Software maintenance is a continual process that ensures the proper function of computer systems. Those who do basic software maintenance keep up to date on basic chores and routine operations, while those who maintain software by altering the code use their specialized knowledge of programming languages.
Workers performing IT and technical support for computer systems and databases plan basic maintenance routines, such as backing up data, applying software patches, cleaning and restoring data. When necessary, they also upgrade the software and hardware that supports the system. IT and technical support workers also maintain software by troubleshooting problems that pop up, fixing them and preventing or at least reducing the possibility of recurrence. These types of software maintenance duties may involve dealing with end users and lay people, requiring clear communication of technical concepts in order to fix problems efficiently.
Software maintenance duties also take place at the level of computer code, a challenge more complex than applying software patches, performing upgrades and maintaining data. Software engineers that maintain software use programming languages such as Java or C++, performing surgery on the code rather than applying a pre-made solution. Depending on the employer, some software maintenance work involves very specific knowledge, such as the ability to maintain databases of bioinformatics for a statistical analysis of specific genomes.
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