Jason -- The answer is, as always, it depends on what you need or want to do. Remember that we sent men to the moon & back using pencils & paper with nearly all the calculations done using slide-rules and abacus! In point of fact, the first hand-held (but not pocket) calculators were designed by NASA and built for them by HP and TI in 1967-68 (I made most of the injection mold and trim dies for the HP program). I started working with CAD (Gerber IDS) in 1971. As of 1994, I had used nearly 300 different CAD programs.
My work requires me (today) to switch back-and-forth among: Catia, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, ProEngineer (now CREO), UniGraphics (UG), and Alibre. These are all 3D "solids" (a misnomer) systems that have varying degrees of "rules-based" (they like to call them "parametric" -- but, with the exception of Catia and SolidEdge, they are NOT) design systems. I have also done a couple of design jobs using (Autodesk) Inventor. For the most part, there are very complicated design systems that create really POOR QUALITY drawings! The people in control of the CAD universe today have NO IDEA how dimensions SHOULD BE applied to a drawing. SolidWorks and ProEngineer like to "rearrange" you dimension to suit somebody's total IGNORANCE as to how dimensions ought to be applied to a drawing.
Documentation is, for the most part, an after-thought. CAD company supplied tutorials are, for the most part, trivial and incomplete. This makes it hard for the "new to CAD" person to get a handle on things. Spend some time looking at the User's Group Forums before you plunk down any cash. This is where you assistance is going to come from!
To be clear, I believe that the CAD industry as a whole made a major mistake in swallowing the concept of "solids" as they did en masse in 1994. They seem to have forgotten that geometry is comprised of: points, paths, areas, and volumes. They have mistaken photo realistic for functional. They seem to have forgotten that models, while they need to be accurate representations, they also need to be variable to represent various tolerance conditions in order to properly control overall fit-up. They seem to never have known that drawings are inherently schematic in nature and, as such, often need to be exaggerated to convey information to those actually making the design a reality. This is why I often tell people that I hate all the modern CAD systems.
Now, having said that, I often tell new (often start-up) businesses to start out (at least) using Alibre. My reasoning here is simple. It has nearly all the tools that the high-priced systems have for a total initial investment of $1100/seat (that is reputed to be coming down in the very near term) with an annual update & license fee running in the $300 range. This buys you a reasonably powerful CAD toolset plus a basic CAM toolset that can compete pretty much head-to-head with SolidWorks or ProEngineer. You are (dumb solids) compatible with both SolidWorks and ProEngineer and actually have more configuration and command structure control with Alibre than with either SolidWorks or ProEngineer. The downside (other than a couple of known bugs in the current release -- which is also true of other CAD products) lies mostly in your having to figure out work arounds for some pre-programmed commands available in other CAD products.
For about $900 you can add the FEMdesigner product to Alibre to have integrated CAD/FEA capabilities. I make no bones that FEMdesigner is a product that needs work before it becomes a designer's analysis tool (rather than an analyst's tool) -- and I am working with them to upgrade parts of their interface (and I get their products for free for working with them in this way -- just so you understand what my interest in the company is) to make it more useable for the designer. If you can afford the pricetag (about $8500), FEMap is a more powerful and intuitive FEA analysis tool.
As I said, it depends on what you need from your toolset.