I'm often confounded when trying to articulate in a concise manner that a person is literate or savvy in matters technical (i.e. computers, software, IT).

For example, I am composing an email with the following:

"I need to setup a time to present a more "high-level" demo for our Vice President of Technology. It would not need to be quite as granular as the previous demo, however this VP is technically knowledgeable so he may ask detailed questions about the application."

I think "technically knowledgeable" may read a bit vague. It sounds to me like it could mean someone who is familiar with technology, or someone who is knowledgeable in the "technical" sense of the word about something else.

Describing someone as being "technical" is even worse in my opinion. Anyone know of, or use a better method to express this?

  • 2
    I need to set up a [scenario]. Two words. The one-word (or hyphenated) form is only used for the noun usage. – FumbleFingers May 25 '16 at 17:06
  • I hope for your sake he's not technically knowledgeable enough to read your email - It is extremely condescending. I'd don't think too many addressees would assume the VP is a ninny, so you don't need to explain that he isn't one. Why is "high level" in quotes? I've worked in places where that sort of note would have gotten you fired on the spot. – Phil Sweet May 25 '16 at 18:45
  • In my field we regularly have to adjust how we present or speak about our work to groups based on the type of audience. "Technical" and "non-technical" is the common shorthand and it's neither derision nor a reflection on one's proficiency or capabilities. A CFO isn't going to want to hear the details of the 5 Next-Gen Cryptographic Algorithms built into a system, and a technical audience isn't going to like an presentation covering only legal issues, compliance, return on investment, etc. – Zane May 26 '16 at 14:13

You have already used "savvy" to describe what you want, so try technologically savvy.

A basic definition of "savvy" is

shrewd, possessing practical knowledge

Which is pretty spot on, without being overly specific about how the individual came by that knowledge.

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  • In fact, if the OP used 'savvy' bare, the context might even do some work to bring the interpretation to 'technologically savvy'. – GrimGrom May 25 '16 at 21:01

Be specific.

If this VP comes by his or her technical knowledge because of prior training, say, "...this VP has an engineering degree, so..."

If this VP comes by his or her knowledge due to prior experience, say, "...this VP previously headed the Debabelizer project, so..."

Or whatever specifics might apply in this instance.

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If you want to say something specific, you need to point that out. Do a bit of research on the person you are writing about and once you have found out their field of expertise, then you would able to write something like:

'Tom has extensive experience regarding numerical modeling of XX'.

Saying 'Tom is tech savvy' or 'Tom knows a thing or two about technology' are two ways of expressing only vaguely that Tom is good at tech.

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  1. What does "more 'high-level'" mean? Was it "less 'high-level'" in your last presentation? That sounds silly, doesn't it?
  2. What is the level referring to? Is it a demo product? Is something ready for beta testing? Was the last demo of only blueprints? A block diagram? Should you say something like, "...to present our release candidate/prototype for our VP..."?
  3. Regarding the VP's skill, consider the following: "It won't be as granular as the previous demo, although the VP is no slouch so expect to field questions regarding all levels of development." The context fills in for the reader what, exactly, the VP is not a slouch in, so it doesn't need to be specified. Consider another word such as "astute," if preferred.
    • Remove words like "quite," which don't anything to the reader's understanding.
    • Is this demo an inevitability? Is it such that it "would not need to be" presented in a certain way (but could be), or "will not be" presented in a certain way (for certain)?
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  • This is high-level in the business context, meaning more of an overview of the application, as opposed to our previous presentation which was low-level in that it covered the minutiae of the application. – Zane May 26 '16 at 13:47

A quick way to convey your meaning might be to use "accomplished" or "skilled" to describe them. They can also be described as an expert, specialist or even gifted. You could also expand from single word usage to simply backing up your claim that this VP is technically knowledgeable with a short list of his/her accomplishments.

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