EDA > General PCB/EDA/CAD Discussions

Making the decision: CAD software

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--- Quote ---the important thing to grasp are concepts not keyboard shortcuts.
--- End quote ---
+1, but there's also a lot of value to using something industry standard (or "more widely used.")
(I'm not sure what counts as widely used.  There are some BIG packages used by BIG companies, but actual user count may go to smaller companies with tighter budgets.  Not that even the really expensive packages are all that expensive compared to the cost of hiring the engineer to use them.)  (And on the third hand, the small companies are less likely to be hiring directly out of your school...)

How many students?  Dedicated machines?  Isn't a school extremely likely to have to negotiate some sort of special license of a CAD package?  You can't expect each student to buy a $5k software package, though I suppose you can (painfully) stick the package on a limited number of locked-down "seats" in a lab somewhere and meet traditional license requirements, with a certain amount of resource contention (which is a source for education in itself.)  Which vendors acknowledge the academic environment?  Which will offer a good deal?  Some vendors are very aggressive about getting their overpriced software into schools to "lock in" mind-share (microsoft comes to mind.)

Students will learn a LOT more if introduced to at least two different CAD packages, so they can see first hand how some of the concepts are same and some of the details or features are different.  Put expensiveWare on the dozen lab machines and have the students install/use freeWare (EAGLE, KICAD, gEDA, whatever) on their personal systems, and you would have a superior class, IMO.  Time permitting.  Even if whichever tool is designated "secondary" isn't used very much...  (10 weeks on expensiveware learning principles, 1 week on EAGLE, 1 week on KiCAD...)

Show the students a couple of different packages. Then you can do the "industry standard" I deep getting at work, I have done the schematic capture in one package but the PCB layout house that is the current package us a totally incompatable "industry standard".



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