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What is IT really?

Posted: November 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 15, 2013 2:00 a.m.

The week of December 9 – 15th is Computer Science Education Week, observed each year, in recognition of the birthday of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. She was a naval officer and a computer scientist who over 60 years ago conceptualized the idea of machine independent programming language that led to the development of COBOL one of the first modern programming languages.

Contrast those early beginnings with a 2012 paper written by computer science researcher Paul Gibson where he writes “I read educational psychology that suggested it was futile to try to teach [programming to] children who had yet to achieve literacy. But when I made experimental forays into classrooms of 5 and 6-year-olds, the kids grasped the lessons with surprising ease.”

From those esoteric beginnings to a time when even young children can learn to code “information” has become ubiquitous in our world and IT has become ICT.

Many people are not familiar with the term Information Communication Technologies (ICT). It is an umbrella term, widely used outside the U.S. and in the United Nations, to encompass all rapidly emerging, evolving and converging computer, software, networking, telecommunications, Internet, programming, information systems and digital media technologies.

We often speak of industries with open positions that they have trouble filling but ICT actually permeates all industries and indeed there are not enough qualified workers to meet the demand. “Unfortunately, to some extent, it’s still the Wild West for ICT in California,” says James Jones, Executive Director, Mid-Pacific Information and Communication Technologies Center (MPICT).

“Employers are often creating ICT-related job titles and descriptions specific to their organization without reference to occupational frameworks or standards. That makes it very difficult for educators and workforce development specialists to understand in a consistent manner what knowledge and skill sets they should be using to prepare the ICT workforce.”

As a result, ICT-related educational programs are divergent and often misaligned, making it difficult for a student to follow a cohesive path to being prepared for the jobs that are available.

Even more frustrating is difficulty for educational institutions to manage this confusion. At College of the Canyons we are making ICT and Digital Media a priority to align our educational offerings to business needs.

Computer science provides a foundation for virtually any career – everybody can benefit from learning the basics.

Have you ever wondered what goes into writing an “app”?

Well, one of the many activities scheduled for CSEdWeek, is the Hour of Code ( for ages 6 – 106.

Check out the website as there are self-guided tutorials that anybody can complete and learn about programming

- No experience is required!

If you would like to know more about things going on in Information Communication Technologies or Digital Media please check us out on the web or give us a call.

Pete Bellas is the COC Dean of Economic Development and the Fast Track Project Director. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. For more information about the College of the Canyons Economic Development Division, call (661) 362-3521 or visit For more information about the Fast Track Institute, visit or email



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