What is the Difference Between Software and Program?

what is the difference between software and program

Software and programs are two different terms. Sometimes they are used similarly but are not exactly the same.

The difference between software and program is that software is a set of machine-readable code that instructs a computer to perform specific tasks, whereas a program is a list of steps to carry out a certain action.

Software is a computer program developed particularly to carry out some tasks. Computer applications that execute are called programs such as Word processor. We can say that a program is a subset of software while the software is a superset.

What is Software?

what is software

A list of programs is called software. The software can execute multiple functions, but each function requires a different program.

Multiple programs make up a complete software. It gives instructions to the computer for a certain action.

Software is used in everyday life to simplify and facilitate a task on a computer. It is a non-physical component that lets us use a device or carry out a task.

Software is the opposite of hardware. Hardware refers to the physical part of the computer.

A well-skilled developer develops software. It is built to operate and interact with the hardware part of the system.

The developers who develop and maintain the software are called software engineers.

A software engineer is proficient in communication and dealing with the design and maintenance of software.

Types of Software

Computer software contains two different types of software.

  1. System software 
  2. Application Software

1. System Software

system software

System software acts as a bridge between the user and hardware. Without system software, we cannot install or run any application.

It acts as a base and support for other software and applications. The main purpose of the software is to manage hardware activities.

In other words, system software controls a computer’s internal operations and hardware components.

Operating systems like Windows and Linux are examples of system software.

2. Application Software

application software

Application software enables users to carry out specific activities. It solves a problem and satisfies the user. It is designed for office work. 

The purpose of application software is to ease specific activities, reduce workload, and also for communication purposes and team collaboration.

Application software is therefore also referred to as end-user software as it eases every task for the users.

Application software includes most of the applications that we use on our smartphones.

Examples of application software are WhatsApp, MS Excel, and Spreadsheet software and Zoom.

What is a Program?

what is a program

A program is an element of the instructions a user gives to the computer. Instructions are lines of codes in binary form 0 and 1.

A program allows users to interact with computers and instruct them to carry out important tasks.

Different programming languages are used to write specific programs. A person who writes and tests lines of code is called a programmer.

A program is a line of codes that tells the computer or calculator to sum numbers and perform calculations.

In reality, programs are simply algorithms that have been written using the syntax of a specific language.

A program is a sequence of commands that gives input and generates output. To compare a computer without a program to a person without a brain.

In comparison between software vs program, Software is the parent, while Program is the child.


We can write a program that simply adds up numbers as input into the calculator.

Code for performing addition, we take 3 variables x, y, z.

We initialize these variables with numbers we want to add.

x= 4, y = 6.

Then we use variable z for storing the final result value.

z = x + y
z= 4 + 6
z= 10.

Types of Programmers

There are three types of programmers on the basis of their expertise.

1. Beginner Level Programmer

2. Intermediate Level Programmer

3. Expert Level Programmer

1. Beginner Level Programmer

Beginner-level programmers start with small projects. They are in the learning phase.

Beginner programmers develop highly complex solutions to simple issues.

They need more experience to flourish their skills. They only know the basics of programming.

2. Intermediate Level Programmer

An intermediate-level programmer has an experience of 6 to 12 months. They are proficient in performing their tasks.

They can easily solve their complex bugs and errors in seconds. They can also train and teach beginner-level programmers.

3. Expert Level Programmer

Expert-level programmers have an experience of 2 to 3 years. An expert-level programmer can easily analyze complex algorithms.

They are great at identifying the root cause of the error and fixing it efficiently. They are always ready to resolve any incorrect code.

They specialize in dealing with complex and high-level projects.

Difference Between Software and Program

difference between software and program

Highlighting the comparison between program and software in the following table:

A program is a set of commands given to a computer to perform specific tasks.A software is a term that refers to particular collections of operations.
A program consists of a set of lines of code 0 and 1.Software is made up of a collection of programs and data.
Programs are smaller with sizes ranging from kilobytes (KB) to Megabytes (MB).The software has a greater file size ranging from Megabytes (MB) to Gigabytes (GB).
The development of a program takes less time.Developing software is a time-consuming process.
A person who writes a program is called a programmer.A person who develops software is called a software engineer.
Difference Between Software and Program Table


The main difference between software and program is that software is composed of instructions that tell a computer what to do. In other words, software guides computers to perform tasks and processes in specific sequences. And programs are sets of instructions that tell a computer how to retrieve data. We can count programs as a program that consists of four to six lines of code. On the other hand, we cannot count software, and we can say we have some software.

Read more: What Is the Difference Between Computer Programming and Computer Science?

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