Glossary

  • 2FA - Two-factor authentication: entering a second, temporary code in addition to a username and password. 2FA provides added security when logging in to programs, like GitHub, remotely.

  • 508 - The federal regulation that requires government IT projects be accessible to people with disabilities.

  • API - Application programming interface. Think of them as a way for computers to interact, either internally or between one another. If you wanted to make a website that shows the current temperature wherever you are, your code talks to one API to get your location, then another to find out the weather in that area.

  • ATO - Authority to Operate. It’s a sign-off from an authorized agency official for a website to be allowed to engage with citizens, including security and some other stuff. Historically this is a three to six month process, but 18F has been working to fix this. Noah Kunin can sometimes help speed the process.

  • AWS - Amazon Web Services. When we make websites, this is where they all live. Read easy-to-understand descriptions of the different pieces here.

  • AWS - Alternative Work Schedule. Working eight, 10-hour days or working nine, nine-hour days in a pay period.

  • Back end developer - The people who write the code for the parts of a web site you don’t see, working in programming languages like Ruby, Python, or NodeJS. They work on pieces of the application that, for example:
    • Generate shopping recommendations
    • Gather all of the information for search to work
    • Trigger emails being sent
  • CHRIS – GSA’s Comprehensive Human Resources Integrated System is an e-Tool that enables employees to access their personnel files online.

  • Dev - someone who does software development. A “coder.”

  • Dogfooding - To “eat your own dog food.” For our purposes, this means using the things we build.

  • ENT - Your username and password (which are called “credentials”) for doing things like:
    • Dell computer log on
    • GSA two-factor authentication
    • BookIT
    • Logging on to gsa-wireless
  • Front end developer - The people who work on the parts of the site that you see, making the page look the way it’s supposed to, have buttons in the right places, etc. They write HTML, CSS, and usually JavaScript (though it can be anywhere from “I’ve copied-and-pasted a couple of things” to expert).

  • Full stack developer - Someone who does both front end and back end development.

  • GCIMSGSA Credential and Identity Management System, a GSA internal web database that provides authoritative information on GSA personnel, work locations and credentials. GCIMS also stores your contact information, so you may need to update that from time to time.

  • GDS - the UK’s Government Digital Services are government pioneers and fellow technologists across the pond.

  • GitHub - A website to help people collaborate to build software. It’s a tool that can be used for finding projects, proposing fixes, having discussions, and more.

  • Grok - To fully understand something.

  • IAA - Interagency agreement. A contract between federal agencies.

  • MOA - The Memorandum of agreement, created between GSA and FAS establishes us through 2018.

  • MOU - Memorandum of understanding.

  • OLU - On-Line University, where our team’s mandatory training classes are hosted.

  • OTP - One-time password. In Atlanta, this refers to “outside the perimeter,” as opposed to ITP (inside the perimeter).

  • PIF - Presidential Innovation Fellows serve on highly competitive, one-year appointments, which fall within 18F.

  • PII - personally identifiable information.

  • PRA - the Paperwork Reduction Act, enacted in 1980 aims to reduce the burden of federally imposed paperwork for U.S. businessess and the public.

  • SLT - Senior Leadership Team.

  • The Hub - You’ve found it! Basically our (partially publically visible) site, used to share documentation and guides among the team.

  • USDS - The United States Digital Service reports to the White House.

  • UX - User experience. Basically, this means building things with a focus on who the user is and what they want to do, rather than just what it should look like.

  • VPN - Virtual Private Network is a way to pretend that you’re on the GSA network when you’re not in a GSA building, which also makes your Internet connection more secure. It’s required for access to some GSA sites. See VMware Horizon or AnyConnect.

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