Software is the name for the computer programmes which contain the instructions to run apps, games, applications, even machinery.
After all, there are computers in pretty much everything these days!
There will be computer programmes inside kitchen appliances like washing machines, inside the cars we drive, not to mention electronic toys and smart watches. And they are used in helping manufacture all these things too – whether a car on a production line of a plastic drinking bottle.
But how do software engineers make a programme? It’s not like building a house where you’ve got bricks and cement to work with.
Software has its own building blocks – computer code!
Just like there are hundreds of different languages spoken around the world, there are hundreds of different computer languages which create different types of code. Software engineers learn these languages and use them to create computer code.
It’s hard enough learning one language – do you have to learn ALL the languages?
I’m sure there are some very smart computer programmers who do know a large number of computer languages but often software engineers will specialise in just one. It might depend on the type of programmes they’re writing.
If the programmes you write are going to carry out complicated calculations, and if you want to be able to sort and analyse data then SQL is the language you need.
A very popular language is called C – it’s used in a lot of ways – often in the background, where it can talk to hardware. It might be giving the instructions to a hydraulic robot on a car production line…
Computer code is also used to connect apps and smart gadgets. A control app can connect with a clock app to set an alarm or connect to a music app to play your favourite tune.
It can even connect to smart lightbulbs and switches inside your house to turn appliances on and off when you’re not there.
Techno Mum: Technology & Engineering for Kids
The tech podcast taking a look at the engineering behind the gadgets we use everyday!