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Name: Suzanne
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: SC 
Country: N/A
Date: 11/29/2005

My 8th grade son is determined to become an engineer or architect. What software program(s) do you recommend? He is after AutoCad, but that seems a bit pricey at this stage. Is there an introductory version or something that would prepare him to work with CAD?

There's a list of free CAD programs at

I've tried several of them. The one I use is CadStd

Tim Mooney


At this point, something like "Geometer's Sketchpad" might be more useful. You can get a student version for $40 (see

Your son may also want to check out resources provided by the American Society for Engineering Education (see for their K-12 programs).


Todd Clark, Office of Science
US Department of Energy

CADD is computer aided drafting, I would not be rushing to that program.

Architects take a lot of free hand drawing and sketching is an essential.

Engineers should learn the principles of drafting, as most large companies Have technicians do the drafting using CADD.

Drawing and drafting are tools of the trade, the essentials are the courses To do the work. I was told by my grade school advisor some 50 + years age, Engineers solve problems, architects also solve problems but deal more with People, so I would use that as a start. I picked the engineering and it was a little, Less client/people oriented. Both architects and engineers work with concrete But the architects get a simplified course. But Architects get all the social courses, That engineers do not get. You design houses for people so you have to know What makes them tic, their desires etc. Engineers deal more with analysis And understanding forces, stresses and strengths of materials, and since All loads eventually are transferred into the soil, the engineer has those courses The architect does not. The engineer works for the architect, trying to build his ideas.

Hope this helps, study the child's interests, creative, problem solving, people person, The traits lead to the career.

James Przewoznik

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