IT professionals rely not only on their skills, but also on tools that make their jobs easier. But from IDEs to text editors to shells: there are many offerings – and they all have their certain merits. But which applications do IT experts rely on when it really matters?

Technically more sophisticated than Bash: zsh + ohmyzsh + powerlevel10k

Probably most IT-freelancer will rely primarily on Bash for shell scripting. It is considered standard and is virtually assumed for Linux commands. But it’s worth looking at alternatives, such as the Z Shell. Like Bash, it is an extended Bourne shell and includes features from Bash, C Shell/tcsh and KornShell. Combined with Oh my Zsh and its 140+ themes and 200 plug-ins, and in particular Powerlevel10k (a theme that improves speed, flexibility, and out-of-the-box experiences), zsh becomes more technically sophisticated than Bash – without moving away from its concepts much. However, fish is worthwhile for beginners – the user-friendly shell offers auto-completion, it suggests options, commands and directory paths depending on previous entries and currently mounted drives. It also returns comprehensible error messages.

Ease of use, flexibility and solid design in one: IntelliJ IDEA

Eclipse, NetBeans or VSCode – there are many integrated development environments. Here it is worth taking a look at Intellij IDEA for the Java, Kotlin, Groovy and Scala programming languages from JetBrains. Because what makes IntelliJ IDEA so outstanding is its ease of use, flexibility and solid design. In general, Jetbrains’ IDEs are worth a look – the company offers them for all kinds of development.

The more sophisticated text editors: VSCode and Atom

If you are looking for a good “notepad”, simple text editors are a good choice. Things get more interesting with VSCode and Atom. For those who do not program on Java, VSCode comes at its expense and can virtually assemble its own IDE through various plugins. The great thing about Atom is that project progress can be shared with team members. The open source code and text editor is available for Mac OS, Windows and Linux.

Birds of a feather flock together – Postman and cURL

There are a variety of tools for API testing, and with more than 20 million registered users, Postman is one of the world’s largest API platforms among them. The API tool for Windows, Mac OS and Linux ensures that programming interfaces can be developed and tested significantly faster and more smoothly thanks to its versatile options ranging from test script runners and variable management to functions for team management. The history option automatically saves all data and users get a good overview of all requests with one click and can run them again with certain parameters.

In case developers need a request in a specific language, Postman provides them with the corresponding code snippets. What makes it special is that the graphical user interface makes it more intuitive and user-friendly than simpler command line programs like cURL. The advantage with cURl: no desktop is needed here for testing and executing requests.

Order is half the battle – or something like that

In addition to the tools mentioned, there are also a number of organizational and collaboration tools that make everyday work easier for IT professionals. Because in addition to technical skills, there is a lot more to working in the IT sector. Freelancers also need to be able to independently and accurately track their working hours for different clients and projects. Toggl Track can be used to record times, plan projects and create reports. In addition, the invoices and hourly rates can be directly assigned to projects and if even the overview is missing, Toggl reminds when the quota is used up.

When it comes to project management, tools like Jira are very popular. Projects can be planned across teams – from developers to support staff – and tickets can be managed and shared.

For communication with colleagues or clients, Slack is suitable, where all messages can be answered and collected in organized areas.

And what would IT freelancers be without their computers? Probably lost in the daily work routine. It is best to work when the computer is tidy. Tools like Magnet (Mac OS) or PowerToy (Windows) for window organization and ferdi for desktop organization provide a remedy. In order not to forget any more notes, appointments and tasks, tools like Evernote are suitable. Here, all important information can be noted and sorted flexibly and adapted to one’s own needs.

Not an insider tip, should not be missing in everyday work: GitHub. Administration tools and social network in one, developers can work on code here, share and get inspired with like-minded people, and stay up to date.


Moath is CTO of HR tech company Expertlead and is responsible for all technology teams. He holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems from Philadelphia University, Amman. He then started his career in software and infrastructure development in various fields and technologies such as social networks, e-commerce, search & recommendations.

Leave A Reply


Never miss IT Freelancer News again! Subscribe to the newsletter.

IT Freelancer Magazin F-Icon