Buzzwords in Tech Hiring: Which Grab Managers’ Attention?

While repeatedly dropping overused buzzwords during the hiring process is not the best way to impress a hiring manager, referencing hot technologies, in-demand skills and essential experience will make you sound knowledgeable. And if hiring managers think you’ll add value to the company, they’re more likely to hire you.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the hot buzzwords that tech pros should be sure to highlight when crafting résumés and success stories for job interviews.

Over-the-Top (OTT)

With global revenue from “over-the-top” delivery of TV shows and movies expected to reach $129 billion by 2023, mentioning OTT in a résumé can help software engineers, testers, developers, DBAs or product managers stand out in a crowd.

OTT, which describes the delivery of media content over the internet, is an in-demand skillset not only in the entertainment industry, but any company that distributes streaming media, explained Sarah Copeland, executive director of Recruitment at Irvine Technology Corporation (ITC).

In fact, there are already over 200 OTT services in the U.S. market, according to Parks Associates. Interested in making the leap? Check out our growing list of OTT jobs.


Regardless of the positon you’re seeking, describing your experience with app migration, cloud app development, security tools, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS or AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform can definitely give you an edge in today’s marketplace. If a company hasn’t integrated its processes into the cloud, it’s almost certainly planning on doing so.

Any experience with cloud-based processes and apps may boost your appeal, Copeland added. If you’ve been stuck in the same job for a while, see if you can transfer to your company’s cloud group, attend a conference or earn a certification… and be sure to note your activities and newly acquired skills in online profiles, résumés and discussions with recruiters and hiring managers.


Kubernetes is red hot according to Brett Wayne, managing director of technical staffing firm Cypress HCM. In fact, a 451 Research survey of enterprises using containers found that 71 percent of respondents were using Kubernetes. Slipping the names of popular tools such Chef, Puppet, Ansible or Saltstack into the hiring process can make all the difference, too.

Complex Problem Solving (CPS)

Hiring managers are always on the lookout for tech pros with complex problem solving skills (CPS) or experience managing complex projects; such skills are fairly rare. However, to convert buzzword-driven interest into an actual offer, you need to describe a challenging project (and its solution) in an interesting way. Offer proof by mentioning specific details and facts, including the approach you took, the obstacles you encountered, and the tools you used, as well as the outcomes you achieved.

Scalable Architecture and Applications

While “scalability” is a popular term that is bound to capture the attention of hiring managers, providing context is equally important.

Architects and developers need to show that scalability is more than a buzzword by explaining how they accomplished it, explained Michael Giles, director of Technology for Rauxa. What processes did they follow to grow something rapidly? “The first thing I do is dive into the experience section of a candidate’s résumé to see how they are defining the term,” he said.

For example, were they involved in scaling an app’s user base, or did they focus on creating scalable object storage? And what was the size of the user base or data set?

During the interview, Giles goes one step further by asking candidates how they went about building scalable architecture or writing scalable code. Show that you understand how to achieve scalability (step by step, ideally), and you’re bound to impress.

Machine Learning (ML)

While artificial intelligence (A.I.) has been one of the most valuable skills over the last few years, machine learning (a subset of A.I.) is more applicable to the average business, Giles noted.

Inserting a popular term like “ML” into your résumé or conversation is certain to grab a reviewer’s attention. But to land an interview and ultimately an offer, hiring managers want to hear examples of how you’ve used ML to solve problems or deliver value to a stakeholder or external client. If you’re interested in ML but unsure of where to start learning, check out these online resources.