Software is basically a series of instructions which tell a computer how to perform a specific function. Whereas hardware is a machine with its own internal processing unit, software is used by a user to tell the machine how to perform a certain operation. Software is one of the most important parts of a computer system as it enables the machine to run more effectively and at less cost. Hardware on the other hand, is hardware and it is used by the computer system to tell it how to perform a particular operation.
The field of computer software engineering covers many areas and subdisciplines. Some of the subdisciplines are computer systems, software, distributed computing, virtual reality, and cognitive technology. In order to study software engineering you need to be interested in how different computer systems work and how they can be modified to make new and innovative products. You must also have an interest in how business users modify and extend existing computer software programs to create new and compelling services, products, and applications.
Examples of popular software used in most businesses include word processing applications, spreadsheets, database management systems, desktop publishing applications, enterprise search engines, customer relationship management, web browser applications, office productivity applications, e-commerce software, marketing software, supply chain management software, and transportation software. In your high school or college career you may have taken classes on computer systems or utility software. Today these programs are still very relevant and valuable in the workplace, but there is a growing need for more generic and user-friendly utility software. These programs will perform more specific tasks and they will do them better than ever before.