Difference Between Program and Software

Difference Between Program and Software

3 mins readComment
Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Jan 22, 2024 15:59 IST

The main difference between program and software is that a program can be a single line of code written in low level programming languages, and it's small in size, ranging from kilobytes to megabytes. On the other hand, software comprises many lines of code written in high level programming languages. It's extensive in size, ranging from megabytes to gigabytes.

Difference Between Program and Software

In this article, we will explore the differences between Software and Programs in detail. But, before diving deeper into the topic, let's go through the list of topics that we will be covering in this article.

Table of Contents (TOC)

Difference Between Program and Software

For better clarity, let's analyze the difference between these two in a tabular format:

Aspect Program Software
Definition A set of instructions written to perform a specific task. A collection of programs and related functionality.
Composition Can be as simple as a single line of code. Consists of multiple programs, libraries, and data.
Development Often created by a single individual or a small group. Usually developed by multiple people or larger teams.
Scope Specific, aimed at a singular task or a set of related tasks. Broader, encompassing various functionalities and tasks.
Language Level Often written in lower-level or specific languages. Typically involves high-level programming languages.
Size Generally smaller in size, ranging from KBs to MBs. Larger in size, ranging from MBs to GBs.
User Interface Do not have a user interface. Includes sophisticated user interfaces (GUI, CLI).
Compilation Needs to be compiled or interpreted each time it runs. Pre-compiled and ready for execution.
Features Limited features, focused on specific functionalities. Wide range of features and functionalities.
Complexity Simpler in design and structure. More complex, involving extensive planning and architecture.
Development Time Shorter development time. Longer development time due to complexity.
Cost Less expensive to develop. More expensive and resource-intensive to develop.
Knowledge Required Basic programming knowledge might be sufficient. Requires advanced knowledge and expertise in software design.
Dependency Depends on compilers or interpreters for execution. Depends on the operating system for its execution.
Planning Minimal planning required. Requires extensive planning and management.
Documentation Minimal documentation, mostly code comments. Includes comprehensive documentation for users and developers.
Operational Role Performs a specific operation or set of operations. Provides a platform for programs to run and manage tasks.
Example A script that calculates loan interest. Microsoft Office suite, Operating Systems like Windows.

What is a Program?

A program is a set of instructions or ordered operations given to the computer to execute a specific task and achieve a particular result. 

A program has no user interface and can be developed by a single user with basic programming knowledge. Programs are stored in memory and run using a compiler. (Compilers convert the source code into 0s and 1s and generate the output.)

Difference Between Process and Program
Difference Between Process and Program
Are you someone who gets confused with the terms “Program” and “Process” in an operating system? Then this article is for you. This article will discuss the differences between programs...read more

What is a Software?

Software is a collection of programs, procedures, data or instructions that enables the hardware to accomplish a well-defined task. 

The software can encompass single or multiple programs and is usually written using high-level programming languages. It offers command-line or graphical user interfaces. Unlike programs that require software to run, software can run independently and does not rely on specific programs.

Types of Software in Computer Systems
Types of Software in Computer Systems
Software are important program through which computer system is run. Based on two broader classifications, software is of two types: system and application software.

Understanding the Characteristics of Software
Understanding the Characteristics of Software
Software refers to a set of instructions, data, or programs used to operate computers and execute specific tasks. It is the non-tangible component of computers, in contrast to the hardware...read more

There are two types of software:

  • Application Software: It is a type of software that users access to perform a specific task. Users can simultaneously install and run "n" number of application software on a computer. Web browsers, WhatsApp, etc., are examples of application software. 
  • System Software: System software is the main software of the computer that has direct access to the system's hardware. It acts as a bridge between application software and system hardware. Bootloaders, Operating systems, etc., are examples of system software. 

For more information about application and system software, you can explore these articles:

What is Application Software: Features and Function
What is Application Software: Features and Function
Application software is one of the two main types of software. It performs specific tasks and is for the purpose of end-users’ requirements.

What is System Software: Features and Components
What is System Software: Features and Components
System software is one of the two major types of software. It helps in generating user interface and allowing operating system to interact with the hardware of the computer.

Difference Between System Software and Application Software
Difference Between System Software and Application Software
Software’s are set of program, procedure, and routine that tells computer what to do. They are broadly classified into system software and application software. In this article, we will discuss...read more

Key Difference Between Program and Software

Here are the key differences:

  • A program can be a single line of code, but software can't.
  • Programs require software to run, but software can run independently.
  • Programs cannot be further classified, whereas software can be classified into application software and system software.
  • A single program cannot be classified as software. In contrast, software can encompass a single program or multiple programs.
  • Programs are generally written in low-level programming languages, but software is written using high-level programming languages. 
  • A program is compiled every time output is needed. On the other hand, software is pre-compiled and debugged during development.
  • Programs are generally small in size, ranging from kilobytes to megabytes. On the other hand, software is large, with sizes ranging from megabytes to gigabytes.
About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio