Tools of the Trade

Code School Book — Morgan Lopes and Tim Whitacre (22/30)

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The quality of your work will rely on your tools and of your level of comfort with them.

Prior to software engineering, web browsers were the main software I used on my computer. I remember how confusing it was early on to bounce back and forth between the browser, command line, and text editor. I was constantly typing console commands into a text file or hitting the save command within a terminal window. Not only did my understanding of the computer increase over time, but so did my dependence on its many capabilities.

During code school, you were introduced to many tools. Nothing compares to the number of tools that appear while you’re on the job. There are many brands and options within each category, but the following list outlines the tools of the trade.

Beyond the tools associated with your respective programming languages, these are the types of technology you’ll encounter on the job with a few examples of each:

  • Web Browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox)
  • Text Editor (Sublime, VS Code, VIM)
  • Notes (Notes, Evernote, Bear, Obsidian)
  • Project Management (Jira, Asana, Basecamp)
  • Source Code (Github, BitBucket, GitLab)
  • Chat (Slack, Teams, Hipchat)
  • Docs (Docs, Word, Notion)
  • Calendar (iCal, Google Calendar)
  • Video Call (Zoom, Hangouts, Slack)
  • Dev Ops (Heroku, Digital Ocean, AWS)

I have shared this list of tools with code schools around the world. Regardless of the group, most want to know, “Should I learn these before landing a job?” An interpretation that’s closer to what we’re really asking is, “Will potential employers expect me to know these in order to get a job?”

The most reasonable answer is no, it is unlikely you’ll be expected to know each tool. In most of these categories, there are too many options on the market to expect deep knowledge of anything in particular. Even still, if you’re struggling to pick something, here are our favorites within each category at this time and place in 2021.


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