Software vs Program: Difference and Comparison

In today’s world, technology plays a vital role. Almost all the work is done on it. Lots of important data are saved and shared through the software and programs.

Computers, mobile phones, laptops, etc., cannot work without instructions. Their instructions are in-built into hardware, software, and programs. These are very important for any technology to function as they help to decode the instructions given.

Key Takeaways

  1. Software refers to a set of instructions or programs designed to perform specific tasks on a computer, while a program is a set of instructions that tell a computer to perform a specific task.
  2. The software includes multiple programs, while a program is a single set of instructions.
  3. While a programmer creates a program using a programming language, the software can be purchased or downloaded online.

Software vs Program

Software is a collection of instructions, data, or computer programs that are used to operate computers and carry out particular activities. While software enables the hardware to carry out certain functions. Softwares have a user interface, which may be graphical or in the form of a command line.

Software vs Program

Software is a set of programs to perform/execute specific tasks (to operate the computers). The software was coined to differentiate it from hardware (physical components). Software is divided into two categories – application software and system software.


IT Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to technology

1 / 10

Artificial Intelligence is a way of _____.

2 / 10

What does AM mean?

3 / 10

Systems for differently-abled individuals is an example of

4 / 10

When a machine possesses the ability to mimic human traits like make decisions, predict the future, learn and improve on its own said to have

5 / 10

Which of the following is not an electronic device?

6 / 10

Machine becomes intelligent once they are

7 / 10

What is the radix of the octal number system?

8 / 10

LED stands for:

9 / 10

The main function of smart assistants like Apple Siri and Amazon Alexa is

10 / 10

The conductivity of semiconductor materials

Your score is


Every software has a user interface (can be in a command or graphical form). Megabyte to gigabytes is the range of size of the software.

A program is a collective set of instructions to perform a specific task. A programmer writes programs in a programming language (like C, C++, etc.). There are no types or categories for a program.

It does not have a user interface, and the size of a program can range from kilobytes to megabytes.

Comparison Table

 Parameters of ComparisonSoftwareProgram
 Definition software is a set of programs combined to execute a task A program is a set of instructions built to perform a specific task.
 Categories It can be divided into two categories – application software and system software. Programs do not have any other categories/classifications.
 User interface The software has a user interface in a command or graphical format. The program does not have any user interfaces.
 Size Software size can range from megabytes to gigabytes. Program size ranges between kilobytes and megabytes.
 Compilation The entire software is ready – developed, compiled, tested, and debugged while being processed. The program is compiled every time we(the user) need some output.
 Examples VLC media, Microsoft Word and Excel, etc Malware, Web browsers (Mozilla Firefox, etc.)

What is Software?

Software is a collection of programs/data built to instruct a computer for its work. Software is the digital portion that runs on the hardware. Software is said to be directly related to and responsible for managing various independent hardware.

The size of the software ranges from megabytes to gigabytes.

The software takes longer to build, and its functionality depends on the operating system. The software has many features like GUI, process, input/output data, etc.

Examples of software- adobe, VLC media, Microsoft word excel, etc.

There are two categories of software –

  • Application software is user-downloaded programs that fulfil the user’s needs or wants. The end-users use them. The application system can be called APP in short. Applications can work with audio, numbers, texts, and a combination of all these elements.

Examples include gaming, database systems, and educational or office software.

  • System software – a base for the application software (platform for other software). Computer programming language is used to write system software.

Examples- include servers, utilities, etc.


What is a Program?

A program is a set of instructions that help a computer or other machines to work/function automatically (completing a task). Programs are written in programming languages like C, C++, Java, etc. It is similar to a script compiled in a language the computer can decode and perform.

The program must be developed and complied with every time a user wants to generate some output. Some programs are made up of many different files, and some are made up of one file.

A computer’s non-volatile memory is where the program files are stored until the user wants them directly or indirectly to execute a task. There are no further categorizations for a program. They do not have any user interfaces.

A program takes less time to build and has a size range from kilobytes to megabytes. The program’s functionality depends on the compiler; it has limited functions and only a few features.

Examples include malware, web browsers (Mozilla Firefox, Apple, Safari, etc.), video games, etc.


Main Differences Between Software and Program

  1. A program is a set of instructions used to perform a task, whereas software is a set of programs.
  2. A program cannot be software, but software can be a program.
  3. A program has no more categories or types, whereas software has two categories: application and system.
  4. A program does not have a user interface, whereas software has a user interface that can be a command or graphical format.
  5. Programs are compiled whenever output has to be generated, whereas software is assembled, tested, and debugged during the development process.
  6. The size of a program is from kilobytes to megabytes and hence takes less time to make, whereas software ranges between megabytes and gigabytes and takes comparatively more time to build.
Difference Between Software and Program

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