Computer Software

Software is a set of instructions that direct the CPU to perform certain specific operations. The instructions have to be machine readable or, in other words, have to be such that the CPU is able to understand them. Software is of two types – system software and application software. System software is the basic software needed for a computer to operate. The operating system is an example of system software. Application software is the software that performs useful work beyond the operation of the computer itself. Programming languages and packages are examples of application software.

At the lowest level, computer software is broken down into machine language which is a series of binary digits – 0s and 1s. Most software is created using high level programming languages. A programming language is a language written using specific English words. The language compiler then breaks down the high level code to machine language so that the CPU is able to execute the instructions.

Let us take a look at some of the most common software we come across:

Operating System (OS) – The OS is a vital component of the software in a computer system. It manages the hardware resources and provides services for computer programs. Examples of operating systems are Unix, Windows and Android.

Programming Languages – Programming languages are used by software developers to create applications. These are languages consisting of specific words and symbols and are written sequentially and follow a logical pattern. Examples of programming languages are C, C++, Visual Basic and Visual C++.

Packages – These are applications created by software programmers for end users. The use of such software does not require in depth knowledge of computer systems. Examples of packages are MS Word, MS Excel and Internet Explorer.