Saturday, February 12, 2011

Computer Software

I was recently laid off of my position as an architect after working for the same firm for 23+ years.  The firm I worked for used VersaCAD as the design/drafting software for all our construction drawings.  No one else in the world uses VersaCAD.  I've been researching job opportunities as an architect in other parts of the state, and it is apparent I will need to have training on some other type of CAD software.  My resources are limited, so I'm trying to figure out what additional training to look for.  Do I do AutoCAD, Revit, BIM, or something else? In some ads I've seen SketchUp, 3D Rendering, Projects, and Uniform Drawing System also listed.  I am familiar with Word, Excel, Photoshop, Acrobat Professional; I know my way around both Mac's and PC's, as we have Mac's at home and I used a PC at work.

I would really appreciate some insight into what additional training might give me the best return (job possibilities) for my investment of time and money.  Thank you.

First, I am sorry to hear that you have been recently laid off especially after 23+ years with the same firm.

As you are seeking this additional training as part of a job search, I would continue to research what software is being used by the firms to which you are interested.  Use you network to ask the same question to learn what is best for you to learn.

Understanding that I currently work within an architecture program, I would suggest considering the following but do talk with professionals in the firms:

Adobe Creative Suite Design Standard (InDesign, Photoshop, Premier Pro, Acrobat Pro, etc.)
Autodesk (AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, Revit Architecture, Rasterdesign, 3D Max Design

FormZ RenderZone

Clearly, the shift occuring within the professions is from AutoCAD to BIM (Revit).  While you need to know AutoCAD (you know from your years of VersaCAD), you may wish to know learn BIM.  In addition, be sure to know the various presentation type software (Adobe) and 3D modeling/rendering softwares (FormZ, SketchUp, and Rhino).  In other words, you need to learn it all.

Obviously, many softwares make trial versions of their software available, but many have substantial discounts available for students.  I would suggest taking courses through a community college to learn but also to be able to take advantage of these discounts.

Bottom line, connect with the area schools, firms, and even AIA chapters for possible training opportunities.  One idea is to contact firms to determine if they provide training opportunities for you given your circumstances.

Dr. Architecture

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