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Computer software, also called software, is a set of instructions and documentation that tells a computer what to do or how to perform a task. Software includes all different programs on a computer, such as applications and the operating system. Applications are programs that are designed to perform a specific operation, such as a game or a word processor. The operating system (e.g. Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, Android and various Linux distributions) is a type of software that is used as a platform for running the applications, and controls all user interface tools including display and the keyboard.
The word software was first used in the late 1960s to emphasize on its difference from computer hardware, which can be physically observed by the user. Software is a set of instructions that the computer follows. Before compact discs (CDs) or development of the Internet age, software was used on various computer data storage media tools like paper punch cards, magnetic discs or magnetic tapes.
Fun Software Facts For Kids
Here are 21 amazing facts about software, software development and software developers.
1. The Most Disliked Languages are Perl, Delphi, and VBA
With PHP, Objective-C, Coffeescript, and Ruby following close behind them. Funnily enough, two of the entries in this list, PHP and Ruby, are both still extremely popular with users regardless of how the community views them as a whole.
2. 70% Of The Coding Jobs Has Nothing To Do With Technology At All
That’s right, you or your child could learn to program and apply this knowledge to topics completely separate from technology – like nature studies, geography research, and film and design.
3. Many Owners Of Large Tech Companies Loved Video Games As Kids
In one example, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, who co-founded Apple, first found success by developing their own video game called Breakout. From there, they would go on to become two of the most influential names in tech, earning billions of dollars throughout the years.
4. The First Ever Computer Game Made Zero Profit For Its Team Of Creators
The game, titled Space War, was built from the ground up by Steve Russel, a young computer programmer, and his passionate team of fellow developers. Incredibly, Steve and his team chose not to charge people to play Space War, and instead, happily shared their creation with anyone who wanted to try it out.
5. Computer Was A Job Title
In 1945 the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was turned on and put to use computing trajectories of ballistics during World War II. It was the first programmable, electronic, general-purpose digital computer, and it was operated by six women.
The women studied the machine’s logic, physical structure, operation, and circuitry in order to not only understand the mathematics of computing, but also the machine itself. To use it, they had to manipulate switches and cables by understanding the machine’s blueprints, as programming languages did not yet exist.
6. The First Computer Virus Was A Creeper
Just like a virus infects a human body by replicating versions of itself to pass on to other hosts, a computer virus spreads by inserting its own code and spreading to new computers via networks.
The idea of a computer virus was published in the essay “Theory of self-reproducing automata” by John von Neumann in 1949, but the first replicating computer program was not written until 1971. The program was not actively malicious software as it caused no damage to data, the only effect being a message it output to the teletype reading “I’M THE CREEPER; CATCH ME IF YOU CAN”.
The virus was not created to bring harm, but it did not take long for the idea of self-replicating software to turn to the dark side.
7. The First Programmer Was A Daughter Of Mad Poet
The first person to write our modern understanding of a program was Ada Lovelace. Being the only legitimate daughter of the poet, Lord Byron, Ada’s mother feared her daughter would suffer the same madness as her father. To stave off the madness as long as possible, she dedicated her daughter to studying math and science.
8. Coding Will Soon Be As Important As Reading
In the future, coding and technical literacy may be nearly as essential to daily life as literacy is now. The United States has a literacy rate of 99%. Imagine 99% of the population knowing how to code.
While it may sound difficult, coding can be easier than writing for students who struggle with language mechanics. In 2020, MIT neuroscientists found that interpreting code activates a general-purpose brain network, but not language-processing centers.
9. Most Developers Refer To Themselves Professionally As Developers
This may sound like an obvious result, but there are, as any IT recruiter will attest, a boatload of synonyms that basically describe the same profession: full-stack developer, programmer, architect, analyst, ninja, rockstar, etc. There is also healthy debate over whether a developer is justified in using the loftier sounding title of Software Engineer.
10. A Good Chunk Of Software Development Process Is Outsourced
Considering that hiring professionals and coping with capacity issues can be an ongoing issue for companies looking to boost their businesses, outsourcing software services has become a great choice with excellent results.
The report states that 37% of companies have outsourced software development, fully or partially, in the last year. Out of these companies, 56% of them have worked with software development companies, and 19% prefer a mixture between software factories and freelance professionals. Regarding the satisfaction level, the survey reveals that 64% of them are totally or somewhat satisfied.
11. 1 In 4 Developers Wrote The First Piece Of Code Before They Finished High School
Most of the current developers between the ages 45 – 54 years started coding before they were 16 due to the PC Revolution in the 1970s.
12. StackOverflow.com Is The Site For Most Of The Software Developers Looking For Solutions
About 90 percent of software developers looking to find solutions to complex problems will go to StackOverflow.com. This Stack Overflow has more software developers contributing to this community than any other site. In most cases too, you can quickly find the solution you are looking for on the site while ensuring that the information is reliable and accurate.
Every year, Stack Overflow conducts a survey to gather information related to software developers accessing their site, one of the sites with the most comprehensive software developer surveys ever conducted. More than 64,000 software developers provide their information regarding where they work, what they do, and what technology they use to solve software problems. Here are some interesting statistics collected by Stack Overflow.
13. Most Developers Are Self Taught
While almost all developers eventually get a bachelor’s degree in software development, that is normally not where the love and gift for software development starts. A large majority of software developers start writing in code before they even finish high school. Many have found success from creating their foundation of learning the trade on their own and then perfecting it when they are eventually further along in their education on the trade.
There are also options for online training centers that allow for the information to be learned on your own time and in a location that isn’t college. This is another option that is available for those who are self-taught and want to continue growing and developing their skills independently, yet still need some guidance.
14. The First Instance Of Open Source Sharing Wasn’t Related To Software At All!
The first instance of open source sharing dates back to even before the first computer was developed. In 1911, revolutionary automaker Henry Ford was instrumental in launching the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association. This association launched an open source initiative that witnessed major US auto manufacturers sharing technology patents openly without seeking any monetary benefits in return.
15. The First Open Source Software Is Not Linux But The A-2 System
Many people widely believe that Linux is the world’s first open source software. But this honor goes to the A-2 system that was developed for the UNIVAC compiler in 1953. Users were given access to the source code for the A-2 system and invited to share improvements and feedback.
16. Just Like The Oscars, The Open Source Industry Has The Prestigious Awards Of Its Own!
There’s a chance you have not heard about the InfoWorld Bossie Awards before. Instituted in 2007, these awards are given to worthy winners across several categories. Winners for 2013 include Varnish, Magento, SugarCRM, MariaDB and Nginx, among others.
17. CAPTCHA Was Invented By Alan Turing
That distorted numbers or words on online forms that help with distinguishing humans from computers was also the computing contribution of the famous Turing.
18. The Famous Programming Language “C” Is Named So Because It Has A Predecessor Called “B”
The Programming Language “C” is one of the most popular languages in the history of computer science. In fact, a lot of modern programming languages are based mainly on “C”. for example, C++, C*, Perl, and Java.
However, there was a predecessor language called “B”. the language was created and written in 1969 by Ken Thompson, a Turing Award-winning computer scientist.
The “B” stands for “Byte” or “Bell”, as he worked in Bell Laboratories for most of his career. “B” was later improved by Dennis Ritchie to create “C”.
19. Water Integrator – A Computer That Ran On Water
Vladimir Sergeevich Lukyanov built the world’s first computer in 1936 that solved differential equations in partial derivatives. The amazing fact is that the machine was driven by water.
The construction company that Lukyanov worked with was unable to find a solution for the cracks that used to happen in concretes during winter’s sub-zero temperature. To understand the thermal process better, Lukyanov researched the temperature conditions in concrete masonry. Finally, he built the water integrator machine that could plot graphs and help visualize the thermal process.
Manufacturing plants, research organizations, and educational institutes used water computers well into the 1970s. The use of these hydraulic integrators diminished once the digital computers became more powerful and convenient to use.
20. Apple Once Forayed Into The Apparel Business
Today Apple has made its own distinguished name in everything they do. Take the Mac OS, Macbook, iPod, or iPhone. The company always wants to create an isolated echo system and has successfully maintained it that way.
However, do you know Apple also had a clothing line in 1986? The collection was called ‘The Apple Collection’.It is unimaginable today that Apple was once into the apparel business. The company launched its catalog one year after Steve Jobs had left the company.
21. Google Was Up For Sale In 1999!
Larry Page wanted to sell Google to Excite in 1999. The deal was stuck at around $750,000 and 1% of Excite. But then the deal fell apart. Today Google’s Market cap is over $700 billion. There are two versions of the story around why Excite did not buy Google at that time.
As per the then Excite CEO George Bell, he rejected the deal because Larry Page insisted that Excite replace all its search technology with Google’s search technology.
However, as per the details given by Steven Levy in his book ‘In The Plex’ George Bell was not very happy with Google’s search algorithm’s excellent performance. Bell thought Google’s relevant search results might take the users away to other websites, making it harder to retain the users on their own Excite webpages.
If you are aware of any such interesting facts, do share with us.