Abstract The computer programs which are the subject of this paper are those which have been developed by private organizations and for usage of which a fee has to be paid. These programs as well as all engineering programs may be classified into three types: Artisan, Academic and Engineering. Artisan type programs are those which consist of computarization of old manual methods. Academic type programs are those which consist of computerization of advanced theoretical methods for a refined analysis, or for an exact optimization, or for an interactive design. Engineering type programs are those which consist of a combination of some features of the two previous types in order to design the lightest structures capable of supporting the governing combination of loading conditions and satisfying the pertinent Building Code criteria. The paper discusses each of these three program types and describes in some detail a few cases of application of engineering type programs.