The Top 7 Technologies Every Grad Student Should Be Using

students-using-mobile-devicesThe seven technologies listed below range from hardware gadgets to online apps to security software systems for the machines you use to work through your graduate program. All of them are powerful assets in your personal battle with the stresses and challenges of the graduate study world and each of these technologies will provide you with at least one crucial and enormously time saving benefit if you try it out.

Take a look at our list below and see what you’re already using and what other useful tech tools you might have missed so far.

1. A Smartphone

Just about everybody these days owns a smart phone and there’s a good reason for this. As multipurpose tools, they’re just so damn useful! If you happen to be one of those exceedingly few grad students who hasn’t gotten around to switching your old dumb phone for one of the many increasingly low cost smartphone models on the market today, just do it already. You really won’t look back on your decision.

Not only are they great at making all your communications much cheaper thanks to numerous downloadable video and voice calling or text messaging apps (Tango, WhatsApp, etc.) they can also be used for a million different things at any time thanks to literally hundreds of thousands of other apps you can get your hands on in seconds.

Furthermore, for when you want to capture the pages of your study books for later reference, your phone’s camera combined with a note aggregating app like Evernote will do the trick in no time; the image text will even be searchable.

2. Laptop

Tablets and even some smart phone models are slowly catching up with classical PCs and laptops in terms of processing power and versatility but when it comes to getting school and study work done easily while on the move, nothing yet beats a laptop. If you’ve already got your hands on PC/laptop access thanks to school facilities and friends and have a mobile device to handle the rest, you’re still missing out on a lot of extra efficiency unless you get your own laptop and synch it with all your other devices in terms of cloud storage and note taking software.

3. Cloud Storage

Cloud storage services don’t have to be complicated, and if we’re talking about extremely lean but incredibly useful systems such as DropBox and Google Drive, then their simplicity is practically an organic experience.

With these two cloud services, you get between 2 and 5 gigs of free storage and can easily rack up more with special deals. Buying storage beyond the basic free limit (which is usually more than enough!) also happens to be dirt cheap.

There is literally no easier or faster way to share documents and projects between your different devices and amongst your study/work partners than through either of these two cloud platforms. In the case of Google Drive, you can simply create a joint work folder from inside your Google account and give others access just by adding in their own Gmail addresses to the sharing options. With DropBox, granting access is as simple as creating a share link from your DropBox account and emailing or messaging it to someone else.

4. Evernote

Evernote has got to be one of the most convenient and handy of free mobile apps out there. Available for both Android and iOS mobile platforms (or computers), this application lets you take notes, photos of notes or photos of anything you like and store them to your own synchable account for easy access across computing platforms. Furthermore, you can also use Evernote to capture snippets or screen shots from websites and online documents and later search all of this content for keywords or by tags.

This really is a useful grad student’s study tool and becomes especially handy when it comes to taking shots of pages out of the paper books and documents you might need to use at your school library.

5. Social Media

If you’re a student in modern higher education graduate programs, then you probably already have yourself deeply connected to the entire sphere of social media platforms that just about everyone else is using too.

However, if you’re just using them to share pictures of puppies doing silly things or chat with friends in your free time, you’re really not taking full advantage of everything the social media sphere is really offering.

By opening specialized fan pages or organization profiles sin Twitter, Facebook or even LinkedIn, you can use these social networks to engage in some truly clever group study projects, promotional work for a collaborative campaign of any kind or even to conduct surveys that might be useful to your research work. Furthermore, when you’re engaged in some deep project related research and need to get your hands on some human research sources that you can quote or question in detail, the different social pages of various authorities and experts are just a quick search away in Twitter, Facebook and especially LinkedIn.

6. Gmail

No email system really beats Gmail in terms of quality, organization and spam filtering abilities. The fact that it ties into the entire powerful plethora of other Google services such as Google+ social media and the above-mentioned Google Drive is also another major bonus.

If you’re still using the mostly simplistic and cruddy services of Htomail, Yahoo mail or just about any other major email system, then switch over to Gmail now and you’ll quickly notice how much easier everything becomes for you.

7. Private WiFi

Private WiFi is actually the name of a commercial service available here, which will perform one basic but very powerful function  for you as a graduate education program student whose probably constantly using all sorts of public WiFi access points all over your campus and town beyond it: Private WiFi will completely close off your entire device to intrusion by routing your computer’s WiFi connection through a secure VPN, giving you a randomized IP address and then wrapping all of your communications in a powerful 128 bit encryption algorithm that will keep even the most determined hackers from hijacking your link to an open WiFi hotspot and using it to access your computer or mobile device for their own purposes.

If this sounds paranoid, understand that it happens all the time and is commonly used by hackers who want to control other’s machines for their own illegal purposes by sniffing for open connections at café’s and school campuses.

About the author: Stephan Jukic is a freelance writer who generally covers a variety of subjects relating to the latest changes in white hat SEO, mobile technology, marketing tech and digital security. He also loves to read and write about location-free business, portable business management and finance. When not busy writing or consulting on technology and digital security, he spends his days enjoying life’s adventures either in Canada or Mexico, where he spends part of the year. Connect with Stephan on LinkedIn.