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Vol. LX, No. 21
October 17, 2008

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CIT Computer Training Celebrates 40 Years

As the fall/winter 2008 term opens, the CIT Computer Training Program marks its 40th year of service to the NIH community. Things were different in fall 1968, when the Computer Center in the old Division of Computer Research and Training began offering courses to assist NIH programmers, analysts and managers to make more effective use of computers and software. A total of 18 courses were offered. The first training session titled, “SYSTEM/360 at NIH for Computer Operators,” was taught by Elliot Alterman on Sept. 3, 1968.

Over the years, the program has grown and evolved. The 1970’s brought courses for WYLBUR, Dec10 and the beginning of seminars, as well as audio/visual and computer-assisted courses, so individuals could learn at their own pace. To the delight of many, the training catalog added a map of the NIH campus and pictures of the facilities, instructors and students who attended the courses.

As the 1980’s began, so did a change in the computing world. There was enhanced interest in using personal computers to complete daily tasks. A need for courses on personal computing, PC-DOS and with it, the advent of PC/mainframe communication became clear. Also needed were statistical packages such as SAS and SPSS, which have become two of the longest-running courses.

At the 20-year mark, the 1990’s pushed computer training into another dimension. Many classes were retired, including COBOL, FORTRAN, WYLBUR and Dec10, and in their place Unix, Helix, Internet Resources and Microsoft Windows flooded the scene. Courses geared to the scientific community became more prevalent; they currently compose 60 percent of the program.

In the first decade of the new millennium, CIT offered over 220 courses that cover a wide variety of computing interests. In fiscal year 2008, over 10,000 student course completions were recorded. With seminars designed for those in the scientific community, web development, networking, computer security and statistics, the world of personal and scientific computing has clearly advanced over the years.

CIT courses have evolved to keep pace. One of the unique opportunities afforded through the training program allows individuals to share their expertise with colleagues. Are you involved in an emerging field of interest that will benefit the NIH mission? Contact CIT—you may be able to share what you know to benefit others.

Many new sessions this term are the result of volunteer participation. A sampling of new courses includes: Advanced QVR – CRISP/RCDC; AppScan Orientation for ISSOs; SAS Enterprise Guide & Tracking Trends in Science; Leopard Tips & Tricks; GeneSpring GX 10 & Affymetrix for GeneSpring. Popular returning topics include seminars for scientists, QVR, Blackberry, Office 2007 and Web Search: Thinking Beyond Google.

You can obtain full course information, register for classes, join the CIT training mailing list and view your transcript, or current application status, at As in the past 40 years, courses are free for NIH staff. While NIH employees get first priority for classes, contractors are welcome to attend when space is available, the class is related to their NIH work and they have approval from their NIH supervisor.

If you have questions about the CIT training program, call (301) 594-6248 or email NIHRecord Icon

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