Worth learning AutoCAD?

Mountain Magic

Trying to get that elusive first job out of an MArch program, I know some Revit as I used it in two or three studios in school. And when you talk to people, it seems like you usually hear Revit Revit Revit, but in 'Help Wanted' ads I see AutoCAD mentioned about five times as often as Revit. What the heck??? Anyway, I've been thinking it's about time to go sign up for an evening class or two, at least feel like I'm not getting dumber as my graduation date recedes further in the rearview mirror - what do you all think? Would AutoCAD meaningfully improve my chances of getting hired, should I find a way to brush up Revit instead, or do something else entirely?

Sep 19, 13 2:08 pm

What did you use in school?

Sep 19, 13 2:13 pm

If you werent using AutoCAD, what were you using when not in Revit?

Sep 19, 13 2:13 pm
Mountain Magic

Revit and hand sketching and Adobe and modeling (and a little Rhino). Is AutoCAD needed to complement Revit?

Sep 19, 13 2:14 pm

Its not needed, but it seems atypical that one would know Revit but not AutoCAD.

I would say, Yes- it would be helpful to learn AutoCAD. If you know Revit, the learning curve should be relatively easy on you.

Out of curiosity, were you taught Revit in school, or picked it up on your own?

Sep 19, 13 2:33 pm
Mountain Magic

Picked it up on my own, with a bit of tutoring. The school did offer Revit as an elective, but I didn't take it. Didn't seem like people used AutoCAD much ... maybe for the lasers

Sep 19, 13 2:37 pm

I think it would be a good idea if you had a knowledge of at least one basic drafting program. AutoCAD, Rhino, Microstation, something. (probably one of the former two) It amazes me that the program wouldn't indirectly force you to use software besides adobe.

Anyway, A lot of firms don't us Revit because a) the people there don't know how b) they don't like it c) it's really freaking expensive.

Sep 19, 13 2:48 pm
wurdan freo

Probably not... Unless of course you actually want to find a job. If you were a carpenter... Do you think it would be worth it to learn how to use a hammer if you already knew how to use a framing gun? Many companies still use acad or a combo of acad\revit. Many jobs outside of architecture that may be available to you are acad based.

Sep 19, 13 3:00 pm

Yes, you should probably learn AutoCAD. You might be able to pick it up fairly quickly with your software experience so far, you might find it worthwhile to take a course in order to learn it. Most employers are not going to want to teach you any software on company time, especially one as ubiquitous as AutocAD. There will come a day when only a few firms are still using AutoCAD and refusing to jump on the Revit bandwagon, but that's not the case right now. 

What most people/schools/firms/Autodesk aren't telling you is that Revit is not as widespread as they want you to believe (sounds like you've already grasped this). Even in firms that have adopted Revit, they still use other programs like AutoCAD, Sketchup, etc. to produce renderings and CDs. So it comes with the territory that AutoCAD is a worthwhile program to learn. 

Sep 19, 13 4:40 pm

bahahaha  smart one! you can skip the 'CAD monkey' title we all have to work our way through.  Do you plan on jumping straight into a directorial position without autocad? 

Sep 19, 13 7:03 pm
It's just like the transition from hand drafting to CAD. You need to know both if you want to work right now.
Sep 19, 13 7:59 pm

An architect should know a little about everything.  As far as cadd  yes remember all past production is in cadd and you will need to at least be able to reference and use it. 

Sep 21, 13 12:49 pm

Academic use & understanding of software on a scale of 1 to10:  2

Professional use & understanding of software on a scale of 1 to 10:   6.5

Yes, learn autocad! it will def be around another 10yrs or so.

In practice, time is money, money is time. get it in, get it out, get paid!

Sep 21, 13 4:01 pm
Even a great 3D model starts with even better 2D drawings. As far as which program, you can make them do what you want. There are CAD plugins for Illustartor even, though they proved difficult to use.
Sep 21, 13 4:10 pm

If you learn Revit on your own, I say take a class in Revit over CAD.  I have not touch CAD ever since I have used Revit for some years now, work and school.  Revit is gonna take over and CAD is gonna die out soon...

BIM is the future.

Just ask yourself. Do you want to be a CAD monkey or a Revit monkey?

Sep 21, 13 9:56 pm

You can get by without it, but you will wish you knew it. I knew CAD really well in high school, didn't use it in school because I never wanted to re-learn it, learned Revit extremely well and have been riding on that. I will admit that it does limit potential job opportunities, there are some postings I see the require CAD and not BIM. However, I'm at the point where I really don't want to work anywhere that is still stuck in 2D drawings. I've done a lot of development in Revit and seeing the power it has and how much you can manipulate the tools to work for you, I never want to go back to a "dumb" 2D world of drafting.

However, CAD will take a long time to truly die, in my opinion, because it's still the best tool for a lot of consultants. If your survey, civil, landscape, etc. files are in CAD, you may want to be able to open them and manipulate them to get them to display correctly in your Revit file. You may want to draft something that doesn't make sense to do in Revit, like a quick masterplanning exercise.

So it's really up to you. Firms that aren't using BIM want to know how to use it, and if you have the qualifications to start up a project from scratch in Revit or transfer a CAD project to Revit, that can be a huge asset. I don't regret the path I've gone because it's been lucrative and now I can weasel my way out of rare but tedious CAD tasks by claiming (accurately) that I don't really know how to use it.

Sep 23, 13 6:17 pm

Rhino is nearly the same as AutoCAD in 2D and has more 3D bells & whistles.

I put together a set of drawings in Rhino for a low-rise senior living project or Baueingabe & Werkplanung drawings as they call 'em here in Germany. The experience was regressive after working with Archicad & Revit for the past 7 years.

If I were you, I'd seek to continue developing my BIM & rendering skills. You can get by in 2D AutoCAD with good 2D Rhino skills. I'm just skeptical of offices that still work in AutoCAD. Not so innovative on workflow methods.

But a job is a job and pays the bills (a few at least).

Good luck!

Sep 24, 13 10:59 am

You may want to draft something that doesn't make sense to do in Revit, like a quick masterplanning exercise.

or a TI.  or a preliminary exhibit for space planning or elevation design.  or a building.  or, you know, the stuff architects do for a living...

Sep 24, 13 11:06 am

or a TI.  or a preliminary exhibit for space planning or elevation design.  or a building.  or, you know, the stuff architects do for a living...

I said 'like,' meaning there may be a variety of things someone might want to do in 2D rather than BIM. I'm not sure what you're criticizing, is it that I said that architects might do masterplanning? Lots of firms do more than just purely individual buildings, especially if you work somewhere multi-disciplinary.

Personally, though, it is very rare that I find a task that I can't do in Revit. With TI and spaceplanning, I want to immediate feedback that Revit gives me through room and area scheduling, the ability to do phasing is a huge benefit over CAD, and I like being able to visualize my design in 3D by simply clicking a button. I might as well place families that I will be able to see in 3D for interior elevations and 3D visualizations (both of which I will probably at some point want) since it's no more effort than plopping in a CAD block.

Sep 25, 13 1:34 pm

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