Anybody working in tech encounters new buzzwords and new technology topics frequently. Kafka, Apache, Svelte, Kaniko, you might see a new technology once a day when you are getting started as a tech recruiter.
How do you go about understanding them?
There are a couple of ways I would recommend approaching this.
It's helpful to think of technology terms in the context of where they fit into the process of building software. Generally speaking you have a couple of phases of a software project.
There are a lot of details here and subcomponents. E.g. "testing software" probably falls under the Development phase, and to give another example CI/CD systems could fall under every phase. But generally speaking if you understand what phase of building software a given technology falls into it is a useful jumping off point.
By the way, I have a free mini course called "parts of a software project" that goes over software projects in detail.
OK, let's do some examples.
How about Docker? Docker was developed to help make it easy to deploy software on any system. People also use it for development.
How about Python? Python is a programming language, which means people are generally using it for developing software. There are also a lot of python based tools for doing operations work.
What about Kibana? Kibana is a visualization tool used for looking at data in ElasticSearch (a fulltext database). Most frequently Kibana is used for looking a log data, which means it would be primarily used in the operations & support phase.
Now, when you look at a resume you can try to classify people - does this person work with technologies used in the Operations or Deployment phases? Maybe they are more a DevOps candidate? Does this person list a lot of programming languages and application frameworks? Probably they are strictly a developer and always working in the development phase.
Development is often the phase of a project that is the most expensive and requires the most people. So as a recruiter it makes sense to focus here on hiring software engineers.
The first breakdown you could explore is platforms.
Web development covers applications built to operate in browsers, and these days that's most applications. Mobile development covers iOS and Android applications. Finally desktop development covers applications that run natively on a desktop environment like the chrome browser or games.
The trend for a long time is that most application development is web development in some form. Even desktop versions of Slack and Spotify are developed using web development technologies (something called Electron in this case) that get wrapped up inside of a native application.
Note that in most cases all of the platforms use the same type of APIs written by backend developers. I explain the client-server model here if you're interested in learning more about that. I think the important takehome here is to understand that a web app, a mobile app, and desktop application (like Spotify, for example, available on every platform) likely all have the same shared backend infrastructure.
Examples of Mobile Technologies:
Examples of Desktop Technologies:
I'll hold off on giving examples of web development platform related technologies since all of the examples below will be about web development.
The next breakdown here is Frontend Vs Backend. Most technologies you encounter that are involved in the development phase (with web development) can be categorized as either frontend focused or backend focused.
Another way to understand new tech buzzwords is to figure out what other things they are like. This is probably the most useful way to contextually understand new technical buzzwords but the downside is that you already need to understand a good portion of the landscape of technical terms in software development before you can really do this.
I have created a few tools on this site to help you learn buzzwords. If you've been to my site before you probably know I made a course for this, but all of these tools I'm linking below are free.