Must Have Software For Those Looking To Start A Career In Civil Engineering

The field of civil engineering is one that is of the utmost importance. It is civil engineers who are responsible for thinking up, designing, then building/constructing infrastructure around the world in both the private and public sectors. Civil engineers are the ones responsible for mapping out the water supply and sewage systems, planning that new airport, building roads, constructing dams and bridges, and basically forging a path into the future.

It’s a field that is growing by 11% between now and 2026, which is well above the national average. What this means is that there has never been a better and more exciting time to break into the field. 

If you are currently researching the steps to get a civil engineering online degree at a school like Michigan Tech, or perhaps you’re already enrolled and are knee-deep in your courses, it never hurts to start preparing yourself for your future career. Part of that career will involve using a variety of software programs that are designed to make your job easier and smoother. Here we’ll take a look at a few of the must-have software programs for those looking to start a career in civil engineering.

AutoCad Civil 3D

When it comes to the software that is the most popular and the most used in the industry, AutoCad Civil 3D easily tops the list. There’s a good chance that no matter what type of career you pursue in civil engineering, you will need this program. It’s able to help with design, simulation, analysis, and so much more. If you’re going to invest in any software at all, this is usually the best place to start. There is even a free 30-day trial that you can use and get a feel for the program.

Microsoft Project

Not every software that you need revolves around the actual design and analysis of a project. You also need to think about project management. This is where Microsoft Project comes in handy. While it’s not designed specifically for civil engineers, it’s got plenty of tools and functionality that makes it a practical option. Many compare it to Microsoft Excel, but it also allows you to work on scheduling, critical paths, managing tasks, and so much more.


As part of your job, there is a good chance that you’ll need to create PDFs on a regular basis. It will also be helpful to do so in a way that you can make edits and markups on them. Bluebeam is designed to do just that. Described as a multi-tool PDF editor, you can go ahead and create PDF files, mark them up, make edits, add red lines, and so much more. It’s one of those practical software programs that you don’t think you need until you actually have it.


Then we have WaterCAD. This software is meant to be used for water distribution networks. Through the program, you’ll be able to create design improvements to pumps, pipes, and more – all to do with the water distribution network.


If it’s stormwater drainage, and sanitary sewer design that you are specializing in, then StormCAD will be an absolute must-have. This allows you to make calculations on all kinds of aspects of the project and design. Tools such as a calculator for inlet capacity, drainage area runoff, pipe network flow, and gutters are all included.


Whether it is residential developments, drainage, or highways that you are designing – Site3D can prove to be a very wise investment. There are many different functions and features of the software, including being able to design road schemes and infrastructure. This includes designing such things as footways, junctions, roundabouts, contours, drainage, surface interfacing, and so much more.

RoadEng Civil Engineer

RoadEng Civil Engineer can make for another wise investment, as this software is used by universities, companies, consultants, and even government organizations both here in the United States and all around the world. What this means is that you’ll be able to work smoothly with international clients and partners since this is such a widely embraced program. As its name suggests, this one is meant to help with road design. This includes rural roads, city streets, and highways, along with corridor, pipeline, and rail projects.

Let’s Not Forget the Apps

Besides software programs, there are also a number of apps that can prove to be very useful to civil engineers. While some of these are stand-alone apps, others can work in conjunction with the software you already have. Stand-out apps include AndTruss2D, which is meant to be a scaled-down version of the Frame and Design app, which is very popular. This app makes it possible for you to work on a layout using keyed inputs.

Another worth looking into is Concrete Design, which can be used by professionals and students alike. It will help you figure out the amount of reinforcement that is needed in a concrete section. You just have to enter in the details and it works on the calculation.

Then there is the Ap4 Project Managers app that helps you to stay organized, on track, and on task as a project manager. All of this will be important if you hope to excel in your chosen field.

Additional apps you can check out include Engineering Libraries, Quick Civil, Civil Engineering, and AutoCAD 360. Of course, the specific ones you need will be based on the clients you’ll be working with.

A Small Look at How Software Can Help

Civil engineering is such a broad industry, encompassing a large number of jobs. With that said, there is no one-size fits all when it comes to the software and apps civil engineers need; rather it tends to be a combination that works before for each person. Familiarizing yourself with the options before you actually get out in the field can help make the transition from student to professional much smoother. It can also help to make you that much more employable since you’ll be ready to jump right in.