4.8. Summary

Key Takeaways

  • Software gives the instructions that tell the hardware what to do.
  • There are two basic categories of software: operating systems and applications
  • Operating systems interface with the computer hardware and make system resources available
  • Application software focuses on the work of a user or an organization.
  • Desktop applications are typically designed for a single user. Enterprise software supports multiple users in an organization or work group.
  • Cloud computing provides access to software and databases from the Internet via a web browser.
  • The software as a service (SaaS) category of cloud computing gives companies access to a large assortment of software packages without having to invest in hardware or install and maintain software on its own computers.
  • Shifting IT functions to the cloud produces a number of advantages, including cost savings, speedy delivery of software, scalability (you pay for only what you need), employee mobility, and a reduction in information technology staff.
  • The following disadvantages of cloud computing are cause for concern: disruption in internet service, security issues, and unreliability of service provider systems.
  • Software can be built (proprietary) or purchased (off-the-shelf).
  • Open source software is software where the source code is available for anyone to copy and use.

Review Questions

  1. What is software? What are the different types?
  2. What does an operating system do? What are the functions?
  3. What are some examples of desktop operating systems and application software?
  4. What are some of the top application programs for mobile devices and smartphones?
  5. How can software be obtained? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?
  6. What is open source software? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
  7. What is software as a service?
  8. What is open source software and why is it important?



This assignment is designed to help you identify common software applications used in the industry.


In this assignment, you will explore local job postings to identify software programs most in demand for a career in your field of study.

  1. Search the internet for a job posting in your field of study that is interesting to you. Provide a link to the job posting.
  2. Write a short description of the software required for the job, and discuss why this software is beneficial. You can also provide links to resources to help you and others learn the software. 


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Information Systems for Business and Beyond Copyright © 2022 by Shauna Roch; James Fowler; Barbara Smith; and David Bourgeois is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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