Tools every CS student should know about

And it's all free!

Tools of the Trade


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Jing captures anything you see on your computer screen, as an image or short video, and lets you share it instantly. Get your free account today!

Jing is an excellent tool for showing somebody exactly what you are seeing, either by taking a picture or a video of the process you are going through with an audio explanation. You can then email them, save them for your own records, or use them to create screencast tutorials.

Source Tree

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SourceTree is a free Mercurial and Git Client for Windows and Mac that provides a graphical interface for your Hg and Git repositories.

SourceTree is an amazing GUI for source control. You can easily see the flows of commits and branches, and if you're struggling getting it to do exactly what you want it to do, you can simply click the terminal button and then run things the old fashion way (although note, I have only ever hit this circumstance once).

LeanKit Kanban Board

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LeanKit's online kanban board helps you visualize your workflow and begin to see things you never saw before.

Great online Kanban organization tool. Has apps for phones/ipads.


Last Pass

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LastPass is an online password manager and form filler that makes web browsing easier and more secure.

LastPass is my favorite find. It makes everything just work. You can easily generate individual, secure passwords for each site (which you should be doing anyways, never reuse passwords!) and then all you have to remember is the one password for LastPass. It will notify you if there is changes to your credit and there are free "browser" apps for your iPad.


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Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free utilizes Malwarebytes powerful technology to detect and remove all traces of malware including worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware and more.

Very thourough and literally just one click button to fix things. The only downside is that the free version does not automatically run at preset times.

Spybot - Search and Destroy

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If all you require is to be able to scan and remove malware and rootkits from your system. Or if you want to protect your PC by immunizing your browser and hosts file, the Free Edition is the choice for you. If you are a more experienced user you can also check various autostart locations using the Startup Tools. Spybot 2 can scan single files or specific folders and unlike other software it doesn't matter if the file is located on your local drives or on a network share. Spybot 2 comes with its own whitelist which helps to identify if files are legitimate or not. This useful addition helps to speed up the scan. Even though this fully functioning product is free of charge you can still get free support by emailing our support team.

It never ceases to amaze me how this program can ALWAYS find spybots... even just from light web surfing. It can be configured to automatically run at certain times, but it must be set to do so.

Academic Tools


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Our mission is to bring accessible, affordable, engaging, and highly effective higher education to the world. We believe that higher education is a basic human right, and we seek to empower our students to advance their education and careers.

I have tried many good online learning resources, iTunes University, Coursera, Khan Acadamy, and YouTubed lectures from various universities. Udacity is HANDS DOWN the best. It is extremely engaging, covers relevant topics in computer science, statistics, and development. Large number of courses are created by institutions such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. LOVE LOVE udacity.

Bit Bucket

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Host, manage, and share Git and Mercurial repositories in the cloud. Free, unlimited private repositories for up to 5 developers give teams the flexibility to grow and code without restrictions.

While certainly not as widely used as GitHub, it does offer 5 free private repos (unlike GitHub) and unlimited free private repos for students.


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RStudio is a free and open source integrated development environment for R (a statistical analysis language). You can run it on your desktop (Windows, Mac, or Linux) or even over the web using RStudio Server.



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Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process.

Trello is a very easy way to plan projects, whatever they may be. You can make your own lists, such as To Do, Done, Shopping, etc. It has apps for mobile devices and everything syncs smoothly. Add your own photos, links to websites, files to cards that you can drag across lists. For example, if you are working on a work flow, you can put all the details you need in cards and move them from ToDo to Doing to Done.

Web Design Tools

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I have compiled a list of useful tools I like to use in managing/designing websites. Please see the CS145 Web Design section

Piriform's CCleaner

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CCleaner is a really nice tool that allows you to clean up some of the background items on your computer, like temp files and logs. Whenever I run it, it always finds over 500MB of garbage that can be cleaned up. It claims to make your computer faster as well as help with privacy. I haven't looked too far into this. I just know I really like it for it's simplicity to use and it's ability to clean things up. It also allows you to uninstall programs in a way I like much more than going through the control panel.