Revit or solidworks where are there more jobs available


Feb 17, 2013
I am a 2d Autocad user for 10 years working for architects mainly. I am trying to decide what 3d cad software to learn and where to learn it at. Are online schools good? Should I go to a community college for an associate degree in 3d cad design/BIM? And what software to learn? Where are the most jobs at in 3d cad? :eek:
Thank You


Apr 7, 2012


While my usual work since gruduating from architecture school in 1979 has been as a designer of houses- which I scribbled on sketch paper, I've been using AutoCad since 1993- AutoCad 10 for DOS ($480!)- and in preference to the mouse, still use the same keystroke commands from way back when.

I've never really worked as a professional draftsman, but a definite trend, beginning about ten years ago, was that designers of small to projects up to a medium scale / complexity increasingly were more and more required to accomplish the construction documents in addition to the design.

When CAD capabilities took a big jump into 3D- about 2004-5, and the magic of BIM, this trend intensified and more often, only large scale projects with complex structures and piles of details had dedicated draftsmen assigned. By this time, I was designing quite large houses- 6,000 up to 22,000 square feet and also doing the principal drawings, with a draftsman doing structure and details. In California, the seismic code makes structures so complex- that structural engineers increasingly did all the structural drawings even for houses. Title 24 code also meant that a another division of labor into the energy engineering world. Houses typically have 3-5 sheets just for the energy code compliance.

With the financial frenzy in 2008 centered on stupid mortgages, the architecture and construction world collapsed. Today in California, more than 60% od architects are unemployed or "underemployed" and nationally, architects have a 16% unemployment. My brother is an architect on the East Coast with a 35- year business having up to 15 employees and he told me last Friday that he is closing his business in one month. I have a draftsman and two architect and friend in Los Angeles who have lost their houses.

In 2010, with no work and plenty of time, I decided I needed to go both into a different but related line of work and serious 3D CAD , which would have to be industrial design. I bought a Dell Precision T5400 [Xeon X5460 qc @3.16GHz, 12GB, Quadro FX4800, as well as Solidworks 2010 x64 and started working with Sketchup. I'm now working on my first three Patent applications-a long shot as only 3% of people getting Patents ever sell anything- but I have to do something and a 3% prospect is better than my current 0%.

Sorry for the long history, but my story is such a common one, the moral of which is- the prospects for work in architecture are grim, grim, grim- and I think will be for at least two more years, in which it will become only one grim. All the articles I read of the most desirable-employable degrees have computer /IT and engineering, and aerospace at the top. By all means, learn Revit and BIM- almost universally required in architectural offices today- and the architectural drafting prospects will improve, but at the moment the number of jobs today for Solidworks is probably 15X that of Revit. Also, getting in the world of LEEDs- and energy related engineering generally may greatly expand your opportunities- it's a hot and growing business. See > .

Since Solidworks got it's toe in the 3D CAD world earlier, many, many more engineering offices use it than Inventor, but you might consider getting some level of proficiency. Actually, being qualified to buy the student version of Product Design Suite- a $12,000+ program which includes both Inventor and AutoCad, plus Mechanical and so on, for whatever- $180?- is very tempting on it's own. Knowing Rhino and Sketchup is useful too- I see those often listed in classifieds. Also, if you are interested in the hardware, being a systems administrator is like being an accountant- you can find work in any medium to large business in the World- and you become a very important employee- you metaphorically hold the keys to the continued operations of the firm. My niece's husband was a computer game wastrel, living at home, working as a waiter until he was 25, got an associate degree in C.S. and now is the head SA for a major university in Virginia.

Best of luck!




Dudu Pootisohnee

Aug 25, 2013
The thing with architecture grads is with this move to the Virtual arena, graduates are going to see that the traditional rolls have not only change, but are pretty much gone. The trades are picking up on the notion that with a few months of software training they are able to meet much of the need for architects in house. My experience as both a designer and GC has been that it is easier to teach a plumber to use MEP design software than it is to teach an architect how things are actually built. (Architects stop screaming, it's the truth.) If you have a solid background in 2D drafting I would look for certification courses for products like Revit, Navisworks, Bluebeam, Sketch up, 3d Max etc. and take some courses in scheduling and estimating. All of this will mean nothing to an employer if you don't spend time on the construction sites, Short internships are a great way to get your boots dirty and connect with the GC's and CM firms who will be driving a lot of the employment for the next decade.
If you love this industry as much as I do then you may want to look into a degree in Construction Management. I just graduated from one of the best programs in the country (See the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) 2013 Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Division Champions) Shop around and pick an institution that can give you real world training on both sides of the Construction Documents. Good Luck.

BTW, I was self taught and had 6 years experience before I got my degree in Drafting and Design, and nearly 37 years experience when I received my degree in Construction Management. Many of the software certification training courses are offered online and check out YT for video tutorials all free.