Guide: From Tech to English

Keeping track of terminology is a constant moving target. Some uses may fall out of date, while new ones crop up and spread like wildfire. If there is a specific term you would be curious to have added, please reach out.

The following is a list of words, phrases, and abbreviations that make sense to developers, but not to the outside world.


As software runs in a production environment – and something goes wrong, say, overnight. How well can you trace the cause? Can you find the errors? If you find a faulty line of code – can you find the version? Traceability is the ability to trace issues when troubleshooting.

Row By Agonizing Row RBAR

Used most often by DBA’s or those working with database set operations. RBAR is used to denote an algorithm or query that must evaluate each row, one at a time. It is agonizingly slow.

Database Administrator DBA

A DBA is someone that knows how to manage a Database. They typically have an intimate knowledge of the a relational database being supported, be it MySQL, MSSQL, Postgres, Oracle, etc. They are truly SME’s in their domain. A good developer can learn a lot from a willing DBA.

Subject Matter Expert SME

An SME is often a well abused resource. This is the person that knows everything about that one app that nobody else knows. Or maybe, that one section of code. Usually this will be a senior engineer. SME’s can experience a bit of Job Security. But, at the same time, if they are the only one that knows it – maybe the subject needs to be replaced.


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