There is more than 20 CAD software in the mechanical design market, some of them are AutoCAD, Solidworks, SolidEdge, and Catia. The question is which cad software should I learn? Well, this was the most annoying question for me when I was pursuing my engineering degree and I hope the situation is the same for you.

In this article, you are going to learn about Why should you learn a CAD Software? and Which CAD Software should I learn? (5 ways to choose)

Which CAD software should I learn?

The answer to this question varies on the basis of the following: –

  1. Level of CAD Software
  2. Market Share
  3. Type of Industry
  4. Country 
  5. Dream Mechanical Company

Before discussing these 5 ways on which CAD software should I learn?, I would like to brief you on ‘Why should you learn CAD?’. Although, you may click the above link to directly jump to that section.

Why should you learn CAD software?

The era of Paper-Pencil drawing & drafting is long gone. The market is growing quickly and the speed of production cycle must increase with it. Thus, every industry uses a Cad software to speed up it’s designing and drafting processes. This makes CAD one of the most desired skills at the present time. The benefits of learning a CAD software are: –  

1. Internship

Internships are a very important part of your resume. And if you are looking for any kind of an internship or industrial training then having some CAD skills is an added bonus to your grades. 

2. Job

None of the company wants to waste their time & money on the training of their employees. This is the reason why almost every company looks for an experienced employee nowadays. However, being a fresher, if have got some CAD skills the employer might think of hiring you. 

How learning CAD software got me the Job?

Let me start the story from the beginning. I was in my 5th semester when I thought of learning a CAD software but the issue was which CAD software should I learn?

Every time I ask someone, either my seniors or my professors, all of them gave me a different answer. Some asked me to go for Catia or NX while others for Solidworks or Autocad. I was worried as no one was suggesting for Solidedge and my college was teaching me Solidedge.

The decision was difficult for me but I had to choose one as my aim was to be a Design Engineer. In the end, I went for CATIA as one of my friends suggested that most of the automobiles company in Germany use this Cad software.

Now after getting some CAD skills, the question was How can I get a Mechanical Engineering Internship? However, after figuring out this question, I got an internship at BFW[Bharat Fritz Werner]  in August 2016.

Trust me, they are Germans but they don’t use CATIA. They use SolidWorks. This makes my decision of learning CATIA wrong. Although, somehow I managed to get the software and tried to learn a few modules from the internet to complete my industrial training.

As I was already aware of CATIA & SolidEdge, learning Solidworks wasn’t difficult for me. And also thanks to my project instructor, who helped me throughout my industrial training with the software.

In June 2017 I was having an interview at Adobe Metal Products and the factory manager questioned me ‘Do you know Solidworks?’

Obviously, the answer was Yes, I know SolidWorks. I told him about my previous industry experience of SolidWorks and he got impressed. As a result, I was selected for the Design Engineer role.

Which Cad Software should I learn? (5 ways to choose)

You might have realized that How difficult it is to find the right CAD software to learn. Especially, when you are completely new to the world of designing. The answer to this question can be different based on your requirements. Below are 5 different ways to answer which CAD software should I learn?

CAD Software to Learn

1.Level of CAD Software

You might have heard of different companies offering different types of CAD Software. We have an example Dassault Systemes which offer three different CAD Software namely DraftSight, SolidWorks & CATIA. The reason behind this is to separate the CAD software into different levels. Basically, there are 3 different levels of Cad Software.

a. Beginner level software

If you are a beginner and have zero hands-on experience, starting with a beginner level software is a good idea. The beginner level CAD software is: –

  • Only used for 2D drafting work.
  • Mostly used by micro and small-scale industries.
  • Either very cheap or free.
  • User-friendly.
  • Example: – AutoCAD LT, Draftsight etc.
b. Professional Level Software

Once you are done with the beginner level cad software, go for the professional one. According to the research of idatalabs around 85% companies out of 185,174 uses a professional level cad software for their modeling work. The professional level CAD software is: – 

  • Used for both 2D drafting and 3D modeling work.
  • Very user-friendly software and preferred by all the beginner design engineer.
  • Used in colleges and small and medium scale industries.
  • Costlier than basic level software but much cheaper than the advanced level ones.
  • Example: – SolidWorks, Solid Edge, AutoCAD 3D etc.
 c. Advanced Level Software

As the name suggests, this type of cad software is used by advanced level companies. These software’s are mainly used in billion dollar companies due to their high price. I suggest you not to directly start with an advanced level software. The advanced level CAD software is: –

  • Used for all the 3 work i.e. CAD, CAM, and CAE.
  • Very costly software’s. 
  • Only preferred by big companies.
  • Very complex software to use.
  • Example: – Catia, NX, AutoDesk Inventor etc.

2. Market Share

If you are looking to learn a CAD software just for the sake of job then choosing the software w.r.t. to their market share might be the best choice. One of the Data companies idatalabs performed their research on 180,174 companies and found the following results: –

  • AutoCAD is used by 115323 companies (includes both AutoCAD LT & AutoCAD 3D).
  • Solidworks is used by 38417 companies.
  • Catia is used by 11478 companies.
  • Autodesk Inventor is used by 8985 companies.
  • Siemens NX is used by 2428 companies.
  • Creo/ProE is used by 2392 companies.
  • Draftsight is used by 1068 companies.
  • Solid Edge is used by 83 companies.

Market Share of Different CAD Software

The above data clearly depicts that AutoCAD & SolidWorks completely dominates the CAD market. Together, they are used by around 85% of the 180,174 companies. However, CAD software like CATIA & AutoDesk Inventor is used by 6% & 5% companies respectively. The share of other software is negligible in the CAD market. Thus, if you are looking for a job the best CAD software to learn are AutoCAD & Solidworks. 

3. Based on the type of Industry

You might have a goal of the type of product you want to design in future. It could be a car, a plane, or even a telescope. And if you have such a goal then you must go for the CAD software which is best suited for the type of industry.  

Use of CAD Software based on Product

The above graph depicts the CAD software used by different industries. Solidworks being the most versatile Cad Software as it is preferred by every type of industry. Although, AutoCAD dominates the machinery industry. Also, the automotive and aerospace industry prefer either Solidworks or CATIA. Below is the exact number of the type of industry using different CAD software.

  • AutoCAD is used by 5404 machinery industry, 2842 computer hardware industry, 2618 education industry.
  • Solidworks is used by 3732 machinery industry, 1281 automotive industry, 929 aerospace industry, 2414 computer hardware industry, 1404 education industry.
  • Autodesk Inventor is used by 1233 machinery industry, 286 automotive industry, 449 computer hardware industry, 512 education industry.
  • Catia is used by 610 machinery industry, 1277 automotive industry, 690 aerospace industry, 523 education industry.

4. Country 

Imagine learning a CAD software which is hardly used in your country. This is the reason why I’m considering this point. However, this is not the recommended way to choose which CAD software to learn? 

[US visitors can jump to the next graph] 

CAD Software used by different countries

The above graph depicts the use of different CAD software in different countries. Clearly, AutoCAD dominates every country. Below is the detailed description of different CAD software used in different countries.

  • India: 3888 company uses AutoCAD, 984 company uses SolidWorks, 1170 company uses CATIA, 272 company uses AutoDesk Inventor.
  • Canada: 5652 company uses AutoCAD, 2095 company uses SolidWorks, 418 company uses CATIA, 459 company uses AutoDesk Inventor.
  • UK: 7334 company uses AutoCAD, 2478 company uses SolidWorks, 703 company uses CATIA, 840 company uses AutoDesk Inventor.
  • Brazil: 2618 company uses AutoCAD,  843 company uses SolidWorks, 212 company uses CATIA, 139 company uses AutoDesk Inventor.
  • Germany: 527 company uses SolidWorks, 481 company uses CATIA, 184 company uses AutoDesk Inventor.
  • Italy: 2280 company uses AutoCAD, 520 company uses SolidWorks, 349 company uses CATIA, 148 company uses AutoDesk Inventor.

CAD Software used in US

The above graph depicts the use of different CAD software in the US. As expected AutoCAD is used by almost 50% of the companies. However, SolidWorks has a stronghold on 25% of the companies. CATIA & AutoDesk Inventor is also preferred by some of the companies in the US.

5. Dream Mechanical Company

The final way to decide which cad software is to learn is on the basis of your Dream Mechanical Company. If you have a goal to work for a particular company in the future then you must learn the cad software used by that particular company. I hope you find your dream company in the below list. However, if you can’t find one, Google search is still free. 

  • Solidworks is used by Tesla Motors, Illinois Tool Works, BFW, Adobe Metals, Pentair etc.
  • Catia is used by Triumph Group, Honda R&D Americas, Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, Škoda, Bentley Motors Limited etc.
  • AutoCAD is used by Atkins, Restoration Hardware, almost every micro/small scale industries etc.
  • Siemens NX is used by Rolls-Royce Holdings, B/E Aerospace, Daimler, SpaceX etc.
  • AutoDesk Inventor is used by Parker-Hannifin, Cameron International, Mettler-Toledo International etc.
  • Creo is used by Paccar, Cummins, Lockheed Martin, Toyota etc.
  • Solid Edge is used by Kulite Semiconductor Products, Inc, The Wooster Brush Company, CNH Industrial NV etc
  • Draftsight is used by Semtech Corporation, Mecsmart Systems Inc., Terex etc.

So, you have all the answer to your question which CAD software should I learn? I would suggest you go with the market share. After all, it’s about getting the Job with the help of software skills. Choose AutoCAD or Solidworks right now to begin your career and then based on your Dream Mechanical Company you can choose to learn any of the advance Cad Software.

If you are still confused with your career options then you must check this out: What are the career options after Mechanical Engineering? (13 options)

Best of Luck!

What do you think? Which CAD Software got you the job? or which one suits you the best? Comment Below

3 thoughts to “Which CAD Software should I learn? 5 ways to choose (Mechanical)

  • Sayeed Afzal

    Thanks a lot Waylon.

  • Nachi

    Some asked me to learn CATIA while some asked for SolidWorks but no one gave a ln explanation.
    The way you have explained the 5 ways to choose the right Cad software to learn, things have got very easy for me.
    Thanks for sharing.


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