Stop Inflating Terminology

By Jack Gisel at

Don't be afraid of "Crypto Data Streaming Platform"

I've been having a lot of discussions with other younger engineers, and a common topic is the difference between high-performing and less successful engineers. When we talk about what makes a less performing engineer, one attribute that often comes up is a lack of confidence. I believe a significant contributor to this is the industry's use of inflated terms like "Machine Learning," "Crypto/Cryptography," "Data Lake/Warehouse/etc.," and "Data Streaming."

The Truth

If you are a software engineer who studied Software Engineering, chances are you are smart enough to understand all of these buzzwords. Don't let them intimidate you. Let's break them down to their fundamentals:

  • Machine Learning: You understand recursion, which is breaking something into a base case and building on top of it. All machine learning comes down to this and building on top of it.
  • Cryptography: You understand what a hash is and how to build hashes where values can have intrinsic value. You can learn more about cryptography on top of this.
  • Data Lake/Warehouse/etc.: These are mostly marketing terms. But you know what a database is and how some databases offer better features. These words just define the requirements of a database.

The list goes on. Don't let terms fool you. You understand computing and can probably reason out most of these terms' definitions. When someone asks, "Do you know what a data lake is?" don't be afraid to say yes. They didn't ask if you built one.

Be confident and don't be afraid to say you know something if you can understand the basics. If someone wanted an expert, their question would be, "Are you an expert in...".