What is a Computer?

The very basics of learning about any type of technology involves understanding the systems that it runs on. This is why it is necessary to look at something like what a computer is in order to begin to have a conversation about the types of technology that run on it. As simple as it may sound to talk about what a computer is, it is a vital thing to do to so that everyone is on the same page.

What is a Computer?

There was once a time when computers were not in nearly every home and building in the developed world. In fact, that time wasn’t so long ago. People simply operated with a different set of rules and expectations for themselves. They could get a lot of work done without a computer at all, and that was that. However, it is challenging to imagine trying to do this in our modern world. We have grown and developed so much from the pre-computer days, and most of us never want to go back if we can avoid it.

A computer is a piece of hardware that stores documents, processes data, and helps you keep all of your files and information in an orderly fashion. It may be used to construct presentations, share media (including videos and music), and do so much more. The computer itself has limited functionality without an Internet connection. However, once that Internet connection is established, it is a much more powerful and useful system. It all comes down to how it is used.

Hardware and Software

You may hear people talking about hardware and software when they discuss computer technology, and you may wonder what both of these are and how they relate to the computer itself. The good news there is that we can help you understand both rather easily.


This is the computer itself. The device that you pull out of the box and set up on the desk. It is all of the physical structure of the device. It also includes accessories that you need to use on the system. So, it may also include important things such as the mouse and keyboard. Don’t forget that the hardware also includes the internal wires and devices that make up your device as well. It is all rolled into one for the purposes of discussing the hardware of a computer system.


The software of a computer is an internal set of instructions that tells the hardware what to do. You won’t see the software because it is a string of zeros and ones that direct the hardware as far as what it needs to do. However, the software is a critically important part of the system as well. You may purchase software that is used to aid in the use of the hardware that is your computer. No matter what, it is important to get these things right so you have all of the software that you need to gain full functionality from the hardware that you use.

Different Types of Computers

There are a lot of different types of computers to consider when you are looking at what they are and what they can do for you. The one that likely pops into your mind when you first think about it is a desktop computer. This is the classic computer that literally sits atop a desk and is used in that way. Desktop computers are typically what are available in office settings and the like.

Another type of computer that you have likely seen as well is a laptop computer. This is one that is more mobile and useful in a variety of different settings.

There are other computer types as well that are not necessarily discussed as much. For example, you may not have realized that your tablet device or even your smartphone is a computer in and of itself. It has all of the components that a computer has, but it comes in a different size. This means that you can access the Internet and do many of the same things you would do on a desktop computer from your mobile device. Most people can hardly imagine what it would be like without their smartphone these days, and that is because it is a connected device that powers them forward towards getting more done than they otherwise could.

What are Computer Servers?

Another term you may hear get tossed around a lot is “computer servers”. You might tilt your head and ask yourself what that is. A computer server is actually a critically important part of computer infrastructure.

Businesses often use computer servers to store files and information that they need to retain for themselves but that they also need to keep shielded from the public. Some of the largest social networks and other technology companies are known to purchase entire warehouses of servers to keep up with all of the data and information that they store. In fact, they say that data is the most valuable resource on the planet today, and that is why computer servers are an important part of the modern economy.

Computers Continue to Become More Affordable

When computers first became accessible for the public they were quite expensive. It was difficult to get the equipment necessary to put them together, and many people viewed them as more of a novelty than a necessity. However, much has changed over time. Now, it is far more common for computers to get viewed as a necessity, and it has become a lot more affordable to construct them. There is a system in place to mass produce computers, and people are happy to get a much more powerful device than they used to. All in all, people are generally able to get better computers at a better price, and that is something that makes all of the difference.

When you begin to look at computers and think about all that they really are, make sure you consider the broad scope of all that they can do for our world. When you see them in a fully-formed light like this, it starts to make sense as to why they are so critical to our society today.

There are a lot of people who need to gain access to computers to do the work that they do, and we should encourage greater development of those computers and of all of the resources that are necessary to keep people working effectively in the jobs that they do. Look carefully at the way that computers are built and how they serve the world.