The Meaning of SDK: What It Is and How To Use It

What does the acronym SDK stand for? This article will teach you about various meanings of SDK and how to use this acronym.

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If you speak to a programmer, they might talk about using an SDK. Okay, but what is an SDK? This article will teach you all about what an SDK is and how to use it. Additionally, it will provide you with alternate definitions of SDK that you might see outside of the world of computer engineering.

What Does SDK Mean?

According to Tech Target, SDK stands for a software development kit. Software and hardware developers use this set of tools to build programs and applications for specific platforms. 

Different operating systems use different SDKs. Therefore, programmers who build applications for a variety of interfaces will need multiple unique SDKs.

App developers at Apple who are making iOS apps might use the iOS SDK. Meanwhile, people who create an Android app would use an Android SDK for mobile apps. New applications for macOS might use another different SDK unique from Apple iOS. 

Several other popular SDKs in the software ecosystem include the Java development kit or a Python SDK.

There are several use cases for SDKs. First, developers will use SDKs to increase their efficiency when it comes to programming and to aid in the optimization of their applications. If a software engineer is provided with an SDK that they choose not to use, this would be a foolish decision. Using an SDK makes programming much simpler and more efficient.

What Is an SDK?

Many elements form an SDK. SDKs include things like code samples, APIs, source code libraries, tutorials, and other building blocks that a programmer can use to develop their application. This simplifies the process, rather than developing an entire application from scratch in a given programming language. 

SDKs also usually provide something called an integrated development environment (IDE). An integrated development environment is one type of visual editor that can help programmers design user interfaces and user experience. It lets developers layout different types of graphical elements — such as buttons — in an easy way. That way, people do not have to worry about coding the design elements of the application exactly but can instead use an IDE to visualize it. 

An SDK will also include different tools which help developers test new features. These development tools include things like a compiler, debugger, and other tools that can assist with building and debugging software. 


If you are learning about SDKs, you might also be learning about APIs. The term API stands for an application programming interface. Application programming interfaces list the proper way a developer should request services from another application or the operating system. APIs are often included within SDKs. 

Developers cannot use an API to create a new application, but it can be a helpful reference during the process. Many devkits include an open source API that anyone can use.

What Are Other Meanings of SDK?

The acronym SDK can stand for much more than just a software development kit. In fact, if you work in technology, business, or for the government, this Acronym has all sorts of different definitions across fields. 

If you come across someone using the acronym SDK in a context where it would not make sense to mean software development kit, someone is probably using SDK to stand for one of the below terms. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to clarify what they mean by an application to avoid confusion.

Meanings of SDK in Technology

While software development kit is the most common meaning of SDK in the field of technology, it can also stand for any one of the below meanings:

  • Self-Development Kit
  • Sekt, Dip and Knowledge Web
  • System Design Kit
  • ShrinkIt Disk (compressed disk image file format/extension)
  • System Development Kit
  • Standard Development Kit

Meanings of SDK in Government

For government employees or those who frequently interact with the government, SDK will likely stand for one of the below. The below meanings of SDK are fairly interchangeable:

  • Skin Decontaminating Kit
  • Skin Decontamination Kit

Meanings of SDK in Business

People who work in business all over the world might hear the acronym SDK stand for one of the below international meanings:

  • Sluzba Drustvenog Knjigovodstva (Croatian, now Fina)
  • Süddeutsche Krankenversicherung (health insurance company; Germany)
  • Showa Denko (est. 1926; Japanese chemical company)
  • Schutzgemeinschaft Der Kleinaktionäre (German: shareholder association)

Meanings of SDK in Organizations

Many different organizations and businesses around the world can use the acronym SDK as an abbreviation for their title or business name. Have you heard of any of the below organizations?

  • Samahang Demokratiko Ng Kabataan (Philippines)
  • Sekt, Dip and Knowledge Web
  • Schutzgemeinschaft Der Kleinaktionäre (German: shareholder association)
  • Sardaukar (Team Fortress 2 Clan)

Meaning of SDK as Slang

The term SDK also has its fair share of slang meaning. If you are in a casual contacts or discussing gaming or anime, there is a good chance you will see SDK defined as one of the below meanings:

  • Single Digit Kyu (gaming)
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo (anime)
  • Starter Deck Kaiba (Yu-Gi-Oh cards)
  • Stompdown Killaz (graffiti crew)


Overall, the term SDK stands for a software development kit. Sometimes, you will hear this referred to as a software development tool kit. This is because SDKs are crucial in the development process. SDKs provide software developers and computer engineers with several tools to help build their applications. 

SDKs include integrated development environments, documentation, APIs, libraries, code samples, and several other tools that can help programmers build their applications in an efficient and effective way. 


  1. What is software development kit (SDK)? | Tech Target 
  2. SDK – What does SDK stand for? | The Free Dictionary 
  3. SDK Definition & Meaning |