Computer Applications Technology is the study of the integrated components of a computer system (hardware and software) and the practical techniques for their efficient use and application to solve everyday problems. The solutions to problems are designed, managed, and processed via end-user applications and communicated using appropriate information and communication technologies (ICTs).
ICTs are the combination of networks, hardware, and software as well as the means of communication, collaboration, and engagement that enable the processing, management, and exchange of data, information, and knowledge.

What do you learn in CAT?
The primary learning outcome for CAT is to help students to develop their computing skills so that they can effectively use a computer in a future career or further studies. This learning outcome is achieved through a number of different topics that are relevant to developing computing skills. The general curriculum outlining the major topics is given below:

Solution Development – This involves learning how to use certain computer programs that are common in the workplace and commonly used by students pursuing tertiary education. Students are taught to use programs such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, email applications, and internet applications used for surfing the web.

Systems Technologies – Students are taught to understand how information and communication technologies (ICTs) make up a computing system. ICTs represent the entire system that makes up a computing system, including the network, hardware, software, managing and processing data etc.

Internet Technologies – In this topic, students are taught how to use the internet for research as well as the role the internet plays in the transfer of data around the world. Being able to use the internet efficiently can be a tremendous advantage in a career or in tertiary studies.

Network Technologies – This topic teaches the student to understand the technologies and protocols that are involved in the transfer of data through various computer networks. The transfer of data through computers and over the internet is a complex and confusing process, so this topic tries to simplify how this works.

Information Management – With such a large amount of data available on the internet, it is important to be able to sort through this data to find authentic information. Information Management helps students to be able to determine what information is valuable, and then how to interpret that information and draw relevant conclusions. Finally, the student is then taught how to present their findings in an efficient and useful way.

Social Implications – This is a topic that helps students to understand the implications that computer technologies have through society. Specifically, the topic is designed to explain the legal, ethical, social and security issues surrounding computers and the internet. It is important to understand the role that computer technology plays in modern society, and to use this technology responsibly.
Simply learning about the tools and methods used in computing is not the only objective in Computer Applications Technology. There is also an emphasis on trying to develop the student in other ways that will be beneficial when engaging with computer tasks in a job or in a tertiary institution. In particular, students are often put in groups to work on projects in CAT as this helps to develop leadership, management and collaboration skills, all of which are useful ‘soft skills’ that are valuable when working or pursuing further studies.