As with anything, there is a learning curve to the tools and software here in the space. Some people learn these techniques in their course work, some do not. If you are interested in learning to develop files for the some of the equipment we have here in the lab, we recommend that you start by taking a look at some of these links.
This is a great program for developing vector based images. Most of the machines we have here in the lab (Laser Cutter, Vinyl Cutter, and CNC Router) will run files from Adobe Illustrator extremely well so it is definitely a great piece of software to get you started.
Lynda.com: Illustrator courses (using your NPCUID and password, one can sign up for a free Lynda account)
This program is used for the development of 3D models. These files from Rhino work extremely well with the 3D printers here on campus as well as the CNC router. If you are interested in these tools, this would be a good program to become familiar with.