Computer literacy is defined as the knowledge and ability to use computers and related technology efficiently, with a range of skills covering levels from elementary use to programming and advanced problem solving. Computer literacy can also refer to the comfort level someone has with using computer programs and other applications that are associated with computers. Another valuable component of computer literacy is knowing how computers work and operate. Having basic computer skills is a significant asset in the developed countries.
The precise definition of "computer literacy" can vary from group to group. Generally, literate (in the realm of books) connotes one who can read any arbitrary book in their native language[s], looking up new words as they are exposed to them. Likewise, an experienced computer professional may consider the ability to self-teach (i.e. to learn arbitrary new programs or tasks as they are encountered) to be central to computer literacy. In common discourse, however, "computer literate" often connotes little more than the ability to use several very specific applications (usually Microsoft Word, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Outlook) for certain very well-defined simple tasks, largely by rote. (This is analogous to a child claiming that they "can read" because they have rote-memorized several small children's books. Real problems can arise when such a "computer literate" person encounters a new program for the first time, and large degrees of "hand-holding" will likely be required.) Being "literate" and "functional" are generally taken to mean the same thing.