The Best Programs you need to use to be a Successful Civil engineer

I was taught “you learn by doing”. Everyday, I roll up my sleeves and find new ways to be better, not only in my career, but at my personal and family life as well.

I remember in my first ever engineering computer class, I thought I was going to be on the cutting edge floor of the best programs for civil engineering.

Boy was I wrong, the class covered 3 areas of programs: Fortran, 4 years old Excel, and 3 years old AutoCad. I was crushed at that time I was hearing programs like SketchUp and Revit was the wave of the future for our industry. So being in a class that 2/3 of this semester were programs that I previously had in high school was damaging to my dreams of being equipped for the world.

Fast forward a few years, I got my first engineering job and they too were using 2-3 years old AutoCad. I was fustered and needed a change.

I asked myself “What are the big engineering companies using to put out the best work?”  

From that point on, I have been on a mission to learn (play) with the best product to do my job effectively and efficiently.


The Proof is in the Pudding 

My first analysis was new Revit student version vs old AutoCad details: I can normally spend about 45 mins to an hour on a detail (depending on how clear the Architectural plans are). My major hold up was the interpretation of the plans, marking it up, calculations, drawing the details (was a 20 min job alone). In Revit, the model may not be 100% perfect but it closed the gap of interpretation from 50% to 95% accurate. By using Revit, I was doing better, getting better with my details because they were clear.

The Best Programs for Mark-Ups:

Adobe and Bluebeam. Millenniums are no longer carrying mounts and mounts of plans around. Our mark-ups are PDF based. Plus, the messy handing problem we all have can be never seen by other by using these programs. Yes, it was always best to print out one set of your plans to see what the contractor see when it prints.

Adobe is great for small mark-ups like reviewing a submittal or a general plan mark-up.

Bluebeam is get for everything else, detailing, full plan mark-ups, submittal revisions to the contractor.


The Best Programs for Drafting:

Revit and Civil 3D. Wow, what a game changer these programs have been in my life. I guess this is how board drafters felt when AutoCad came along. Revit is used for mostly structure building. Being able to quantity, make schedules, and add typical Cad details are just a cherry on top. Revit can also export into robot (structural analysis program) so it like have the best of both worlds. Civil 3D is perfect for site and drainage calculations. A couple years back they include StromNet into Civil 3D. I enjoy Civil 3D profile capability and it is nice to export to AutoCad to bring into your Revit model.

The Best Programs for Calculations:

Last but not least : 

Maths (in my Benedict Cumberbatch voice). 

Matlab and Tekkla (excel was a close) Tekkla has most of your standard calculations and Matlab is more for special calculations. The reason why I like these two the most because it gives a professional look and it close the margin of error. We are all human young and old. We forget things, life happens, and you attention focus can change. Using these programs cut down your time and being more effective.

When you know better, you do better. By learning these six programs, you are well on your way to being a Pro. You don’t want to be that person that never want to get with the time. You could end up easily replaceable. 
I hope this helps guys. Please subscribe below for this months workbook.

Download a checklist Here

What are your favorite programs?

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