Career Advice Property and Construction

5 Apps for engineers and IT professionals

Editors pick the best mobile applications for improving your work performance

Mobile applications are becoming an essential part of our workflow – from mapping project sites to sketching prototypes, from gathering ideas to quoting consultancy fees, from taking notes to filing invoices. However, there are just so many options out there, so we tested five mobile apps for engineers and information-technology professionals and below are our reviews.

1. Be organised - Springpad

Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android and web
Price: Free

Springpad is a personal assistant app that helps you collect ideas, remember tasks and get things done. It combines Pinterestlike collage board features with note-taking abilities to help manage the overload of important information, projects, ideas, and recommendations that we encounter daily. A “spring” is any one of the following 18 types: alarm, book, bookmark or link, checklist, contact, event, file, movie, music, note, photo, place, product, recipe, task, TV show, video and wine. Springpad “learns” your interests and enhances your saved information with useful details and relevant suggestions, so you can get what you need. The app is sometimes compared with notetaking app Evernote but with the easy to navigate and charming layout, Springpad is more pleasing to the eye.

2. Be inspired - Unstuck

Platforms: iPad
Price: Free

There are times in your life when the blank notebook page stays blank for far too long – even the most productive people occasionally get stuck. For such “dead” moments there’s Unstuck, an iPad app to help you work through the situation at hand. Unstuck was created by SYPartners, a company that helps leaders and their teams during times of transformation. The app combines personalised digital tools with tips and knowhow from a community of other people who have found themselves in “blank” moments. Unstuck also makes it easy to get on-demand coaching. It helps you diagnose a situation – a conflict at work, a relationship issue, a goal that’s just out of reach – to reveal what’s really behind your mental block. Based on your unique situation, Unstuck serves up tips and tools in a game-like experience, guiding you to personalised action plans you can use as springboards to getting unstuck.

3. Be presentable - Flowboard

Platforms: iPad
Price: Free

Flowboard is a storytelling app that provides the tools needed to publish touch-enabled publications, viewable on the web and mobile devices. It enables users to create side-scrolling experiences – complete with cloud-enabled images, text, videos, links and photo galleries – available via a unique, shared URL. The app comes with a growing library of templates. To start, users choose a template, including presentations, albums, catalogues, portfolios and more. Users then access content from the cloud via Facebook, Instagram or Dropbox. With Flowboard, users have the potential to create engaging experiences without the hassle of learning complex software or sitting in front of a PC for hours. With a set of easy-to-use touch gestures, users can quickly learn how to drag-and-drop photos and videos into place, enter text, and embed links for navigation.

4. Be paid well - MyPrice

Platforms: iPhone and iPad
Price: HK$15

Whether you’re a freelancer or you just like to pick up a side job every now and again, you’ve probably struggled with setting your talent fee. MyPrice aims to make this task easier than ever. Simply key in the things you’ll need for the job – whether it’s office space, time or supplies – and the app will tell you how much you should charge to come out on top. It lets you calculate the amount you can reasonably charge for your professional services, while factoring in your educational background, experience, the nature of your project, client and location. You’ll have to tell the app about yourself first so it can get an idea of your needs and lifestyle. You also need to specify your individual projects, along with the things you’ll need. Crucially, MyPrice alerts you to the likely expenses for each assignment. The app includes helpful advice for freelancers to make sure they don’t get shorted on payments. It even has a bad-client alert.

5. Be creative - AutoCAD 360

Platforms: iPhone, iPad and Android
Price: Free

AutoCAD 360 is a free mobile drawing and drafting app that extends the power of CAD beyond the desktop. Formerly known as AutoCAD WS, the app allows you to view, create, edit, and share CAD drawings anywhere, and get essential tools for sketching and documenting, such as “Smart Pen” for free-hand CAD drawings. Users can bridge the gap between office and field work with seamless sharing of drawings across desktop, web and mobile devices. It can also link to third-party cloud-based storage such as Dropbox. Having evolved from Flash-based software, AutoCAD 360 uses HTML5 browser technology in newer browsers, including Firefox and Google Chrome. For a price, users can upgrade to AutoCAD 360 Pro to enjoy more file storage capacity and support for larger files.