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5 Basic and Important Types of Computer Software

5 Basic Types of Computer Software

In this digital era, we are surrounded by different types of computer software, all designed in a bid to make our life easier and more efficient. Day-by-day, we see software trends increasing rapidly, in numbers as well as functionalities, created by expert software development companies for personal use or to automate business processes.

Behind every functional digital device is the software that runs them, ranging from complex self-parking car, to the ones we use on our personal computers including word processors, photo editors, pdf readers, website browsers, email clients, presentation programs, media players, etc.

However, having a basic understanding of these computer software types can give anyone a glimpse into how they work, and how they could be useful for business growth – which is what we be focusing on in this article but first, we will define what a software is.

What is a Computer Software?

Computer Software is a collection of instructions, data, programs or rules that instruct/tell a computer system or other digital devices how to work. Or in other words, software is a computer program that provides a set of instructions to execute a user’s commands and tell the computer what to do.

Different Types of Computer Software

1.      System Software:

This is one of the core types of computer software that directly operates or controls the computer hardware and provides the basic functionality to users as well as to other software to operate smoothly. In other words, System software controls the internal functioning of a computer device, chiefly through an operating system, and also controls other hardware devices as monitors, printers, and storage devices.

Characteristics of System Software include the following:

  1. It relate closely with the computer system or hardware component rather than the end-users.
  2. It is written in a low-level language (machine language) in general which improve the speed of interaction.
  3. They work in the background which makes it is less interactive for users.
  4. It is very complex to understand and to design, making it comparatively difficult to manipulate.
  5. It is much faster in performance.

There are also different type of System Software:

  1. Operating System: this is the main program of a computer system, which consist of a set of software that handles computer resources and services while providing a platform for other types of computer software to run. It is the software that takes over the system once the booting process is complete. It manages resources such as CPU, printers, storage devices, memory, etc. Examples of operating systems include Adriod, iOS, Ubuntu, Unix, Linux, Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows, etc.
  2. Language Processor: this type of system software converts the human-readable language known as source code (high-level programming languages) such as Java, C, C++, Python, etc., into a machine language that are easily readable by machines and vice versa.

2.      Application Software:

This is a product or a program that is designed to only perform a specific task or provides functions that are much more than the basic operation of the computer in fulfillment of end-users’ requirements. Examples include word processors, spreadsheets, image editors, gaming app, web browser, database management, inventory, payroll programs, etc.

3.      Programming Software:

This is also known as a programming tool or software development tool. These types of computer software are development environments which assist software developers or programmers in the creation, debugging and maintenance of other programs and applications. Examples include Eclipse, Notepad++, Android Studio, XCode, GitHub etc.

4.      Driver Software:

This is a program or software that controls a device like a printer, mouse, modem, and helps that device to perform its functions and to connect with the computer system externally.

5.      Firmware

This is one of the types of computer software that stored on a computer’s motherboard or chipset whose job is to tell an electronic device how to operate. It provides the low-level control for a device’s specific hardware.  They are mostly held in non-volatile memory devices such as ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, and Flash memory. Example includes BIOS which checks the drive for errors then queries if the operating system is present – if so, it then turns control over to the operating system.


Modern businesses require modern software and because of the complexity behind creating a useful and fully functional software, only an experienced computer software development company or team with the right understanding of the varying types of computer software can align and deliver solutions that run optimally across different environments, also interacting seamlessly with other software.

Podtech builds software systems that can stand the test of time, using fast and efficient software development methodologies that best suits the project at hand to ensure the best software product for your business needs.