Professionals can design software and construct computers in web development, software development, and mobile app development. Coding is just a way that humans can communicate with computers.

How Do I Start a Coding Career?

To start a coding career, you need to get an education, build your portfolio and professional network, apply for entry-level jobs, and earn certifications. You don’t have to follow the steps in order, but you must get educated on the specific field you are interested in. For example, you should know medical coding vocabulary and key terms if you want to enter the medical field.

How to Learn to Code in 2023

First, to learn to code, you have to choose the educational path that best suits your career goals. You can go to college for a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Programming, join a coding bootcamp, or enroll in an online program. All of these options are great depending on your career path and desired choice of job.

Coding Bootcamps

The best coding bootcamps are designed specifically to help you learn to code and start a career in technology. They are short-term, immersive, and flexible, making them available to anyone with the drive and potential to learn. A coding bootcamp will help you gain in-demand skills and stand out in the job market. 

Two added advantages of coding bootcamps are their hands-on approach and their career services that they provide during or after the program. The hands-on learning approach helps students to practice the skills they’ve learned and build their portfolios. The career services prepare them to secure jobs at the end of the program.

Online Courses

Online courses are short programs offered by online providers like Coursera and Udemy. They can help you learn the skills to either start a career or advance in your career. You can learn to code through any of the numerous online learning platforms available today. All you have to do is select the course that offers the skills you need in a method that suits you best.

The best thing about online programs is the fact that the lessons are usually pre-recorded videos that you can watch at any time. This means the learning is self-paced and can be completed based on your schedule. You also earn a certificate of completion at the end of some courses to help you boost your CV and prove your skills to potential employers.

Degree Programs

These college and university programs will equip you with the general skills you need for a specific field. Unlike coding bootcamps and online training programs, they are not as hands-on. However, they are more in-depth and preferred by employers. To learn to code with degree programs, you will have to enroll in computer science, IT, or other related programs.

Before you apply for a program, you should check the admission criteria at your time of admission. Whether you want to get an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or even a master’s degree, you will need to commit to your semester credit hours and put in the work. Degree programs are much longer than bootcamps, but they are worth it.

Free Coding Resources

There are hundreds of coding resources available online that you can use to your advantage. These resources are excellent for those who cannot dedicate the time to a coding bootcamp, degree, or online program. You can utilize any of these resources by reading and practicing what you learn in real life.

Ultimate List of Coding Terms and Vocab in 2023

A woman sitting on a blue chair and working on her Apple laptop. Coding Terms You Must Familiarize Yourself With
Getting familiar with coding terms at the beginning of your coding journey is a great way to put your best foot forward.

There are so many coding terms, and it would take a long time to learn and understand them all. This is why we have collated a list of a few essential coding terms for different fields. This section includes a list of general coding terms for software developers, cyber security analysts, and data scientists.

General Coding Terms Everyone Should Know

This list includes the coding terminology and languages that everyone should be familiar with. If you’re just entering the tech field, you should start by learning these terms. They involve activities or programs that we come across regularly.


Definition: An algorithm is a set of instructions or specific procedures used to solve computer problems. It is used for data processing, mathematics, and automated reasoning by programmers, mathematicians, and data scientists.


Definition: Arrays are a set of boxes or containers that hold datasets, with each box having only the same type of data. Virtually every professional uses them in tech, from programmers to data scientists.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Definition: Augmented reality describes an interactive experience where the real physical world becomes advanced using digital objects delivered through technology. It has several uses, including medical training, design and modeling, tourism, and education. 

Binary Number

Definition: A binary number is a method by which a computer understands and interprets data. It is expressed in two figures, typically 0 or 1, and the computer interprets them as anything entered into a computer.


Definition: A bug is an error or flaw in a software program that stops it from functioning as it should. It is a term that is common in technology, and you will come across it in any field. When a programmer or developer notices a bug in a software, they fix it and restore the program to functioning correctly.


Definition: Data consists of translated information that is efficient and understood by the computer. These strings of data are typically translated to binary form. Data is an incredibly essential term in data science and is used regularly by everyone in the field.


Definition: Keywords are words reserved by a programming language to perform specific tasks as parameters or commands. Each programming language has its own set of keywords that cannot be used as variable names. As a programmer or developer, you should be familiar with the keywords for the programming language you’re using.


Definition: Linux is an open-source operating system modeled on Unix designed for servers, mainframes, computers, mobile, and embedded devices. It is an acronym for “Lovable Intellect Not Using XP” and used by top organizations like Google, NASA, and the US Department of Defense. 

Machine Learning (ML)

Definition: Machine learning is a part of artificial intelligence (AI) that uses computer algorithms to improve the functioning of software applications in making more accurate predictions. Machine learning is a term that is becoming more important in technology and should be understood by any professional in the field. 

Programming Languages

Definition: Programming languages, also known as coding languages, are artificial languages that professionals can use to instruct a computer on what to do. Popular types of coding languages include Java, Python, JavaScript, C, C++, C#, and Ruby.


Definition: Scripts are sets of commands or instructions to be interpreted and executed by an operating system or application. Typically, computer processors and other programs carry out scripts rather than the actual user. There are programming languages that are known as “script languages” because of how they operate.


Definition: A variable is a computer memory location used to store data or information for easy manipulation or reference in a computer program. Tech professionals can use them to store a set of bits or different data types.

Coding Terms for Software Developers

Software developers focus on the front end and backend maintenance of websites and online media. This list includes a few of the essential coding terms you will encounter as a software developer or while working with one.

Acceptance Testing

Definition: Acceptance testing is conducted by an authorized person to tell if the software or application meets the client’s needs and requirements. It is the most critical phase of testing during a software development process. 

Adaptive Maintenance

Definition: Adaptive maintenance refers to the process taken to ensure that software or application remains functional after there’s a change in its operating environment. This can occur after an alteration in the environment due to security threats, bugs, hardware threats, or new technical knowledge.

Alpha Testing

Definition: This refers to a type of testing done just before the end of the development process to ensure that the software is functioning as it should before usage. The developers can only carry this type of testing when the software application is almost ready for use. 


Definition: A database is a set of organized data or information stored and accessed in a computer system. Databases are stored to allow for easy accessibility, retrieval, modification, and deletion. 

Data Modelling

Definition: Data modeling is the process of creating data models for an entire or parts of an information system to communicate between data points and structures using specific techniques.

Functional Programming

Definition: Functional programming is a language designed to construct programs by applying and composing pure functions. Some examples are Python, Clojure, and Lisp.

Functional Specification

Definition: This refers to a document that includes the functions that software or application must perform. It includes detailed information on the product’s capabilities, appearance, and interaction with users.

General-Purpose Language

Definition: A general-purpose language is a programming language that you can use across multiple platforms or applications. It isn’t designed specifically for any particular domain. A few examples of general-purpose languages are Python, C#, Java, and Ruby.

Human-Computer Interface

Definition: The human-computer interface is a means by which a human communicates with a computer system. It involves the design, application, and review of computer systems for human use.

Intermediate Code

Definition: Intermediate code translates source code into machine code. At the midpoint between the high-level language and machine language, a compiler may degenerate during the translation into object or machine code process. 

Legal Contract

Definition: A legal contract is a contract that states the ownership and affiliation of a software application and also the agreements that govern the software development services. It includes details on the ownership, license, acquisition, design, development, distribution, marketing, use, outsourcing, and software maintenance.

Machine Code

Definition: Machine code is any low-level programming language that includes a set of machine or binary instructions used to control a computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to make the computer respond directly. 


Definition: Methodology refers to the process involved in analyzing complex problems by planning the software development, controlling the development process, and executing on the appropriate platform.

Object Oriented Language

Definition: An object oriented language is a high-level programming language that uses objects for standard data and methods to develop software applications. Some examples of object oriented languages are Java, Python, C++, and Lisp.

Pair Programming

Definition: Pair programming is a process where two programmers, known as the driver and the observer, both work on a coding project together. During this process, the driver writes the code while the observer monitors it to check for errors, often switching roles during the process to troubleshoot.

Source Code

Definition: Source code is a set of instructions and statements written by a programmer using a programming language later translated into machine language by a compiler. A code translated into machine language is known as object code. 

Structured Data

Definition: Structured data refers to defined and searchable data types that are quantitative and stored in data warehouses.


Definition: Syntax refers to the rules that define the structure of a programming language’s symbols, punctuation, and words.

System Specification

Definition: A system specification, also known as system or software requirements specification, is a document or set of documents that consists of the features and patterns of a system or software program.

Usability Testing

Definition: This is a test process that involves testing the software application to see if the users can accomplish their target actions through the features offered in the software application.

Coding Terms for Cyber Security Analysts

Cyber security includes the prevention of viruses and malware on your computer. These professionals use their own set of technical jargon unique to their field. Below is a list of a few critical coding terms that cyber security analysts use daily. 

Access Control

Definition: Access control is a security protocol that limits the access of who can view and use resources, systems, or information in a computer environment both physically and virtually. 


Definition: Authentication is the process of verifying a person or device’s identity before getting access to a software application or program.

Backing Up

Definition: Backing up is a process that involves storing computer data or information somewhere else for later use in the event of loss of the original.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Definition: Bring your own device is a policy or set of policies that involve employees of a company bringing their own personal devices to connect to the organization’s network and access confidential and sensitive data. 


Definition: A certification is a document that declares that a particular software’s specifications and requirements have been met. 

Cloud Computing

Definition: Cloud computing refers to the storage of computer system resources, data, and information in remote servers online.

Computer Network Defense

Definition: Computer network defense refers to the actions taken to prevent unauthorized access and activity on a computer network. It involves the process of monitoring, detecting, analyzing, responding, and restoring.

Cyber Attack

Definition: A cyber attack refers to the attempt by cyber criminals or hackers to disable, damage, or destroy a computer network system, steal information, or stage an attack. Cyber attacks appear in different methods or processes, including phishing, malware, or ransomware.

Data Server

Definition: Data server is a software program that offers database services like storing, processing, and securing data to other computer programs or systems.


Definition: Encryption is the process of converting data from a readable format to an encoded format that cyber security admins can only access, read, or process by decryption. It is a way to secure data or information on a computer system.


Definition: A firewall is a network security system that prevents untrusted networks from accessing a software application or program by monitoring and controlling incoming and outgoing network traffic.


Definition: Hacker is a name given to a person who attempts to gain unauthorized access to computer systems to steal information, damage or destroy a computer system, or stage an attack.

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)

Definition: IaaS is one of the four types of cloud computing services that offers computing, storage, and network resources over the Internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. 

Insider Threat

Definition: An insider threat is a malicious threat from employees within an organization who have access to confidential and sensitive company information. 


Definition: Keylogger is a software program that cyber criminals use to monitor your computer activity to access your personal information. The software records and logs everything you type when installed on your computer.


Definition: Malware is an acronym for malicious software. It is a file or code installed into a computer system through various means to infect, steal, or destroy the computer system.


Definition: Pentesting is a type of ethical hacking that cyber security specialists use to test an organization’s defense systems for potential threats or vulnerabilities in their network, web app, or user security. It is also known as penetration testing or security pen-testing. It is also its own field, and according to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for pentesters is $116,323.


Definition: Phishing is a cyber attack where a hacker uses a fraudulent message to trick a person into revealing sensitive information or infecting their computer system with malware.

Trojan Horse

Definition: A trojan horse is a particular form of malware that a hacker uses to access a person’s computer system while disguising it as a legitimate software application. The attack happens after the person installs the software into their system, giving the hacker full access to their devices.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Definition: A virtual private network, more popularly known as a VPN, is a method whereby a computer user establishes a protected network through the use of a software program to prevent third parties from tracking their original location, activities, or stealing their data. 

Coding Terms for Data Scientists

Data scientists deal with various sizes and sets of data, often in open source libraries. This section includes a list of some critical coding terms that data scientists use regularly. If you want to enter one of the best data science careers, you should learn the terms below.


Definition: Anonymization refers to the process whereby an individual’s personal data is altered in a way that it can no longer be identified directly or indirectly by the data controller or any other party.

Application Programming Interface (API)

Definition: Commonly known as API, an application programming interface is a software connection or intermediary that allows two applications or computer systems to communicate with each other. It allows companies to enable third parties to have access to their application’s data and functionality.

Artificial Intelligence

Definition: Artificial intelligence refers to the intelligence displayed by a machine, like speech recognition, natural language processing, and machine vision. This allows the device or computer system to carry out activities that humans would naturally do.

Bayes Theorem

Definition: This theorem was named after Thomas Bayes, a British mathematician. It is the probability of an event occurring based on a previous outcome of occurred events. It allows data scientists to update their beliefs in response to new observations.

Behavioral Analytics

Definition: Behavioral analytics involves researching the behavior of people for business growth. It helps data scientists to analyze the design, engagement, conversion, and retention of users or customers.

Clickstream Analytics

Definition: This involves the tracking and analysis of user behavior on a website. Clickstream analytics tell the programmer how much time users spend on the website, what they spend that time doing, and where they go once they leave the website. It is typically done to improve user experience and for business growth.


Definition: Clustering, also known as cluster analysis, is a form of unsupervised classification technique. Clustering techniques divide data into groups or structures for easy understanding and manipulation. 

Data Governance

Definition: Data governance is the system and rules that a group of people uses to monitor data to ensure that it is well organized, accessible, valuable, and safe. It should also meet data standards and be trusted, consistent, and not misused.

Data Mining

Definition: Data mining involves the process of finding trends and patterns in datasets to predict outcomes for better and well-informed business decisions. You can use it to improve profit, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce risks.

Data Visualization

Definition: Data visualization is the visual representation of data through graphs and charts to make the data easily understandable, highlight trends, and find actionable insights.

Decision Trees

Definition: A decision tree is a graphic tree-like representation of possible outcomes based on a particular decision. Data scientists use it to determine the effect of certain business decisions. 

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Definition: Natural language processing is a part of AI that allows computer systems to understand texts and spoken words like humans. With NLP, computers can understand speech, interpret it, and determine the critical parts of it.

Predictive Modeling

Definition: This is a method used to predict future events or outcomes based on previous results or events. Typically, predictive modeling relies on advanced statistical techniques or data mining technologies.


Definition: Regression is a mathematical method that allows data scientists to determine or predict the continuous outcome of an event based on the value of one or more variables.

Web Scraping

Definition: Web scraping, also known as web data extraction, is a technique for extracting the contents and data from a website to replicate the website’s content.

Popular Coding Terminology FAQ

What are the four types of coding?

The four types of coding are data compression or source coding, error control or channel coding, cryptographic coding, and line coding.

What are the five main coding languages?

The five main and most popular coding languages are Python, JavaScript, C#, C++, and Ruby, though many others are available to learn.

Which coding language is best?

There is no specific coding language that is best as each coding language has its advantages. However, Python tends to be the easiest to learn, use, and deploy, making it the go-to programming language for most programmers in the field.

What is the newest coding language?

There are several new coding languages available today, including Elixir, Go, Dart, Julia, Pony, TypeScript, Kotlin, Rust, Swift, and Python 3.

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