The basic definition of software is as follows; “Instructions that tell a computer what to do and when and how to operate.”
Software is the middle man between computers and the people who use them—enabling people to execute a range of tasks on a PC by putting our requests into a digestible format the computer can process.
The term software was brought about to differentiate itself from the physical components – the hardware.
To make software, software development engineers enlist expertise from computer programmers to design the code, which will ensure the software runs as desired.
The Origin of Software
Software emerged in 1948 in England as more engineers and developers sought to design systems that could address large-scale operations for companies.
However, the theory of software was credited much earlier to a mathematician, computer scientist, and logician, Alan Turing, in 1935.
Tom Kilburn, a computer scientist, wrote the world’s first software piece for a computer he had built with his friend Freddie Williams, called the Manchester small scale experimental machine, aka Baby.
The software created by Tom was programmed to perform mathematics based on code instruction and data.
On 21st June 1948, at 11 am, Tom ran the first software piece at the University of Manchester in England.
It reportedly took 52 minutes for the machine to compute the initial mathematical request, which was to conjure the greatest divisor of 2 to the power of 18.
After this software emerged, numerous advancements followed, such as;
- Punch cards used to program computers and denote instructions.
- Fortran, a programming language, was published in 1957.
- Other distinctive programming languages developed over the years, including BASIC, Pascal, Cobol, and C.
Personal Computer (PC)
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke (Author)
Once personal computers launched in the 70s and 80s, software improved dramatically.
For instance, in 1977, the Apple 2 computer was released to the public with a popular app called VisiCalc. VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet for PCs, and it was very popular.
Over time other businesses created their own PCS. For instance, the IBM PC was launched in 1981.
At this time, software was primarily created with business functions in mind. Popular applications, including AutoCAD, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Word, launched in the mid-80s.
The first mobile phone took place on 3rd April 1973. Later on, in 1993, IBM released the first smartphone to the public, and then in 1996, the Personal Digital Assistant emerged in the market.
Other notable mobile phone releases include the Blackberry 850 devices in 1999 and 2007 when Apple released their first mobile – the iPhone. At this point, mobile application software took the world by storm.
Present Software Development
Today, every business is using software to some degree. Be it a small furniture restoration company using accounting software to keep their books afloat. Or a gaming company is incorporating poker software for their audience. Retail, finance, transportation, healthcare, and so forth all require software to some extent, and here are a few reasons why;
- Software can enhance productivity by completing arduous, time-consuming, routine administrative duties and accounting tasks.
- Cyber security software is advantageous for companies with important intel stored on their business devices. Enabling users to detect and eliminate any threats that could jeopardize the livelihood of their company.
- Spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice enable businesses to collect, record, edit, organize and put data into a readable format.
Moreover, software’s total capacity is yet to be reached, with operating systems experiencing continuous improvement in writing software and other apps.
Future of Software
As such, with software penetrating almost every industry imaginable, it’s expected that more operations will become mobile-based.
Thus, anyone who has a new digital concept will likely source app software development services to bring their idea to life.
Another burning question regarding software development today is whether AI could eventually take over the role of software engineers.
The answer so far is while more routine tasks will be passed over to computers over the years. There will still be room for engineers to implement solutions, research, and new software concepts.
“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” – Elbert Hubbard (Author)
Moreover, there won’t necessarily be a dip in need for software developers, but a change in demand for experience and qualifications in the following trending software services;
- Cloud-based services
- Voice software
- Blockchain technology
- Artificial intelligence
- Machine learning
- Virtual and augmented reality
- New programming languages
Today, software is often taken for granted by personal and business users alike. Because as technology advances, our expectations of devices rises.
And continuously improving software is paramount for inventors and customers alike. To ensure demand for faster, more powerful, intelligent software that can take care of the intricate work or personal tasks people need to do can be completed without little input on their behalf.