Software Types: The 3 Codes You Need to Know (2023)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: June 2023

Software Types: The 3 Codes You Need to Know (2023)

Software Types

Think about the number of apps on your smartphone right now. Imagine each one of them as a chef in a large kitchen, creating something unique and flavorful. Each ‘chef’ has a specific role, from whipping up a delicious recipe (like Word processing) to baking a perfect timer (your Alarm clock). This vibrant, bustling kitchen is the world of software, and every chef is a different type of software.


Software is the soul that brings hardware to life, guiding it to perform tasks. Types include system software that helps the computer operate, application software for specific tasks, and utility software that maintains and optimizes the system.

Type 1 – System Software: This is like the conductor of an orchestra, making sure all the parts of the computer (instruments) work together harmoniously. It includes operating systems, like Windows or macOS, which serve as a bridge between the hardware and the user.

Type 2 – Application Software: These are the programs that people interact with daily. From Word processors to video games, these software types are designed to perform specific tasks for the user. They are the stars of the show, what most people think of when they hear the word ‘software.’

Type 3 – Artificial Intelligence Software: This is software that can learn from experience, adapt to new inputs, and perform human-like tasks. From Siri to self-driving cars, AI is already changing how we live and work. They represent the cutting-edge and the future of software.

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Software Types In-depth

System Software

Think of System Software as the backstage crew in a theater. You might not see them in the limelight, but without them, the show would never go on. Just like these unsung heroes, System Software works behind the scenes, ensuring that your computer runs smoothly, efficiently, and effectively.

At its heart, System Software is like a universal translator. It interprets your clicks, taps, and typed commands, and turns them into a language your hardware can understand and respond to. Think about the time you hit “save” on a document. To you, it’s just a click of a button. But behind that simple action, System Software is working tirelessly, communicating with your hardware to store your work in the right place.

The star of the System Software show is the Operating System (OS). Imagine the OS as a fantastic multitasking juggler. It keeps countless balls in the air, all at once. While you’re watching a video, the OS is also managing your computer’s memory, ensuring that your latest game download isn’t slowing everything else down, coordinating your hardware and software, and dozens of other tasks you never even see. Famous faces in this realm include Windows, macOS, Linux, and others.

In addition to the OS, there are other players in the System Software team, such as device drivers. These are like bespoke tailors, ensuring that each piece of hardware – be it a printer, a keyboard, or a webcam – fits perfectly with your computer. They translate the general instructions from your OS to the specific language of each hardware device, ensuring everything works together seamlessly.

System Software also includes other critical utilities, like disk formatting tools, system restore functions, and network management systems. They’re the tireless caretakers, keeping everything tidy and running as it should.

In a nutshell, System Software is the engine room of your computer. It’s not glamorous or flashy, but it’s indispensable. Like the best backstage crew, it’s invisible when everything is running smoothly. But when something goes wrong, you realize just how important it really is.

Application Software

Picture Application Software as the leading actors on the stage of your computer. These are the programs you see and interact with every day. They might make you laugh, help you work, or even frustrate you a little from time to time, but they’re always there in the spotlight, ready to perform for you.

Unlike the System Software, which is like the director or stage manager, ensuring all the parts work together, Application Software has one job: to entertain you, or more precisely, to help you achieve a specific task. Just like a movie might whisk you away to a fantasy world, or a play could make you think deeply about life, each piece of Application Software serves a unique purpose.

For instance, consider Microsoft Word, an Application Software most of us have used. Its role? To help you write, from novels to shopping lists, letters to poems. With an array of tools and features, it makes the task of writing and editing simpler, almost as if you have a personal assistant who corrects your grammar, suggests better words, and even reminds you to save your work!

But the realm of Application Software isn’t limited to word processors. Consider a digital artist, paintbrush in hand, bringing their imagination to life on a blank canvas. The canvas here is software like Adobe Photoshop or Procreate, enabling artists to create masterpieces with tools and techniques that might not even exist in the physical world.

Let’s not forget games. Whether you’re crushing candy, building empires, or exploring alien worlds, video games are Application Software too, transporting us into alternate realities for a moment of relaxation or challenge.

Another shining star in the Application Software universe is the web browser. From Google Chrome to Mozilla Firefox, these applications are like our personal spaceships, taking us on a journey through the boundless universe of the internet, visiting websites as if they’re alien planets, each with its own rules, languages, and inhabitants.

In summary, Application Software is the public face of the software world. It’s the programs that you use every day, each one designed to make a certain aspect of your life easier, more productive, or more fun. Like a troupe of talented actors, each has a part to play, and together they make your computer an indispensable tool for work, play, and everything in between.

Artificial Intelligence Software

Imagine you’re in a sci-fi movie. Robots, flying cars, and voice-controlled homes surround you. This is no longer just fantasy, welcome to the reality created by AI Software. This kind of software is like the starship captain of the computing world, capable of learning, predicting, and making decisions. It’s the stuff of science fiction, made real.

AI Software is unique because it’s designed to learn, to improve, to evolve. It’s as if you gave your computer a brain, allowing it to understand, think, and even learn from its mistakes. Traditional software does what it’s told, but AI Software can go beyond, it can predict and decide. It’s the difference between a puppet and a real, live actor.

Let’s look at some examples. You’ve probably heard of Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. She’s an AI program that can understand your questions, find the information you need, and even tell a joke or two. From setting your alarm to telling you tomorrow’s weather, Siri is a helpful companion, ready to assist with a simple “Hey Siri!”

Then there are recommendation engines, like the one used by Netflix. Ever wondered how Netflix seems to know just what you want to watch next? That’s the work of AI Software. By analyzing your viewing history and preferences, it can predict and suggest shows you might like. It’s like having a personal movie critic who knows your taste perfectly.

AI is also revolutionizing the world of gaming. Today’s AI can create challenging, unpredictable opponents that learn from your playing style, turning games into exciting, dynamic experiences. It’s like playing chess with a grandmaster who adapts to your every move.

And let’s not forget self-driving cars, perhaps one of the most exciting applications of AI Software. By processing vast amounts of data in real-time, these vehicles can ‘see’ their surroundings, ‘understand’ the rules of the road, and make ‘decisions’ based on traffic conditions. They’re not just cars; they’re smart cars, capable of getting you from A to B safely and efficiently.

In summary, AI Software is like the magic wand of the digital world, making computers not just tools, but partners. It’s still early days, and AI has a lot of growing to do. But with every step it takes, it’s changing our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined a few decades ago. From virtual assistants to self-driving cars, AI Software is making the future happen today.


As we step off the stage of our software exploration, we can look back and marvel at the diverse characters we’ve met: the System Software running the show backstage, the Application Software playing out fascinating roles in the limelight, and the AI Software, the ambitious starship captain pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Together, they form an incredible ensemble that makes our digital world run. The world of software is a place of endless innovation, a testament to human creativity and curiosity. From behind the scenes to center stage, each type of software has a unique role to play, creating a symphony of interactions that we depend on every day.

How to stay safe online:

  • Practice Strong Password Hygiene: Use a unique and complex password for each account. A password manager can help generate and store them. In addition, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever available.
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  • Stay Informed. We cover a wide range of cybersecurity topics on our blog. And there are several credible sources offering threat reports and recommendations, such as NIST, CISA, FBI, ENISA, Symantec, Verizon, Cisco, Crowdstrike, and many more.

Happy surfing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

What's the difference between System Software and Application Software?

System Software is like the backbone of a computer, managing and controlling the computer hardware so that application software can perform. In contrast, Application Software is created to perform specific tasks that are directly beneficial to the user, like word processing or gaming.

Can I create my own software?

Yes, with knowledge of programming, you can create your own software. This involves writing code in a programming language like Python, Java, or C++. Many resources are available online to learn programming, including free and paid courses.

What is the future of software?

Software is always evolving. We’re seeing a rise in the use of AI and machine learning, which can learn and adapt to provide a more personalized user experience. We’re also moving towards more cloud-based software, which you can access from anywhere, on any device. As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for future software are virtually endless.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

Over the years, he has tested most of the best antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

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