5 Tools Every Engineer Should Know How to Use

Tips & Tricks

As engineers, there are certain tools that we need to know how to use on a daily basis if we want to keep innovating. Here are 5 of the most important tools that engineers need to know how to use.


Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is one of the most powerful tools that engineers have access to. Whether it be running numerical simulations or calculating stresses for a component, you can do just about everything all within Excel. For many engineers, Excel is one of the few programs that they use on a day to day basis. With that said, developing skills in the program and excelling at using the software (yay engineering puns!) are key to the modern engineer. If you want to learn some shortcuts for the program, you can also check those out here.

3D Printers

3D printers are the latest and greatest technology of the rapid prototyping realm, as if you didn’t already know. For engineers, this technology is significant for a host of reasons from product design to just plain fun. Many of us engineers probably don’t need 3D printers for our jobs, but they facilitate creativity and innovation just by using them. As an engineer, there really isn’t a reason you shouldn’t get into the industry when you can get a good printer for $200 and have the time of your life. Plus, knowing how to effectively use additive manufacturing is a useful skill.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is changing the way engineers manufacture and understand production operations. To explain it simply, IoT enables everything from CNC machines to injection molds to be embedded with sensors and connected to a central hub. The technology goes further than this, but IoT is becoming the next biggest technology for industry applications. It is still early in the game in terms of innovation, so the engineer that gets in the game and learns the tech now is going to be leading the pack down the line. If you want to learn more, you can check out this resource here.


CAD is everywhere and if you’re an engineer, then you NEED to know how to use it. There are endless programs out there for a variety of your needs, but how do you know which one to choose? You’ll want to narrow down software packages by what you are trying to do and ultimately make your choice. You can’t make a bad decision when it comes to learning CAD because all of them will benefit you greatly in your career.  Becoming an expert at CAD is also a very achievable goal for the modern engineer, and maybe something you should set your sights on.

Graphing Calculator

Graphing calculators are here to stay and they can be essential tools to the modern engineer if you know how to use them. I’ll admit, many of us engineers probably will have no need to touch a graphing calculator again. However, there are others of us who could stand to brush up on graphing calculator skills to help us in our daily jobs. When you know how to use one, a graphing calculator can crunch just about all of the numbers that you need. Although, so can Excel… so know how to use one or the other as well as you can.

Trevor English

Trevor is a civil engineer (B.S.) who has made a career out of engineering and technical communication. His work has appeared on Curiosity, BBC, Interesting Engineering and other sites across the web. Originally the Chief editor for Interesting Engineering back in 2016, he now works with software & tech companies, aiding them in content marketing and technical communication. Currently living in Texas, he’s also a published children’s book author and producer for the YouTube channel Concerning Reality.

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