Essential Software Tools that every Civil Engineer must master

by Shoeb Siddiqi

There are number of software’s related to civil engineering it is not necessary that as a civil engineer you need to know all the software. Although there are various sub-disciplines in Civil Engineering, each has their own comprehensive software, serving the purpose of that particular discipline.

The learning of particular software or its usage will be completely dependent on the field a civil engineer works. Since the inception of AutoCAD by AutoDesk, the revolution is manifold in development of software related to civil engineering and architecture.

MS Office package and AutoCAD are the basic software that a civil engineer must know. MS Excel from MS Office package is globally used for all. Also AutoCAD is exorbitantly used for most of the engineering works, civil engineers use it for basic 2D plans, elevations and drawing generations, and 3D drafting works. There are many other software as mentioned earlier usage of which will depends on the nature of work. Listing out all the software is and obtuse task, I’ll try to list out the software generally used by civil engineers.

AutoCAD by AutoDesk, is leading the innovation of software which is disrupting the way we design and analyze. It is producing numberless software for Architecture, Construction, Engineering, Manufacturing and Design. AUTOCAD 3D version is also available for 3D Modeling.

MS Excel or MS Office Package is used for almost everything from calculations to interpreting, calculating and modifying data, or generally can be helpful in cost estimates and cost control.

STAAD.Pro is the structural engineering professional’s choice for steel, concrete, timber, aluminum, and cold-formed steel design of virtually any structure including culverts, petrochemical plants, tunnels, bridges, piles, and much more through its flexible modeling environment, advanced features, and fluent data collaboration.

Primavera is a construction Planning and Scheduling software, which is opted by almost all the planning and scheduling professionals, MS Project which is similar software by Microsoft does similar work.

REVIT is an intelligent 3D model based software by AutoDesk used for Building Information Modeling, that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure, can be termed as one of the 21st century’s greatest innovation helping big infrastructure projects

ETABS/SAP2000 are the software available for design and analysis of structures.  It is also used in many structural firms. Both of them offers unmatched 3D object based modeling and visualization tools, blazingly fast linear and nonlinear analytical power, sophisticated and comprehensive design capabilities for a wide-range of materials, and insightful graphic displays, reports, and schematic drawings that allow users to quickly and easily decipher and understand analysis and design results.

SKETCHUP which was introduced by the tech giant Google but was later acquired by Trimble is a 3D modeling software used for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film and video game design. Sketchup is one of the easiest software available for 3D designs and which can also be used for BIM purposes.

3DS MAX is an animation software which is used to generate visuals. It is modeling and rendering software which is mainly used for interior design and visual graphics, which is again developed by AutoDesk.

Midas General, Safe, ABAQUS, Tekla are some other software used for Structural Design and Engineering.

Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, Autodesk Maya are for Drafting and designing.

GAMBIT, Ansys FLUENT, Ansys CFX, Flowmaster, HEC-RAS are for Fluid Mechanic Design.

Python or Matlab for coding calculations.

Arc GIS, GeoMedia Professional are used in Geoinformatics.

Sage, Synchro CostX, Navisworks, Candy, OnScreen Takeoff etc, are used for cost estimations and scheduling of construction projects.

Being a civil-engineer it is always an advantage to know at least four to five software tools to ensure you can switch your field of work.

Choosing to learn software solely depends upon the field you are opting to work for, companies hiring will typically search candidates with the technical knowledge ability and software-skills which they are majorly into.

If you are in Hyderabad-India and wish to learn construction techniques and software tools related to civil engineering feel free to contact the contributor of this blog at or visit his institute.

Shoeb Ahmed Siddiqi holds a Masters Degree in Construction Management. He is Manager (Projects) at a leading Pre-Fabrication firm in Hyderabad which executed the Inauguration Works of Hyderabad Metro Rail, he has also worked at projects like World’s Tallest Air Traffic Control Tower at New Jeddah Airport and City Land Mall – Dubai. He is also an Educational Trainer at Indo-Tech Institute of Quantity Surveying, Hyderabad – India.