Hello, so I am fairly new to the community and need some help deciding which program to use. Here is a little info that may help point me in the right direction. The big one is the application I will be using it for, that being rather vague as I am still in school but mechanical engineering is my focus of study. I figured I would learn one of these 2 programs while it is free to use, just another tool for the tool bag I suppose. So, mechanical engineering will be the application, and the goal is to work in the aerospace industry or energy sector. What do you think?
"Old Guy" here. Learn both, but first be sure to take a manual drafting course if you can. Everything you learn by doing it manually will apply to every CAD program you learn later on. AutoCAD is a very common CAD platform and there's a good likelyhood that it's what you'll end up using once in the workplace. Learn Inventor for its parametric modelling ability, which is becoming the preferred modelling method regardless of platform. After that, learn every piece of software you can lay your hands on! Versatility makes for a more valuable employee and better employment options.
... and when they get to us, they end up cycling drawings three or four times through QA/QC until the final product is acceptable. While 3D modeling is the cool, high tech software there is still a huge need for 2D work. Schematics and line drawings of every kind are still in use everywhere.
Drawings that are technically correct but difficult to read can turn off clients, lead to costly rework as they go through purchasing and fabrication, get continuous questions from the field, etc. Not to mention, looking down on basic CAD work as beneath your attention isn't good for employment.
Agreed with the 2D. There was an extensive debate here about the relevance of actual 3D drawings in the field. Everyone still looks at a 2D print on paper and I design and extensively use 2D work with AutoCAD LT in the residential industry.
My point is that there are fewer and fewer landline telephones in the US. The younger generation is using newer and newer technology and this will continue to pervade each and every industry it touches. I read an article where the author was chastising the US for having a copper based communications network while the Chinese were building a fiberoptic one. Yes; we would have built fiber optic is the technology existed in 1890 but since we had what we had then that is what we used. All things march on.
The tool that is available for CAD design will increasingly be 3D based. One reason Autodesk continues to purchase 3D based softwares across all types of disciplines. The end user may continue to visualize thru a 2D print or monitor based medium but how it got there is what is changing. A recent client of mine in her 60's was the IT manager for a mid-size architectural design firm and told her company the Revit was needed to stay ahead of the technology curve years ago when Revit was introduced by Autodesk. They hesitated and reluctantly agreed to pursue the software. A few years later they were on the cutting edge.
I am not sure that I would have ever seen a 2D only software package if I had been learning this discipline even 10 years ago and likely would have been foolish to not have embraced 3D.
If you're going into mechanical ENGINEERING, I would recommend both, but if you have to pick one to do first I say Inventor. As an engineer, it will be helpful to know how to use any CAD tools you can. My engineers all have a basic working knowledge of all the CAD tools, as many of them worked as designers while finishing thier engineering degrees. And as an engineer, you will most likely be doing a lot of concept drawing and then handing them off to a designer to flesh out the details. Again, this is based on MY experience and may not be true everywhere.
Thank you everyone who took the time to provide some input, it is greatly appreciated. Based off the information I have gathered here I will download Inventor and start learning. Thanks again.