Learn Tech Skills


To grok something is to understand it at a deep, deep level.

Does tech speak sounds like gibberish to you? Well that may be because sometimes it truly is gibberish, or at least, words that have only entered the English lexicon in the last 50 or so years. Wait, is that all of tech speak? Hmm….

But don’t worry, these new idioms are just as easy to understand as the rest of it and fun, to boot!

Among techies, and sci-fi enthusiasts, to grok something is to understand it at a deep, deep level. To the point where you have become one with the knowledge, it has seeped into your being, and is now an integral part of who you are.

The term was first used by Robert A. Heinlein in his 1961 sci-fi bestseller, Stranger in a Strange Land. In the novel, he wrote:

“Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.”

So how does one use grok in casual conversation? Well, you might hear a Ruby developer say something like:

“I totally grok Ruby. Sometimes, I even dream in it.”

Though, grok is frequently used to mean merely “to know” or “to understand,” [EX: “Hacking on something is a great way to grok it.”] most sources agree that the word is intended to represent a much more comprehensive grasp of a topic.

Cocktail Party Fact

Want more funny sounding tech-y slang? Allow me to introduce you to grok’s cousin, glark. Glark means to be able to figure out the meaning of something, particularly based on it’s context. Glark, you might say, is techie for discern.

For example, you might find yourself saying something like:
“I was able to glark the meaning of grok, given the way that Skillcrush was using it.”

Learn more from The Jargon File.

What tech skills do you want in the New Year?

We are dying to know! In the next few months we are planning a slate of new courses covering everything from programming fundamentals, to WordPress, Ruby, and web design. Below is a list of course that we have planned, but we need your help in prioritizing!

Which courses are you most interested in? Click on the links below to cast your vote. Interested in more than one? No problem, vote for ‘em all!

  1. 1. Build your own blog with WordPress & PHP
  2. 2. Learn how to make interactive websites with JavaScript & jQuery
  3. 3. Make your first web app with Ruby
  4. 4. Learn to design exquisite websites, with The Basics of Web Design
  5. 5. Start making money online with Online Advertising

All links lead to our beta site, beta.skillcrush.com.

Did we miss a topic? Please let us know! Our goal is to make sure that you get the information you need. Tell us in the comments or send us a note at hello@skillcrush.com.