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Definition: computer literacy

Understanding computers and related systems. It includes a working vocabulary of computer and information system components, the fundamental principles of computer processing and a perspective for how non-technical people interact with technical people. The term has been attributed to Andrew Molnar in the early 1970s. He was director of the Office of Computing Activities at the National Science Foundation.

Not the Electronics
Computer literacy does not deal with how the computer works (digital circuits), but does imply knowledge of how the computer does its work (calculate, compare and copy). It requires a conceptual understanding of systems analysis & design, application programming, systems programming and datacenter operations. It also implies hands-on ability to work the operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux) and common applications such as spreadsheets, word processors, database programs, personal information managers (PIMs), email programs and Web browsers.

Information Requirements Is a Key
To be a computer literate manager, you must be able to define information requirements effectively and have an understanding of decision support tools, such as query languages, report writers, spreadsheets and financial planning systems. To be truly computer literate, you must understand all the entries under "standards" in this encyclopedia, and that is a sure cure for insomnia!