When it comes to DCC (Digital Content Creation) packages, in terms of a 'standard' NextGen pipeline, at the moment 3ds Max + ZBrush + Photoshop are considered to be the usual game industry tools.
The advantages of staying with these products are that they are well-supported, by game engines (say Crytek or Unreal), by plugin developers (like Flatiron), with plenty of advice on the forums, tons of tutorials available (free or paid, like Digital Tutors), also for employment... like moving between studios.
However, lots of people use (and are successful with) Maya, Blender, Mudbox, Gimp etc. etc. Studios differ as to which DCC products they use. I think it helps to go the 'standard' route, but if you can output great models and textures with any DCC package, and somehow get them into CE3, you'll do very well.