185 Software Development Acronyms

In the world of software development, we use and see a lot of acronyms. In this article, I’ve listed a lot of common acronyms, along with definitions, which can help your understanding in the workplace.

Software Development Acronyms

This article contains 185 different software development acronyms – abbreviations of words that software developers might see at work and during their career. Some of them might seem quite obvious (such as ASAP), some of them are technical (such as JSON) and others are depend on the workplace (such as MOM).

They are divided into sections to make it easier to read.

This isn’t a full list of acronyms. There are most likely some acronyms that you know of that are not on this list. If you know of any I’ve missed, add them in the comments section, and I’ll update this list.



These acronyms relate to applications that you might use at work.

Acronym Stands For Meaning
AD Active Directory A directory service for Windows servers
CRM Customer Relationship Management The process and systems that relate to storing and managing customer information
CVS Concurrent Versioning System A source code control system
IIS Internet Information Services A Web server created by Microsoft
RTC Rational Team Concert A tool by IBM used for issue tracking and project management
SAAS Software as a Service Software that is available online and accessed by users as needed. An alternative to software that is downloaded
SAP Systems Applications & Products A German software product used by enterprises for many functions
SVN Subversion A source code control system
VSS Visual Source Safe A source code control system



These acronyms relate to business operations and finances.

Acronym Stands For Meaning
AL Annual Leave A day off work in agreement with your employer
ASAP As Soon As Possible Something that needs to be done immediately
B2B Business to Business A service or product that is created by a business for other businesses
B2C Business to Consumer A service or product that is created by a business for consumers (non-businesses)
BAU Business As Usual An ongoing state of work, despite something that may have disturbed the workplace
BPM Business Process Management Analysing business processes and identifying gaps and issues
CAPEX Capital Expenditure The money that is spent on capital work, such as projects (once-off work)
CMS Content Management System A system used to store and display content (text, images, etc) for users to view
CV Curriculum Vitae An alternative to a resume
, preferred in many parts of the world
CY Calendar Year The period from Jan 1 to Dec 1, often used in planning
DW Data Warehouse A database used for business intelligence and reporting. Read more here.
EAP Employee Assistance Program A service offered by employers to assist their employees with issues
ERP Enterprise Resource Planning The process of organising and planning resources for projects and company operations
ETA Estimated Time of Arrival An estimate on the time that something will be finished by
FT Full Time Someone who works a standard week of working hours
FTE Full Time Employees, or Full Time Equivalent A full time employee. Often used in resource planning
FY Financial Year The financial year used for the company. Varies by country
HR Human Resources The company department responsible for employee issues and services
ICT Information and Communication Technology The employment sector that software developers work in
ITIL Information Technology Infrastructure Library A set of practices used in service management for IT
KPI Key Performance Indicators A set of metrics or numbers used by a company to measure its success
LWOP Leave Without Pay Taking time off work without being paid. Alternative to annual leave
MoM Month on Month A report that compares one month to the previous month
N/A Not Applicable or Not Available Indicates that something does not apply
NDA Non-Disclosure Agreement An agreement signed by someone to keep the contents confidential. Often used on private projects
OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer A company that manufactures equipment for users
OPEX Operational Expenditure The money that is spent on operational work, such as support and management (ongoing work)
PT Part Time Someone who works less than a standard week (e.g. 2 or 3 days per week)
RAD Rapid Application Development A software development methodology
RFP Request For Proposal A request that a company sends to a vendor to make a proposal for some work
RFQ Request For Quote A request that a company sends to a vendor to make a quote for some work
ROI Return On Investment The result that a company or a person gets on money that has been invested
SEM Search Engine Marketing The process of promoting a company or service on search engines
SEO Search Engine Optimisation The process of optimising a website to be found by search engines
SKU Stock Keeping Unit A single item that can be tracked by a stock management system
SL Sick Leave Taking time away from work for health reasons
SLA Service Level Agreement An agreement between a company and a service provider. Often used in application support to refer to timeframes for resolution
SME Subject Matter Expert An employee that knows an area of the business quite well
SOE Standard Operating Environment The default computer configuration (software, hardware) for employees to use
SOP Standard Operating Procedure The standard process for getting something done
TIL Time In Lieu Taking time off as repayment for working extra hours at an earlier point
TLA Three Letter Acronym An abbreviation of something that is three letters long
WFH Working From Home An employee that performs their work from home, instead of coming in to the office
WoW Week on Week A report that compares one week to the previous week
WYSIWYG What You See Is What You Get A process of creating a design of software where the design matches the output
YoY Year On Year A report that compares one year to the previous year
YTD Year To Date The time period from the start of the calendar year to the current date



These acronyms represent certifications in the IT industry. It’s not a complete list of certifications, though.

Acronym Stands For Meaning
MCA Microsoft Certified Architect A Microsoft certification for architects
MCAD Microsoft Certified Application Developer A Microsoft certification for developers
MCAS Microsoft Certified Application Specialist A Microsoft certification for developers
MCDBA Microsoft Certified Database Administrator A Microsoft certification for database administrators
MCDST Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician A Microsoft certification for desktop support
MCITP Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional A Microsoft certification
MCM Microsoft Certified Master An advanced Microsoft certification
MCP Microsoft Certified Professional Someone who has a Microsoft certification
MCPD Microsoft Certified Professional Developer A Microsoft certification for developers
MCSA Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator A Microsoft certification for system administrators
MCSD Microsoft Certified Solution Developer A Microsoft certification for developers
MCSE Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer A Microsoft certification for developers
MCT Microsoft Certified Trainer A Microsoft certification for trainers
MCTS Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist A Microsoft certification for developers
MTA Microsoft Technology Associate A Microsoft certification



These acronyms relate to documents that might be used in software projects.

Acronym Stands For Meaning
BRD Business Requirements Document A document that contains business requirements, both functional and non functional
RDD Requirements Definition Document A document that specifies detailed requirements
RTM Requirements Traceability Matrix A document that matches business requirements and tests to other areas of the system



These acronyms relate to terms you might see and use in emails.

Acronym Stands For Meaning
AP Action Point Something that needs to be done by someone, often as a result of a meeting
BCC Blind Carbon Copy Sending a copy of an email to someone without the original recipient knowing
CC Carbon Copy Sending a copy of an email to someone else
COB Close of Business The end of a working day. Often used in deadlines, e.g. “COB Thursday”
EOD End of Day The end of a working day. Often used in deadlines, e.g. “EOD Tuesday”
EOM End of Message Indicates the end of a message
FYI For Your Information Used to notify someone of some information
IDK I Don’t Know Not knowing the answer
IMHO In My Humble Opinion Providing your opinion
MOM Minutes of Meeting A list of topics that were discussed in a meeting
PFA Please Find Attached Indicates that a file has been attached
TBA To Be Advised, or To Be Announced The details will be provided at a later date
TBC To Be Confirmed The details will be provided at a later date
TBD To Be Determined The details will be provided at a later date
WRT With Respect To/With Regards To Referring to another topic that was mentioned


General IT

These acronyms relate to general IT industry terms.

Acronym Stands For Meaning
CS Computer Science The study and discipline of how computers and software work
MIS Management Information Systems The study of IT and how it relates to business
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology A well-known technology university in the United States
MSDN Microsoft Developer Network A website by Microsoft that provides resources for developers
SSO Single Sign On The ability to sign on to a website in one location and access all of its services


Job Roles

These acronyms relate to job roles in the industry.

Acronym Stands For Meaning
BA Business Analyst A person who gathers requirements from end users and communicates them to developers
CEO Chief Executive Officer The person responsible for running a company
CFO Chief Financial Officer The person responsible for the financial department of a company
CIO Chief Information Officer The person responsible for the IT department of a company
COO Chief Operating Officer The person responsible for daily operations of a company
CTO Chief Technology Officer The person responsible for the technology department of a company
DBA Database Administrator A person responsible for ensuring that a company’s databases are secure and operational
EA Executive Assistant A personal assistant to an executive in a company
ED Executive Director A mid-level role in a company
GM General Manager A mid-level role in a company
PA Personal Assistant Someone who assists a manager in a company
PM Project Manager The person responsible for managing people and issues related to a project



These acronyms relate to programming terms and technologies.

Acronym Stands For Meaning
1NF First Normal Form The first stage of creating a normalised database
2NF Second Normal Form The second stage of creating a normalised database
3NF Third Normal Form The final stage of creating a normalised database
AJAX Asynchronous JavaScript and XML A group of web development techniques to let you create asynchronous applications
API Application Programming Interface An external interface from an application that other applications can access
ASP Active Server Pages A server-side scripting language by Microsoft
COBOL Common Business-Oriented Langauge An old programming language
COM Component Object Model Interface for software components
CSS Cascading Style Sheets A language used to organise and design how a web site looks
DAO Data Access Object An object that provides access to a database
DDL Data Definition Language A set of SQL terms used to create and alter objects
DML Data Manipulation Language A set of SQL terms used to view data related to objects
DOM Document Object Model A cross-platform and language-independent convention for interacting with documents
EOF End of File Indicates the end of a file
EOL End of Line Indicates the end of a line in a file
ERD Entity Relationship Diagram A diagram created to explain how database tables or entities are related. To create one, use one of these tools.
ERM Entity Relationship Model A diagram created to explain how entities in a program are related
ETL Extract, Transform, Load The process of getting data from one database and loading it into a data warehouse
FCL Framework Class Library Standard library for Microsoft’s .NET framework that includes a collection of classes
FIFO First In First Out A queuing method that says the first item in is the first item out
FSO File System Object An object that provides access to a file system
GUID Global Unique Identifier A value in a database record used to uniquely identify that record in the database
IDE Integrated Development Environment Software that allows developers to write code
J2EE Java 2 Enterprise Edition A version of Java that is made for enterprise applications
J2ME Java 2 Micro Edition A version of Java that is made for mobile applications
J2SE Java 2 Standard Edition The standard version of Java
JDBC Java Database Connectivity A method of connecting from an application to a database
JDK Java Development Kit The software used to develop Java applications
JFC Java Foundation Classes A graphical framework for building Java-based user interfaces
JRE Java Runtime Environment The software used to run Java applications
JS JavaScript A client-side scripting language used to develop Web applications
JSON JavaScript Object Notation A lightweight data interchange format
JSP JavaServer Pages A Java technology used to create web pages.
JVM Java Virtual Machine The software used to run Java applications
LIFO Last In First Out A queuing method that says the last item in is the first item out
LOC Lines of Code The number of lines of code in a program. A way to measure the size of a program
MAPI Messaging Application Programming Interface A messaging architecture and API for Windows
MDA Model-Driven Architecture An approach to designing software that structures it around models
MFC Microsoft Foundation Classes A library of classes that maps the Windows API into C++ classes
MVC Model View Controller A software design that includes three levels of modules
OLAP Online Analytical Processing A database used by business intelligence or data warehouses
OLE Object Linking and Embedding A technology that allowsembedding and linking to documents and other objects
OLTP Online Transaction Processing A database used by regular systems, such as websites and company systems
OOP Object Oriented Programming Writing code and designing programs as a collection of smaller objects that interact with each other
ORM Object Relational Mapping A technique for converting data between systems in object oriented programming languages
PHP Personal Home Page/PHP Hypertext Preprocessor A popular language used to develop web sites
REGEX Regular Expression A set of rules that are used to process strings
REST Representational State Transfer An architectural style that allows loading data from web pages
SCM Source Code Management The process of storing source code on a server and managing it for a team
SDK Software Development Kit A collection of tools that allow developers to write code in a particular language
SOLID Single responsibility, Open-closed, Liskov substitution, Interface segregation, Dependency inversion A principle of Object Oriented Programming. Something to learn if you want to improve your programming skills.
SQL Structured Query Language A language used to access databases, such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server
SQLXML SQL Server XML A version of XML used by SQL Server
VB Visual Basic A Microsoft language used to write applications
VBA Visual Basic for Applications A version of Visual Basic included in Microsoft Office programs
VS Visual Studio An IDE or program developed by Microsoft that is used to write software
SOAP Simple Object Access Protocol A messaging protocol that allows programs to communicate using HTTP
XAML Extensible Application Markup Language An XML-based language designed by Microsoft
XHTML Extensible Hyptertext Markup Language An extension of HTML
XML Extensible Markup Language A language used to store data for transfer between systems
XSD XML Schema Definition The definition of a particular set of XML files
XSL Extensible Stylesheet Language The styling of an XML file
YAGNI You Ain’t Gonna Need It A software development principle that says you should only develop for features that you know



These acronyms are related to project stages and processes.

Acronym Stands For Meaning
AT Acceptance Testing Testing the software against the requirements to see if they have been met
BDD Behaviour Driven Development Developing use cases based on user behaviour
BDUF Big Design Up Front Performing the design of a system at the start of the project, instead of as you go
BI Business Intelligence Gathering and analysing data from the company to perform business decisions
BVT Business Verification Testing The process of verifying the product with a business user to ensure it meets their requirements
Dev Development The process of writing software code
FDD Feature Driven Development A method of development that is centred around developing for a feature
PVT Product Verification Testing The testing process to ensure that the end product works without issues
RUP Rational Unified Process A software development methodology, developed by IBM
SIT Systems Integration Testing The testing process to ensure the software integrates with other systems successfully
TDD Test-Driven Development A development process that starts with test cases, which are then used to develop requirements
UAT User Acceptance Testing The testing process where end users perform tests and validate them against their requirements
UI User Interface The display, screens, or windows of an application
UML Unified Modelling Language A standard for diagrams and designing software
UX User Experience The process of using the application from a user’s perspective. Includes UI, process, and customer journeys
XP Extreme Programming A software development methodology


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9 thoughts on “185 Software Development Acronyms”

  1. Margaret Hamilton

    Wow, that is quite a list.
    Like that you put them in sections.
    Thank you for putting this together.

  2. Great listing.

    Recommended Additions to the list:
    3NL is not the final stage of creating a normalized database.
    There is at least a 4th and 5th normal form. However, most database designs stop at 3NL.

    Besides DML and DDL, oracle has DCL (Data Control Language) also.

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