The Basics of Computer Software

Computer software is the phrase used to describe a set of instructions, or a program, that lets a computer know what it is supposed to do. Hardware refers to things like the computers themselves, monitors, printers, disk drives and other pieces that are hard, meaning solid and tangible. Programs are not tangible and are given the name software. There are several types of software but the three most common are application, programming and system.

Operating systems, device drivers and utilities are all examples of system software. An operating system is basically like the commander of the computer and organizes all the activities that take place. One of its many jobs is to act as an interface between the user and all the hardware. Also, it distributes system resources for the application software.

Printers, monitors, keyboards and mice are devices that require a device manager. Each device has its own driver that stores all the information that the computer needs to run the device properly and to its fullest capacity. For instance, a keyboard driver gives the computer all the necessary info to recognize and properly carry out the function of each keystroke.

Utility programs have many functions. They are used to maintain and configure computers as well as optimize performance. Cleaning the registry, defragmenting, managing files, portioning the disks, compressing data and backup are common utility tasks. Utility software is almost always already installed on a computer before you buy it.

As the name suggests, programming software helps programmers write computer programs. Source code, or a human readable program, is written in object code, or a computer language. The result is a program. Debuggers are used to test out programs and fix and errors. Additional programming tools include interpreters and text editors.

Everyday tasks performed on a computer are run with application software. Every application a computer does is also referred to as a task. Even a game is a task, or application. When you take over the role of WWII hero, you are utilizing application software. You also use this type of software when you run medical, business, educational and scientific programs.

Companies use applications software everyday to aid with the needs of business. Spreadsheets, payroll, customer service, accounts receivable, inventory management and data base organization are all run with such software. A company may also invest in software that will teach employees to learn a second language to increase worker capability. Software is also used every day in hospitals to run some monitoring equipment. Researchers use it in their labs to test theories in modeling programs.

The software industry is expected to grow by over 50% by the year 2013. There are thousands of computer software companies all over the world and ten times as many programmers working to make the industry even bigger. Job seekers and investors realize how important this industry is and the pace at which it is expanding. It is little wonder that so many people are trying to get involved in this field in one way or another.