CAD Manager's Q&A: Should I Know AutoLISP and Visual Basic?

13 Jul, 2005 By: Robert Green

Should CAD managers know AutoLISP, Visual Basic, both or something all together different?

Robert Green answers: My general advice would be to learn any programming languages you can. You never know what you may want to do in the future, and the more you know about customizing systems, the more possibilities you can explore. In the 17 years I've been customizing CAD systems, I've observed that the power users who can edit menus, craft scripts and program custom routines are always in demand and are frequently the ones promoted into CAD management.

In the Autodesk CAD world, AutoLISP is still very useful. So much code is available via shareware and freeware that AutoLISP will always be with us (as long as there's AutoCAD, anyway). Visual Basic (or Visual Basic for Applications) is very worthwhile to know because you can use it or its simpler form of Visual Basic Script in many applications and other CAD platforms that don't support AutoLISP. My preference would be for AutoCAD-based managers to learn AutoLISP first, then move to Visual Basic because AutoLISP is a little more intuitive for novices to learn. Those who manage software that isn't' based on AutoCAD should definitely beef up their Visual Basic skills.

Side note: I've also found that over the years my experience with FORTRAN and stress/thermal analysis applications has enabled me to work much more easily in engineering CAD management environments. The bottom line is to learn whatever you can whenever you can and always remember it isn't just what you earn on the job — it's what you LEARN on the job that determines your future.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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