Questions for SolidWorks Users and/or Engineering Graduates


I'm an Engineer at an automotive tier and have been for more than 20 years. We are 100% Windows for all CAD / FEA etc... My daughter just graduated (big 10 school) this weekend in Food Science Engineering. 95% Windows, 5% Linux, She had 1 biological statistics class that used a Linux only software package. That said, we bought her a Lenovo G40 for around $500 new (Windows) 5 years ago and it has survived fine. A bit slow by todays standards. When she had the statistics class I bought a used/referb Gen 2 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon for $200 and loaded Linux on it. Worked fine for that class. We still use it at home sometimes.

A note from the learn at home issue, she came home for spring break in early March, planning to be here a week. Has been home since. Online graduation this past Saturday (kinda a joke). All of the past semesters labs were canceled, she "attended" class virtually, not great for learning. Luckily she only had 2 classes the final semester. On the plus side, she did land a decent job in her field and starts June 1.
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It’s been 23 years since I graduated mechanical engineering school but I was in a similar situation when I started college. I was an Apple user coming out of high school, but my father thought I needed a PC for engineering school. For graduation he had my grandmother buy me a PC (all my cousins got new high end shotguns, which they still own, Pc is in a landfill somewhere). I barely used that machine and never took it to college. Going from one platform to the other was just to frustrating. I may be an engineer, but I have never been a “computer guy”, it’s a tool not a toy to me. My first couple years in college I really had very little actual computer based engineering work to do. Mostly I did word processing and I did it on the Mac. By the time I actually needed a PC, my graduation gift was to out of date to be any use (early 90’s PC development was brisk). I bought a new PC, which I used for engineering stuff along side my Mac. Over time I used the Mac less and less and today have no clue how to run an iOS machine.

My advice would be, if she has a Mac machine she likes and is using, take it to school and use it. When the time comes to buy a PC she will know what she needs and can purchase it then. Laptops that can run Solidworks can literally be found anywhere. I use solidworks every day on a 6 year old laptop. Unless your assemblies are really big (and in college they aren’t) or you are running a lot of complex FEA analysis most decent laptops are fine. Just get a separate monitor and a good mouse for use at home.


Keep it simple stupid
Great advice.
x3. Our lab also had intranet access to shared drives with all of our project files on it, to go with the high horsepower PCs and software licenses. Get her a “good” but not insane MacBook she’ll use for everything else, that way if she loses it or it’s stolen or breaks it’s not a major deal.
Every kid will be in the same boat Re: lab access. Maybe the engineering dept will rotate people thru labs, maybe they’ll send workstations to each kid in their dorm, maybe they’ll figure out a VPN/RDP solution, but either way, it’s probably not your problem. They’re not going to expect every kid shows up with a super computer to handle the 3D model of an aircraft carrier.
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I'd also skip the external monitor. Generally students do not like doing homework in their dorm room or apartment and migrate to libraries coffee shops etc. Dorm rooms are where they go to get away from "work", and if they have a crappy roommate, they won't want to be near them anyways.


Personally, I am in the same boa as you are - very few invitations to asessment centers and very high numbers of applicants per vacancy/grad scheme for Mechanical Engineering. I'm even thinking about applying to elsewhere, currently working on my application essay using some help from . Keep you posted on how I am doing
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