An integrated circuit, or IC, is many transistors packed into a single part. The transistors inside an IC create subcircuits, and when the IC is connected to external parts, a complete circuit is made. This allows engineers to create complex circuits with only a few parts. Integrated circuits have pins for power, ground, inputs, and outputs. Integrated circuits come in all kinds of packaging but are usually encased in a black epoxy rectangle with pins to the side or underneath.
There are hundreds of thousands of different ICs, all with different functions and specifications. Some are used to manage power, others amplify signals. One of the best ways to learn more about electronics, beginner or expert, is to read the datasheets of different ICs. Datasheets will show what the IC does, what parts it needs to connect to, and the theory behind how it works. You can see all the integrated circuits available on Digikey by clicking here.