The 4 Main Types of Software

On the surface, it may seem as if there are countless types of software out there. However, it’s possible to divide every piece of software into four major categories. Within that, you can fit programs, tools, apps, and games of all kinds

It’s useful to know about this broad overview in order to understand what kind of tools and apps you’re dealing with and what kind of software suits your needs. This also gives you an inkling into how the software works and why you could experience a problem with it at some point.

What Can Software Represent?

Before going into how software can be divided, it’s best to get back to the basics and define what software is. There’s a lot of complexity within it but to put it simply: software is a program (or an application) that executes a command to your computer.

Most of the things you do on your computer or a phone fit into this definition. If you’re trying to send a Facebook message or check the weather report for tomorrow you’re using computer software. The same goes for much more complicated and high-end apps and programs.

Application Software

The most common type of software out there is probably application software. It’s a program known as an “end-user “software that’s used to achieve a particular task. The end-user refers to the person actually using the program and it’s designed with them in mind.

There are countless examples of this type of software and for the most part, the programs you’re using fall into this category. Microsoft Word, internet browsers, an app you use to call a ride, or any other program you’re using to do a particular thing, is application software.

Since there are numerous such pieces of software, choosing the one for your needs may be somewhat challenging without a trial and error process. That’s why review services such as Truely can be useful to the general public that isn’t familiar with every piece of software and how to choose the best one.

Application software can be used on both mobile and desktop devices. The term “apps” is often used for software used on phones, but the two terms are not to be confused.

System Software

System software is the program that makes all the parts of your device run smoothly together. This includes the hardware, real-life parts of the device, and other pieces of software that are needed for the device to run. There are just a few software systems out there, at least just a few of those that are commonly used.

The most common examples of the system software are “Microsoft Windows” and Apple’s IOS. There are not the only ones, however, even though it sometimes feels as if they are. Linux is also a system that is easier to navigate according to some people. It’s an open-source operating system, mostly used by those who want a wide range of options when configuring their use.

System software isn’t used by the end-user on a day-to-day basis. Instead, it’s a piece of software that runs in the background and makes the use of other software possible. Mobile devices have system software as well and it operates in the same fashion.

Programming Software

The third type of software on our list is known as programming software. It’s a computer program designed for end-users, just an application software, but its purpose is different. It’s made for programmers and developers writing code used to produce and run other pieces of software. It’s a program for making programs.

There’s a variety of different solutions made for this purpose but the most common ones include Python, C++, JavaScript, and many others. One of the ways to think about this piece of software as a translating tool. It’s used to translate the input that the end-user provides into an action done by the program.

Unlike other software on our list, programming software isn’t used by the general public. Instead, it’s used by professionals working in the software industry. Writing code is therefore one of the most important skills in the industry and one that’s most sought after.

This piece of software is also changing to become more user-oriented and to allow for more users to make their own software without the need for too many coding skills.

Driver Software

The last type of software on our list is called driver software. The drivers are used to operate the pieces of hardware that are plugged into the computer. The most basic of such examples is your printer. Once you plug the printer inside the computer, it becomes operational and the pieces of software you’re using (such as Microsoft Word) can use it.

Drivers need to be installed once the devices are first plugged into the computer. These too, are somewhat translation tools since they are used to sync up different devices that need to communicate with one another.

This is a piece of software with which the average user won’t interact at all. However, they are essential for using a variety of different tools that your computer or a mobile device has to offer. It’s important to be aware of them, since when it seems that a piece of hardware isn’t operational, it may be an issue with the driver, rather than with the device itself.

All the Pieces Matter

It’s important for the end-user to be aware of all of these types of software even when they aren’t using or understanding all of them. That will help you choose the software that you need and have a better idea of how to use it. Being aware of Operating systems and drivers also allows you to consider how different parts of your computer set up operate in cooperation with one another.

Knowing these broad terms, therefore, isn’t just an academic point, it’s about making better decisions about the actual pieces of software you plan to use in your day-to-day life or when running a business of your own. A great tip is to compare each of the top providers when searching for the right program.

Vivek is a published author of Meidilight and a cofounder of Zestful Outreach Agency. He is passionate about helping webmaster to rank their keywords through good-quality website backlinks. In his spare time, he loves to swim and cycle. You can find him on Twitter and Linkedin.