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.

AcronymStands ForMeaning
ADActive DirectoryA directory service for Windows servers
CRMCustomer Relationship ManagementThe process and systems that relate to storing and managing customer information
CVSConcurrent Versioning SystemA source code control system
IISInternet Information ServicesA Web server created by Microsoft
RTCRational Team ConcertA tool by IBM used for issue tracking and project management
SAASSoftware as a ServiceSoftware that is available online and accessed by users as needed. An alternative to software that is downloaded
SAPSystems Applications & ProductsA German software product used by enterprises for many functions
SVNSubversionA source code control system
VSSVisual Source SafeA source code control system



These acronyms relate to business operations and finances.

AcronymStands ForMeaning
ALAnnual LeaveA day off work in agreement with your employer
ASAPAs Soon As PossibleSomething that needs to be done immediately
B2BBusiness to BusinessA service or product that is created by a business for other businesses
B2CBusiness to ConsumerA service or product that is created by a business for consumers (non-businesses)
BAUBusiness As UsualAn ongoing state of work, despite something that may have disturbed the workplace
BPMBusiness Process ManagementAnalysing business processes and identifying gaps and issues
CAPEXCapital ExpenditureThe money that is spent on capital work, such as projects (once-off work)
CMSContent Management SystemA system used to store and display content (text, images, etc) for users to view
CVCurriculum VitaeAn alternative to a resume
, preferred in many parts of the world
CYCalendar YearThe period from Jan 1 to Dec 1, often used in planning
DWData WarehouseA database used for business intelligence and reporting. Read more here.
EAPEmployee Assistance ProgramA service offered by employers to assist their employees with issues
ERPEnterprise Resource PlanningThe process of organising and planning resources for projects and company operations
ETAEstimated Time of ArrivalAn estimate on the time that something will be finished by
FTFull TimeSomeone who works a standard week of working hours
FTEFull Time Employees, or Full Time EquivalentA full time employee. Often used in resource planning
FYFinancial YearThe financial year used for the company. Varies by country
HRHuman ResourcesThe company department responsible for employee issues and services
ICTInformation and Communication TechnologyThe employment sector that software developers work in
ITILInformation Technology Infrastructure LibraryA set of practices used in service management for IT
KPIKey Performance IndicatorsA set of metrics or numbers used by a company to measure its success
LWOPLeave Without PayTaking time off work without being paid. Alternative to annual leave
MoMMonth on MonthA report that compares one month to the previous month
N/ANot Applicable or Not AvailableIndicates that something does not apply
NDANon-Disclosure AgreementAn agreement signed by someone to keep the contents confidential. Often used on private projects
OEMOriginal Equipment ManufacturerA company that manufactures equipment for users
OPEXOperational ExpenditureThe money that is spent on operational work, such as support and management (ongoing work)
PTPart TimeSomeone who works less than a standard week (e.g. 2 or 3 days per week)
RADRapid Application DevelopmentA software development methodology
RFPRequest For ProposalA request that a company sends to a vendor to make a proposal for some work
RFQRequest For QuoteA request that a company sends to a vendor to make a quote for some work
ROIReturn On InvestmentThe result that a company or a person gets on money that has been invested
SEMSearch Engine MarketingThe process of promoting a company or service on search engines
SEOSearch Engine OptimisationThe process of optimising a website to be found by search engines
SKUStock Keeping UnitA single item that can be tracked by a stock management system
SLSick LeaveTaking time away from work for health reasons
SLAService Level AgreementAn agreement between a company and a service provider. Often used in application support to refer to timeframes for resolution
SMESubject Matter ExpertAn employee that knows an area of the business quite well
SOEStandard Operating EnvironmentThe default computer configuration (software, hardware) for employees to use
SOPStandard Operating ProcedureThe standard process for getting something done
TILTime In LieuTaking time off as repayment for working extra hours at an earlier point
TLAThree Letter AcronymAn abbreviation of something that is three letters long
WFHWorking From HomeAn employee that performs their work from home, instead of coming in to the office
WoWWeek on WeekA report that compares one week to the previous week
WYSIWYGWhat You See Is What You GetA process of creating a design of software where the design matches the output
YoYYear On YearA report that compares one year to the previous year
YTDYear To DateThe 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.

AcronymStands ForMeaning
MCAMicrosoft Certified ArchitectA Microsoft certification for architects
MCADMicrosoft Certified Application DeveloperA Microsoft certification for developers
MCASMicrosoft Certified Application SpecialistA Microsoft certification for developers
MCDBAMicrosoft Certified Database AdministratorA Microsoft certification for database administrators
MCDSTMicrosoft Certified Desktop Support TechnicianA Microsoft certification for desktop support
MCITPMicrosoft Certified Information Technology ProfessionalA Microsoft certification
MCMMicrosoft Certified MasterAn advanced Microsoft certification
MCPMicrosoft Certified ProfessionalSomeone who has a Microsoft certification
MCPDMicrosoft Certified Professional DeveloperA Microsoft certification for developers
MCSAMicrosoft Certified Systems AdministratorA Microsoft certification for system administrators
MCSDMicrosoft Certified Solution DeveloperA Microsoft certification for developers
MCSEMicrosoft Certified Systems EngineerA Microsoft certification for developers
MCTMicrosoft Certified TrainerA Microsoft certification for trainers
MCTSMicrosoft Certified Technology SpecialistA Microsoft certification for developers
MTAMicrosoft Technology AssociateA Microsoft certification



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

AcronymStands ForMeaning
BRDBusiness Requirements DocumentA document that contains business requirements, both functional and non functional
RDDRequirements Definition DocumentA document that specifies detailed requirements
RTMRequirements Traceability MatrixA 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.

AcronymStands ForMeaning
APAction PointSomething that needs to be done by someone, often as a result of a meeting
BCCBlind Carbon CopySending a copy of an email to someone without the original recipient knowing
CCCarbon CopySending a copy of an email to someone else
COBClose of BusinessThe end of a working day. Often used in deadlines, e.g. “COB Thursday”
EODEnd of DayThe end of a working day. Often used in deadlines, e.g. “EOD Tuesday”
EOMEnd of MessageIndicates the end of a message
FYIFor Your InformationUsed to notify someone of some information
IDKI Don’t KnowNot knowing the answer
IMHOIn My Humble OpinionProviding your opinion
MOMMinutes of MeetingA list of topics that were discussed in a meeting
PFAPlease Find AttachedIndicates that a file has been attached
TBATo Be Advised, or To Be AnnouncedThe details will be provided at a later date
TBCTo Be ConfirmedThe details will be provided at a later date
TBDTo Be DeterminedThe details will be provided at a later date
WRTWith Respect To/With Regards ToReferring to another topic that was mentioned


General IT

These acronyms relate to general IT industry terms.

AcronymStands ForMeaning
CSComputer ScienceThe study and discipline of how computers and software work
MISManagement Information SystemsThe study of IT and how it relates to business
MITMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyA well-known technology university in the United States
MSDNMicrosoft Developer NetworkA website by Microsoft that provides resources for developers
SSOSingle Sign OnThe 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.

AcronymStands ForMeaning
BABusiness AnalystA person who gathers requirements from end users and communicates them to developers
CEOChief Executive OfficerThe person responsible for running a company
CFOChief Financial OfficerThe person responsible for the financial department of a company
CIOChief Information OfficerThe person responsible for the IT department of a company
COOChief Operating OfficerThe person responsible for daily operations of a company
CTOChief Technology OfficerThe person responsible for the technology department of a company
DBADatabase AdministratorA person responsible for ensuring that a company’s databases are secure and operational
EAExecutive AssistantA personal assistant to an executive in a company
EDExecutive DirectorA mid-level role in a company
GMGeneral ManagerA mid-level role in a company
PAPersonal AssistantSomeone who assists a manager in a company
PMProject ManagerThe person responsible for managing people and issues related to a project



These acronyms relate to programming terms and technologies.

AcronymStands ForMeaning
1NFFirst Normal FormThe first stage of creating a normalised database
2NFSecond Normal FormThe second stage of creating a normalised database
3NFThird Normal FormThe final stage of creating a normalised database
AJAXAsynchronous JavaScript and XMLA group of web development techniques to let you create asynchronous applications
APIApplication Programming InterfaceAn external interface from an application that other applications can access
ASPActive Server PagesA server-side scripting language by Microsoft
COBOLCommon Business-Oriented LangaugeAn old programming language
COMComponent Object ModelInterface for software components
CSSCascading Style SheetsA language used to organise and design how a web site looks
DAOData Access ObjectAn object that provides access to a database
DDLData Definition LanguageA set of SQL terms used to create and alter objects
DMLData Manipulation LanguageA set of SQL terms used to view data related to objects
DOMDocument Object ModelA cross-platform and language-independent convention for interacting with documents
EOFEnd of FileIndicates the end of a file
EOLEnd of LineIndicates the end of a line in a file
ERDEntity Relationship DiagramA diagram created to explain how database tables or entities are related. To create one, use one of these tools.
ERMEntity Relationship ModelA diagram created to explain how entities in a program are related
ETLExtract, Transform, LoadThe process of getting data from one database and loading it into a data warehouse
FCLFramework Class LibraryStandard library for Microsoft’s .NET framework that includes a collection of classes
FIFOFirst In First OutA queuing method that says the first item in is the first item out
FSOFile System ObjectAn object that provides access to a file system
GUIDGlobal Unique IdentifierA value in a database record used to uniquely identify that record in the database
IDEIntegrated Development EnvironmentSoftware that allows developers to write code
J2EEJava 2 Enterprise EditionA version of Java that is made for enterprise applications
J2MEJava 2 Micro EditionA version of Java that is made for mobile applications
J2SEJava 2 Standard EditionThe standard version of Java
JDBCJava Database ConnectivityA method of connecting from an application to a database
JDKJava Development KitThe software used to develop Java applications
JFCJava Foundation ClassesA graphical framework for building Java-based user interfaces
JREJava Runtime EnvironmentThe software used to run Java applications
JSJavaScriptA client-side scripting language used to develop Web applications
JSONJavaScript Object NotationA lightweight data interchange format
JSPJavaServer PagesA Java technology used to create web pages.
JVMJava Virtual MachineThe software used to run Java applications
LIFOLast In First OutA queuing method that says the last item in is the first item out
LOCLines of CodeThe number of lines of code in a program. A way to measure the size of a program
MAPIMessaging Application Programming InterfaceA messaging architecture and API for Windows
MDAModel-Driven ArchitectureAn approach to designing software that structures it around models
MFCMicrosoft Foundation ClassesA library of classes that maps the Windows API into C++ classes
MVCModel View ControllerA software design that includes three levels of modules
OLAPOnline Analytical ProcessingA database used by business intelligence or data warehouses
OLEObject Linking and EmbeddingA technology that allowsembedding and linking to documents and other objects
OLTPOnline Transaction ProcessingA database used by regular systems, such as websites and company systems
OOPObject Oriented ProgrammingWriting code and designing programs as a collection of smaller objects that interact with each other
ORMObject Relational MappingA technique for converting data between systems in object oriented programming languages
PHPPersonal Home Page/PHP Hypertext PreprocessorA popular language used to develop web sites
REGEXRegular ExpressionA set of rules that are used to process strings
RESTRepresentational State TransferAn architectural style that allows loading data from web pages
SCMSource Code ManagementThe process of storing source code on a server and managing it for a team
SDKSoftware Development KitA collection of tools that allow developers to write code in a particular language
SOLIDSingle responsibility, Open-closed, Liskov substitution, Interface segregation, Dependency inversionA principle of Object Oriented Programming. Something to learn if you want to improve your programming skills.
SQLStructured Query LanguageA language used to access databases, such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server
SQLXMLSQL Server XMLA version of XML used by SQL Server
VBVisual BasicA Microsoft language used to write applications
VBAVisual Basic for ApplicationsA version of Visual Basic included in Microsoft Office programs
VSVisual StudioAn IDE or program developed by Microsoft that is used to write software
SOAPSimple Object Access ProtocolA messaging protocol that allows programs to communicate using HTTP
XAMLExtensible Application Markup LanguageAn XML-based language designed by Microsoft
XHTMLExtensible Hyptertext Markup LanguageAn extension of HTML
XMLExtensible Markup LanguageA language used to store data for transfer between systems
XSDXML Schema DefinitionThe definition of a particular set of XML files
XSLExtensible Stylesheet LanguageThe styling of an XML file
YAGNIYou Ain’t Gonna Need ItA software development principle that says you should only develop for features that you know



These acronyms are related to project stages and processes.

AcronymStands ForMeaning
ATAcceptance TestingTesting the software against the requirements to see if they have been met
BDDBehaviour Driven DevelopmentDeveloping use cases based on user behaviour
BDUFBig Design Up FrontPerforming the design of a system at the start of the project, instead of as you go
BIBusiness IntelligenceGathering and analysing data from the company to perform business decisions
BVTBusiness Verification TestingThe process of verifying the product with a business user to ensure it meets their requirements
DevDevelopmentThe process of writing software code
FDDFeature Driven DevelopmentA method of development that is centred around developing for a feature
PVTProduct Verification TestingThe testing process to ensure that the end product works without issues
RUPRational Unified ProcessA software development methodology, developed by IBM
SITSystems Integration TestingThe testing process to ensure the software integrates with other systems successfully
TDDTest-Driven DevelopmentA development process that starts with test cases, which are then used to develop requirements
UATUser Acceptance TestingThe testing process where end users perform tests and validate them against their requirements
UIUser InterfaceThe display, screens, or windows of an application
UMLUnified Modelling LanguageA standard for diagrams and designing software
UXUser ExperienceThe process of using the application from a user’s perspective. Includes UI, process, and customer journeys
XPExtreme ProgrammingA software development methodology


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