CAD Software Industry Trends and Directions


  • Patrick E. Connolly Purdue University


There is an interesting and unique relationship between industry and college level academic engineering and technology programs.  This relationship constantly evolving and redefining itself, reflecting both the accelerating level of technological change in industry, as well as the flexible and somewhat fickle focus of the industrial environment.  In order to produce graduates who are well prepared for industry and who can be immediately productive in an industrial/technical setting, college and university engineering and technology programs must be knowledgeable regarding the trends affecting industry and incorporate into their curricula the necessary and relevant material to meet those goals.  The engineering design graphics field is especially subject to rapid technological change.  This is due to fundamental changes in how industry views the design process, and the pace at which computer hardware and software improvements are introduced and incorporated into standard procedures.


This paper reviews current trends in the high-end computer aided design software industry, with discussion regarding the direction and focus that CAD industry leaders are taking with their products, and the industry needs that are driving those developments.  The impact of these changes and trends on academic programs is addressed.  This discussion includes recommendations as to what portion of these developments should be incorporated into the curriculum, and what college and university engineering graphics programs should do to prepare their students for these developments in industry.




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