14 Tech Buzzwords You Absolutely Love to Hate

Every employee has their own list of buzzwords commonly uttered by their boss or colleagues that drives them crazy. Largely empty clichés infiltrate all industries, and technology is no different. We talked to engineers and developers (including technology employees at J.P Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Google) to get a better idea of the most overused and often spine-tingling clichés, at least in their opinion. We also included a few from our previous posting on buzzwords in front-office banking that we’re told are equally prevalent in technology. What did they miss? Let us know in the comments.

Ninja/Rockstar/Superstar

These are rather tired iterations of the same concept: a creative engineer who is really good at their job. Who wouldn’t want that? These buzzwords are still used in many job postings, though the frequency is much lower than in previous years; maybe hiring managers and recruiters have seen how applicants roll their eyes whenever they read the terms.

Disruption

A feat often accomplished by rock stars in the form of a product capable of flipping an industry on its head. It’s often used even if said solution won’t actually flip an industry on its head. Nobody really cares about “Uber for Clean Whiteboards.”

Building the plane while you’re flying it

The idea of re-designing, building and fixing a product seemingly all at the same time. The phrase can have both positive and negative connotations around the desire to move as quickly as possible, sometimes out of pure necessity. Just remember: a plane built in mid-air probably wouldn’t fly very well.

Breaking down silos

Creating a singular vision through open collaboration. Or as a project manager might put it: “Damn it, we need to actually know what the other teams are doing!”

Agency

Another word common to job descriptions in tech, having “agency” signifies that an employee will have almost full ownership over a project… or so some are told. The reality is often very different, as you discover in your first meeting with your boss.

Action items

Essentially just a list of things that need to get done. Just call them “tasks,” people! As in: “My task today is to stop using buzzwords.”

Space

Industry or area of specialization. “We’re one of the top companies in the e-commerce space.” Unfortunately, using “space” in place of “field” or “industry” doesn’t make you extra-cool.

Bandwidth

Having “bandwidth” means you have the knowledge to go into greater detail on something. You can also provide or require more bandwidth.

Ramen-profitable

A startup that is technically profitable yet barely breaking even (the business runs well enough to pay for the founders’ easy-microwave noodles, in other words). Many tech companies with multi-billion dollar valuations are nowhere near ramen-profitable; they just sort of set VC money on fire.

Pain points

Problems with a product that you are either encountering or struggling to solve. Some pain points will make developers actually scream.

Agile

The development methodology that many engineers believe is used way too much (and oftentimes rather inaccurately by senior management).

Dig out

To get through all your backlog of work. “Let me dig out and I’ll come see you in an hour.” Hopefully this pit is just metaphorical.

Circle back

One of the favorite buzzwords in any industry. People often circle back with each other – or reconnect about an issue at a later time – after they dig out, acquire more bandwidth and complete their action items.

Scalable

Like “Agile,” this is more of a borderline cliché/buzzword, though it’s used so often by management that it’s become tiresome and meaningless, at least according to one retail-focused bank engineer.

This article originally appeared in eFinancialCareers.

3 Responses to “14 Tech Buzzwords You Absolutely Love to Hate”

  1. Many on the list are accurate, however bandwidth’s definition is incorrect. It essentially means you have the time to work on a task or project. Also, you missed maybe the most hated phrase in tech that is commonly created by Product: “Scope Creep”.

  2. “…We talked to engineers and developers (including technology employees at J.P Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Google…”

    I don’t know about Google, but it seems to me that if you talked to anyone (even the engineering-types) over at JPMorgan or Morgan Stanley (aren’t those 2 the same?) that the buzzwords would be more like interest rate, compounding, user fee, overdraft, deposit, withdrawal, loan, derivative, stock option, hedge fund, arbitrage, bit coin, wire transfer, and spread sheet. Maybe Crystal Reports. I think you should have gone to some tech companies and asked about buzzwords.