Since the 1990s, computers have become a part of everyday living for many people in the world. Most white-collar jobs, and now even many blue-collar jobs, involve the use of a computer in some form or another. In the medical industry, many hospitals now use handheld computers loaded with their patients’ chart information. Cash registers are now computers that track the sales of products for the store owner or manager. Very few occupations or industries do not use a computer in some form for some function. But all of these computers would not be useful at all if they were not programmed to do what users needed them to. That is where the computer software industry comes into the picture.
The software industry is composed of programmers, designers, marketers, sellers, and others who create the programs users need and then market them and sell them. Some programs are designed for general use and mass consumption, while other programs are custom-designed for a company’s needs. Computer software companies typically provide software for a specific niche or function. For example, some companies develop software for engineers, while others develop software for traffic control.
The field of computer software can be divided into three primary segments: corporate information services (IS) departments, software vendors, and consultants. Corporate IS departments usually implement and support software and hardware products for companies that produce nontechnical items or services. They work with the individual departments or lines of businesses within the company and their software needs. They then fill gaps by creating software the company needs to make it operate more efficiently, or they reprogram and improve existing software.
People who work for software vendor companies focus on creating products for sale. These products could be mass marketed for consumers, such as tax programs, home accounting programs, or home budgeting p...