Must-have Lightweight Tools for Computer Science Students [Checklist]

Must-have Lightweight Tools for Computer Science Students

Com­put­er Sci­ence is huge­ly about using the right tools, har­ness­ing the pow­er of avail­able resources and … tak­ing short­cuts.

Though, there’s one prob­lem – you need to deal with numer­ous soft­ware and appli­ca­tions to do so.

Both your work and you suf­fer when you lack the prop­er tools you need. Or worse, you don’t even know about them.

The rule has always been sim­ple – the smarter you’re using what you’ve got, the more things you get done and empow­er your­self.

Hav­ing too many tools, espe­cial­ly the bulki­er types, makes a com­put­er very clunky, and often incon­ve­nient to use.

That’s why we’ve hand­craft­ed a list of must-have light­weight tools which can help you sim­pli­fy your work and assist you in increas­ing your pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

They’re all sim­ple ones – no fan­cy stuff.

Here’s a checklist of must-have lightweight tools for computer science students and graduates

  1. Col­or­pix A quick tool to find out the hexa­dec­i­mal col­or code of any vis­i­ble pix­el on your com­put­er screen. Can be quite use­ful for those who con­stant­ly tin­ker with graph­ic design­ing.

    Col­or­Pix
  2. Snip­ping tool A light­weight tool for tak­ing screen­shots and clip­ping them. Prob­a­bly the eas­i­est option avail­able out there. Win­dows 7 and lat­er ver­sions even come with a built-in snip­ping tool! 

    Snip­ping Tool
  3. Tomighty A pomodoro timer based on the pomodoro tech­nique which reminds you to take breaks after every 25 min­utes. It’s said to enhance your pro­duc­tiv­i­ty if done con­sis­tent­ly.

    Tomighty
  4. Hour­glass (pre­vi­ous­ly Orzeszek Timer) – A sim­plis­tic timer to assist you in stick­ing to the sched­ule for when you get dis­tract­ed. Use­ful for those who absolute­ly need to stick to sched­ules and work in spe­cif­ic time slots. 

    Hour­glass (pre­vi­ous­ly Orzeszek Timer)
  5. YTD (aka YouTube Down­loader) A per­fect soft­ware to down­load videos from YouTube. Quite use­ful for those who don’t have a reg­u­lar inter­net access and pre­fer hav­ing offline resources. 

    YTD (YouTube Video Down­loader)
  6. Clip­Grab A tool sim­i­lar to YTD, most­ly used to save YouTube videos in oth­er for­mats (like MP3, WMV, OGG, MP4). You can even down­load the videos in it’s “Orig­i­nal” for­mat (MPEG4, FLV or WebM depend­ing on the source). 

    Clip­Grab
  7. Gif­cam A sim­ple tool to cre­ate GIFs from almost any­thing on your screen. Can be quite help­ful to blog­gers want­i­ng to cre­ate their own fun stuff. 

    Gif­Cam
  8. VS Code - A sim­ple yet very pow­er­ful gen­er­al pur­pose code edi­tor, which can be used for almost any thing, from basic notes to advanced projects. It even has terminal/cmd/Powershell win­dow built-in for max­i­mum pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. It even has a debug­ger for Node.js, Javascript and Type­Script, and exten­sions can be found forn­crease your typ­ing speed. It actu­al­ly works and can be quite help­ful for begin­ners. [There are a lot of sim­ple code edi­tors out there, includ­ing the min­i­mal like Notepad++ to the more cus­tomiz­able ones like Sub­lime Text and Atom, but we rec­om­mend VS Code for it’s sim­plic­i­ty, ton load of exten­sions and most of all, the Visu­al Stu­dio Intel­lisense!]

    VS Code
  9. Word­Web dic­tio­nary One of the best free offline dic­tio­nar­ies avail­able out there. Does most of what you expect a dic­tio­nary to do. 

    Word­Web (The image shows the Pro ver­sion which costs around $19)
  10. Word­Press The clas­sic blog­ging appli­ca­tion which makes it con­ve­nient for you to man­age mul­ti­ple accounts and web­sites through a sin­gle appli­ca­tion. It can even be used to man­age self-hosted Word­Press sites. 

    WordPress.com
  11. 7zip It is a free and open-source file archiv­er which works with almost any com­pressed file for­mat. It even has it’s own archive for­mat (i.e. .7z).

    7zip
  12. Uni­fied remote An effi­cient app which can be used for con­trol­ling your com­put­er wire­less­ly. Although it feels a lit­tle gim­micky, it is actu­al­ly quite help­ful for pre­sen­ta­tions, media con­trols or even as tem­po­rary replace­ment for your key­board or mouse. 

    Uni­fied Remote
  13. Air­droid Anoth­er pow­er­ful appli­ca­tion to access your cell­phone remote­ly via your com­put­er. It can even mir­ror your smart­phone screen to your desktop/laptop!

    Air­droid
  14. Opera A fast brows­er which con­sumes less­er data and RAM than most oth­er options and gives a faster brows­ing exprience. It also con­tains a lot of oth­er sleek fea­tures, like the Tur­bo Mode, which loads the pages faster by shrink­ing / com­press­ing the web con­tent that your device receives. 

    Opera Brows­er
  15. 8GadgetPack Those who still pre­fer hav­ing an old-school screen and real­ly miss the Win­dows 7 Desk­top Gad­gets — yes, this one’s for you. 

    8GadgetPack
  16. CClean­er A clean­ing app for most of your com­put­er main­te­nance tasks. You don’t need to clean your com­put­er junk sep­a­rate­ly – it does all. 

    CClean­er
  17. F.lux A tiny app which adjusts the bright­ness and col­or of your com­put­er screen accord­ing to the day­time. It pro­tects your eyes and reduces strain on them. It takes some time to get used to it, but when you do, you just can’t go back to those nor­mal bright blue screens ever again. 

    f.lux

What’s next?

What do you think about our list of pro­duc­tive tools? Did we miss any? Let us know down in the com­ments.

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