Getting a cad drafter job.

Comments (28)

Host

How did you get your start doing cad drafter work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

Senior Citizen in Atlanta, Georgia

95 months ago

You are sort of drawing on the wrong layer, Chad. It is unlikely an employer will read what you wrote here. Click on the Indeed logo upper left of page and search for job listings that have the word "Auto-Cad" in them.

Upenn02 in Mullica Hill, New Jersey

66 months ago

JR- Do not fret. It is a good that you are "committed" to your education/training; many cannot say that. The bottom line is this: you make of your education/training what you make of it. If you want to be a civil drafter than go for it, and be the best at it.

Marc in Melbourne, Florida

65 months ago

Upenn02' in Voorhees, New Jersey said: Years ago, I earned an A.S. degree in Mechanical Cad / Design Technology from a local 2yr technical school. I became a much sought-after cad "specialist" and worked for major engineering firms up and down the east coast; making good money (for a cad operator), and traveling a great deal chasing those dollars. I knew my craft inside out; I was conversant enough in the major cad software programs of the day to mentor other cad personal and young engineers; I gained multi-faceted cad experience in diverse engineering environments. However, I arrived at the point where I realized I was going to become trapped as a cad operator. The work is always the same; no matter what discipline you are or how experienced you become, you could never get past the "cad operator" stigma. As if this were not bad enough - the engineers began to do the work typically handled by cad the operators. As soon as companies discovered cad was not some magical ability to complete engineering drawings on computers, for which engineers did not have the skill to do - the gig was up. I did not want to be a 30 yr old cad drafter / operator trying to eek out a living...and I had already hit the top of the pay ceiling as far as cad operators go. So I earned Bachelors and Masters degrees and moved further up the ladder. Now I probably couldn't even boot up AutoCAD much less create engineering documentation. It was only a matter of time before the "cad operator", designer, drafting-engineer, specialist or whatever you want to call it now, was usurped by engineers.

Today I would not honestly advise someone to get into that line of work - as the "cad guy without a 4yr science degree days" are over, for good.

You hit the nail on the head. I've done "drafting" design in many diciplines in the last 16 years. I got laid off in Aug. 09 when a P.E. mechanical engr was hired. Can't find a "cad" job antwhere, and am about to find a 7-11 store to work at.

Upenn02 in Mullica Hill, New Jersey

65 months ago

Look outside the country, if you can: the canadian frontier up near the arctic circle has oil related opportunities for anyone hardy enough live there. Cold? yes, six month darkness? yes....BUT your making a decent buck and eating.

Cody in Indianapolis, Indiana

65 months ago

As I mentioned before (Graduating from ITT Tech in 2008), one of the recruiters approached me recently and mentioned I should come back for a Bachelors Degree in Construction Management......which I don't think is a good idea at this time, maybe in a few years; I replied. So is this a good Idea about going back maybe in 2012 or 2014, Or Like Upenn02 said "just stay away from ITT". But the problem is that credits that I have earned already from ITT do not transfer to say IU or Purdue and if they do.. it will be a very small amount. A little help please....

mikr in Hillsboro, Oregon

65 months ago

Jason Tyson in Baton Rouge, Louisiana said: Hey, can anybody give me some advise on the careers in CADD. I've been in federal law enforcement for 8yrs and I'm not the "corruptable" type so I decided not to re-enlist and look in CADD for a new line of work. It seems interesting and I have a little experince in engineering design after I got my first patents last year for a wrist watch and a compact rebreather for Navy SEALs. So any guidence is greatly accepted thanks.

Drafting is basically a dead-end job thanks to the likes of auto-cad and billy gates. But the schools keep pumping them out. I can't tell you how many times I,ve been laid off and spent several years trying to find another which only lasts a few months. Computers have basically turned a hard earned skill into a production job

chastua in Eustis, Florida

65 months ago

mikr in Hillsboro, Oregon said: Drafting is basically a dead-end job thanks to the likes of auto-cad and billy gates. But the schools keep pumping them out. I can't tell you how many times I,ve been laid off and spent several years trying to find another which only lasts a few months. Computers have basically turned a hard earned skill into a production job

so why don't you learn Autocad if you enjoy drafting? If you did you would quickly realize why hand drafting is no longer done. I was recently laid off myself but I blame the economy,
not the occupation.

chastua in Eustis, Florida

65 months ago

Upenn02 in Swedesboro, New Jersey said: ..And that "graphics grunt work" is exactly why the drafting career is a dead end job, albeit all the tech training schools would deny that. There is no better example of what not to do when starting a career then seeing some old timer sitting in front of a cad tube all day long; not to mention the fact that one can only make some much as a cad operator / drafter. Lastly, I will not degrade myself by commenting on what you think I should and should not do where I work, at length. That would be absolutely ridiculous; even more so since its coming from someone who has been a cad operator for twenty years. That in itself says everything that needs to be said. I'm just happy others will read this and realize they don't want to join the band on the Titanic.

First of all, you admitted in an earlier posting that you probably couldn't do cad anymore. That's my point exactly.
Engineers don't have time to RTFM. I make no apologies for being a cad operator all these years and you arrogant guys who need our skills should just accept the fact that we are just as necessary to the process as the ones who seal the drawings.

Upenn02 in Swedesboro, New Jersey

64 months ago

It was not my point to be arrogant; but if it is taken that way, so be it. My goal was to paint a realistic and accurate picture to someone considering a career in cad drafting as cad operator / drafter. They need to know about the not so pretty underside of the occupation before being able to make an educated decision which will no doubt affect the rest of their career (as well as ability to earn and therefore station in life). The saddest thing in the world is to see someone "stuck" in a career or position they've come to regret and yet cannot move because they have been a cad operator/drafter for 15 or 20 years. Most people want to traverse upwards in their respective careers and become an irreplaceable element. That is not the typical profile of cad operators / drafters no matter how well they know the trade. I've seen up close and personal entire cad/drafting departments get axed b/c management felt they could bring in new people cheaper to complete the same work. People who were very good at what they did. They had no bargaining power since the "Tech" institutes (jokes) are pumping out new "CAD" graduates day and night.

jr in Argyle, Texas

64 months ago

i agree with some of the comments above, if you want to get into cad, use it as a way in (if you can even get in), but look for higher, better and more specialized fields using Autocad. Find a field or a cad job that cant easily be replaced. If you are using autocad and only autocad, you can be replaced.

Push your way into a design field. Or find a cad job that uses some sort of addon program where special training or some sort of project management is required. This way, the fresh graduate cant just step in and take over.

Designer in Phoenix, Arizona

64 months ago

I agree with the diploma mill comments, I am out of work for 11 months now and have 20 YEARS CAD/design experience using Solidworks, Pro-e, Inventor and Autocad

hardly any companies want drafters we do all that in one package...even worse my global company had me send my models to India to get drafted

this SUCKS

chastua in Eustis, Florida

64 months ago

sounds to me like you need to teach. beats the hell out of all the crap that goes on in an office.

Upenn02 in Swedesboro, New Jersey

64 months ago

Designer: perhaps you can get a teaching certificate to teach secondary school?? I know a few guys who did that instead of going full tilt back to school for undergrad or graduate degree. They teach are teaching for a living. You might even reel in a gig teaching at the same diploma mills...it would seem irony is not without a sense of humor.

Upenn02 in Swedesboro, New Jersey

64 months ago

You'll need a degree in architecture to become a registered architect; but you don't need that to start your own architectural business - hire your own architects while you focus on bringing in clients. You will of course, need to know how to keep your business profitable.

crm in Anchorage, Alaska

64 months ago

So any suggestions for someone wanting to move from WA to Alaska in regards to jobs available? Companies to avoid? Area's of expertise that seem to be the most viable? Obviously the gas and oil industry but I don't have any experience in this type of drafting but with 16 years of experience, there should be something, right?

chastua in Eustis, Florida

64 months ago

I met a petroleum engineer who told me that Alaska will forgive student loans if you stay and teach for a few years. You could teach drafting and finish that Bachelor's degree perhaps.
Just a thought.

weitgiest in Altamonte Springs, Florida

64 months ago

The only teaching (adjunct) jobs I've seen require a Bachelor's degree.
I've resigned myself to the fact theat there are NO drafting jobs available - not til the economy is going full boil.
I do see jobs for 3D modeling, but htey are always industry specific - and want their favorite software- of which there are hundreds nowadays. So, again, ho do you get trained for one of these positions - I don't see these advanced technical trades addressed in Community Colleges.

jr in Argyle, Texas

64 months ago

Weitgiest,

I hope someone can prove me wrong but you wont find a community college that will teach you a specific software outside of the mainstream Microstation and Autocad. Solidworks is also pretty popular.

Training for industry specific software comes from within the company and you have to show that you are detail oriented enough to sit in that seat.

Construction in general is way way down. The company I work for is down to a skeleton crew in all departments.. inside and out. And I'm sure our competitors are also feeling the strain.

chastua in Eustis, Florida

64 months ago

Try a vocational school. They are looking for experience mainly
and a BS is not required in a lot of them.

cosmzz in Hillsborough, North Carolina

60 months ago

Jason Tyson in Baton Rouge, Louisiana said: Hey, can anybody give me some advise on the careers in CADD. I've been in federal law enforcement for 8yrs and I'm not the "corruptable" type so I decided not to re-enlist and look in CADD for a new line of work. It seems interesting and I have a little experince in engineering design after I got my first patents last year for a wrist watch and a compact rebreather for Navy SEALs. So any guidence is greatly accepted thanks.

Think twice and hard before signing up for a Drafting education.

Engineering-Drafting has changed in the past 15-20 years where CAD software has become more Automated, Robust, and highly specialized to a engineering field. In the 80's and 90's CAD software increased productivity of a "DRAFTER" by elimination meticulous line-work or ART of making a blueprint. in the late 90's and to present CAD transitioning from a blue print machine into "Engineering Software" which really makes a virtual model of a project.

What has changed is CAD/Modling Software is becoming more catered to each particular engineering field where a model can be created, tested, manipulated, calculated, emailed can be performed (these are function of an engineer. Once an engineer has created a model with a little effort can make a beautiful drawing an simply let machine control handle the rest.

My advise is if your looking for a certificate or Associates in Drafting is don't do it. Instead find a program more specialized in you in a specific field and take some CAD on the side if you want to be in demand as a drafter.

road_dog

60 months ago

Host said: How did you get your start doing cad drafter work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

You might want to try your local vocational, or technical college..
see if they offer the drafting program, which now a days is all cad. not like is was when I stared out as a drafter in 1979... Good luck and much success..

Orunipl in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania

29 months ago

I've read quite a few posts and it seems alot of success in any type of cad work is just to freelance. I started a civil technology program last year that focuses on autocad, microstation, and autocad civil 3D. I don't want to turn back now as i've invested too much time and money in school, and as im getting older i need to get out of my backbreaking warehouse job of many years. All im hearing anywhere in the country is all drafting positions are extremely hard to come by these days. Any advice on other programs i could learn or some steps to take when i start looking for work. I'm just looking for some glimmer of hope that if im work hard enough something may come of it in a field that im enjoying.

weitgiest in Dayton, Maryland

29 months ago

Mashpro in Sanford, Florida said: Thanks for the insight "Carrie in Chandler, Arizona.

Mashpro - email me netscape@aol.com. I moved from Florida to DC to keep working in architecture, but I still occassionally get requests for help in Fl. that I'd like to pass on to soemone deserving.

weitgiest in Dayton, Maryland

29 months ago

[QUOTE Any advice on other programs ] Revit - you can get a 30 day trial version, watch tons of Youtube videos & build a couple of models from old cad plans.

oiver55 in West Orange, New Jersey

23 months ago

John in Reading, Pennsylvania said: I have a bachelors in Fine Arts, and am considering getting a CAD certificate. Is it worth it? Would my BFA put me ahead at all or is the work strictly engineering related?

I currently have a BFA also and I am currently looking into becoming a CAD Drafter, would like to know what you wound up doing, and how things turned out. ANy words of advice.
Thanks

Steve in Tampa, Florida

22 months ago

I am a person that has done it all in the drafting profession. I started out as a board drafter in the 1970's and graduated to CADD in the late 80's. I did get a 4 year Engineering Technology degree in 1981. I have held job titles such as Drafter-Designer, Senior Designer, Technologist, Engineering Specialist, Technical Professional and Engineer. I can tell you that there was a time you could walk into an engineering office and get hired immediately based on your qualifications. Everything has changed with the advent of job boards. Its not that the profession of drafting is dead or dying. Its the fact that everyone interested in the job country-wide can apply for it. We are talking hundreds of applications for 1 position. That is why if you apply for a drafting job via a job board, you can be almost certain your application will fall into a black hole and you will not hear back from the people you sent it to.

My best advise is to do like I did and set up your own drafting service company. You can target your market area and take control of your future.

JANETKISSHO in SYDNEY, Australia

18 months ago

Learn everything about cad from a good place, go for an internship or do freelance work for a few months,, have a good profile and then apply for job. [url=www.cadforum.cz/forum_en/forum_posts.asp?TID=9588&PID=24748&
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