Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Learning Software Programs

    Posted 01-27-2019 08:48 PM
    Hello everyone,

    I am a university student currently in my junior year. So far, I have taken only one design course in which AutoCAD was used. We learned basic commands and did minimal 3D work. I was wondering how I would go about learning more AutoCAD and learning other programs such as Revit. I want to arrive at my internship this summer feeling confident in my design program skills. 

    Did any of you take classes on the side or watch YouTube videos to learn these programs or did you wait to learn them on the job? What would be the best resource to learn these skills? 


    Paul Bernard S.M.ASCE
    Student at McGill University

  • 2.  RE: Learning Software Programs

    Posted 01-28-2019 10:10 AM
    Hi Paul,

    Any experience you can gain with engineering analysis and drafting software while a student is good experience. As a student, you can get all of the Autodesk software for free. That said, your future employer (whether for an internship or full-time) will want to train you on their way of doing things in the software - the most important thing is to be humble and teachable. Every company has their own templates, seed files, etc., which can also be quite different from client to client.

    To answer your question - yes, you will learn a lot of things on the job, but you should also build a solid foundation of understanding during your time as a student. Now, when you are a student, is the time to "play" with the software and get generally familiar with it. When you become a professional, you may not have as much time to "play" with new software or you may have to do so on your own time (off the project budget). The software will change, perhaps quite dramatically, as a time goes on - learning how to learn new software is one of the greatest skills you can develop at this stage of your career.

    Also, I would encourage you to look into learning the programming languages of Excel VBA and MATLAB. I use Excel VBA all the time to make life easier and build efficiencies on large projects, which has also opened up opportunities to deliver internal presentations on Excel VBA. Best resource I know for learning the basics is the course by VBAExpress.net. Among other things, MATLAB is one of the key languages for implementing AI-based optimization methods.


    Alexander McCaskill EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Geotechnical Engineer
    Kansas City MO

  • 3.  RE: Learning Software Programs

    Posted 01-28-2019 11:28 AM
    Hi Paul, 

    Like the others mentioned, it depends in which field of Civil Engineering you're in. I'm also junior and we use AutoCAD at school, however at the company I work for we use MicroStation for transportation engineering. Also, make sure you have good knowledge of Excel, its very widely used and helpful.

    Natasha Breslieva S.M.ASCE
    Project Coordinator
    Chicago IL

  • 4.  RE: Learning Software Programs

    Posted 01-28-2019 08:50 PM
    Hi Paul,
    I'm also a junior in civil engineering. In my construction management class, we are learning how to use Revit and Bluebeam Revu, as BIM is becoming increasingly important.
    On my extracurricular Steel Bridge Team we used RISA 3-D for connections modeling and SolidWorks for bridge design, so from my experience so far, I'd say these two applications are a good start if you're looking at the structural concentration. 
    We use Matlab extensively for computational and statistical methods classes. We use Excel occasionally to organize data.
    We're also expected to know how to use both macOS and Windows.
    Hope this helps!


    Rose Hulcher S.M.ASCE
    Gaithersburg MD