Are cad operator job opportunities growing or declining?

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Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most cad operator opportunities?

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the_lost_art in Brewster, New York

57 months ago

Operative word being CAD "operator". If you are a CAD Operator than your job prospects will be limited. Train/retrain yourself in drafting (Mechanical, Electrical, Architectural or Civil) than your job prospects will increase. Civil and Architectural jobs are tight right now, but electrical remains pretty good in Silicon Valley types of areas.

Knowing CAD programs does not make you a drafter/designer any more than knowing Photoshop makes you an artist. You have have to learn the lost art of drafting.

Good luck in your search.

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Upenn02 in Swedesboro, New Jersey

57 months ago

I must respectfully disagree; drafting has long been a dead end career. Engineers have in-depth knowledge of cad and are responsible for completing that work today. It is absolutely more efficient - make the "cad work" a responsibility of the engineers, eliminate the cad operator, and generate fatter profit margins for the firm.

Indeed, the coming of the first Autocad drafting application was the herald of the end for the "drafter / cad operator" position. The writing was on the wall those many years ago. Some saw that for what it was and got completely out or moved themeselves up the engineering hierachy.

I personally did not want to be 35, 40, or 50 yr old guy correcting "red lines" for impatient engineers, as a career - and like it or not; no matter how much knowledge you have of Autocad, and a drafting discipline, without that 4yr degree (today its 4yr degree AND a masters!), that's all your worth to a large engineering organization. You have the least amount of respect; I've worked in places where the management had cad operators sitting at lunch tables / benches with computers in front of them and one large printer at the end; with one telephone - for all to share, AND they had to punch a clock!

The day management (i.e. engineers) discovered Autocad was not some magical ritual, and they could train on it and complete their own damn drawings - that was the hint to get out of it altogether or continue your education and move up.

You as a cad operator / drafter became completely marginalized.

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the_lost_art in Brewster, New York

57 months ago

I agree drafting is not what it once was. However, I also disagree that it is a dead end career. Architectural drafting (in a normal economy) still requires good drafters. Engineering (mechanical) is dead. Back to my original education comment. To this day, all architectural degree programs only require 1-2 CAD classes - leaving plenty of room for architectural drafters. frankly, I have been paid well during my 30 year career, granted current times are tough to make ends meet but that doesn't mean drafting is dead.

You have to use your knowledge to expand your horizons. If you have extensive CAD knowledge you have the option to enter into engineering and even teaching drafting. Both of which only require 4 years experience. Most states only require 4 years experience in drafting to obtain a teaching license in drafting/CAD. CAD can also lead into technology types of jobs - pc analyst, help desk associate etc.

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Upenn02 in Swedesboro, New Jersey

57 months ago

Please do not misunderstand; in no way am I questioning the quality of architectural (or other) drafters. I'm only noting these positions have been marginalized in the last decade or so, and many companies on the whole have discovered the need no longer exists to employ a cad "drafter" (insert discipline) because the engineer/architect are fully capable of taking on those responsibilities. It's all about the bottom line, and firms want to squeeze every last possible drop of profit out of contracts. Most engineers / architects are conversant in not only cad but drafting practices as well, as the exposure comes early in the collegial experience, in fact those are usually some of the first classes - this specialized knowledge is no longer "outside" the typical engineering curriculum. Thus, as an engineering manager, why would I employ extra positions to create and/or execute changes to engineering documentation when my engineers are fully capable of those efforts AND signing off on the drawings to boot. The engineer is no longer forced to trust the experience or professionalism of the cad (insert discipline) drafter. Yep, it means folks loose their jobs, but that's how it works. The CDI's, Lincoln Techs, Starr, and Omega Institutes of the world are jokes. They are cad diploma mills where students "barely" scratch the surface of their chosen cad specialization. This is a well known fact as many of these "schools" have pending lawsuits against them. I would suggest anyone considering a cad (enter the specialization here) drafting career take a long hard look at it first to determine if your goals will be attained by traveling down that road.

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Ben Lewis in Portsmouth, Ohio

55 months ago

the_lost_art in Brewster, New York said: Operative word being CAD "operator". If you are a CAD Operator than your job prospects will be limited. Train/retrain yourself in drafting (Mechanical, Electrical, Architectural or Civil) than your job prospects will increase. Civil and Architectural jobs are tight right now, but electrical remains pretty good in Silicon Valley types of areas.

Knowing CAD programs does not make you a drafter/designer any more than knowing Photoshop makes you an artist. You have have to learn the lost art of drafting.

Good luck in your search.

I am a CAD student right now and i was looking to go into some type of enviromental design. I am resurching as much as i can now before iam stuck..Does anyone one think its a good idea to go into a CAD bassed feild?

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Ben Lewis in Portsmouth, Ohio

55 months ago

It seems as tho everyone is saying that being a CAD operator is not a good idea right now.lucky for me i understand our econ. right now so in a few years when i have my what i need to obtain a good job i will be ready.

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748 in Charlotte, North Carolina

53 months ago

Ben Lewis in Portsmouth, Ohio said: I am a CAD student right now and i was looking to go into some type of enviromental design. I am resurching as much as i can now before iam stuck..Does anyone one think its a good idea to go into a CAD bassed feild?

I have 20 plus years of manual drafting/AutoCAD with Microstation to boot, however, I have not worked in my field for over five years. Absolutely, NO! Unless you plan to pursue at least a four-year engineering degree to compliment your CAD education/training, I would not waste my time in this career field.

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deadend job in Rochester, New York

53 months ago

if you are talking about "cad" or "autocad" that is a dying software.
the field has turned to solidworks. if you plan on learning a drafting software make sure it is solidworks and nothing else because 95% of companies are running this software and if you are limited to only knowing autocad your job options are very limited

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Upenn02 in Mullica Hill, New Jersey

53 months ago

I absolutely concur with Ben from Portsmouth; I too have twenty plus years of experience in the engineering field; however I first started out as a cad drafter, draftsman, cad designer, cad jockey, cad monkey, blah, blah, - those were all the names thrown at me by engineers to describe my function b/c at that time they thought it was magic). My advise would be to avoid the "cad" profession. Today virtually all engineers know or have rudimentary experience with AutoCAD / Microstation and many other software packages. There is no place for the strictly "cad operator"; someone without a four year engineering degree. The position has been severely marginalized; the days of making big dollars by sitting in front of a cad station (with little more than cad drafting training) are over. STAY AWAY - get your four year degree. I was very lucky in that I saw the writing on the wall while I still had years of employment in front of me. I went back to school and worked all the way thru my Masters degree. Sadly, when I was a cad jockey I worked with guys twice my age (40 and up) doing the same thing and at virtually the same pay – but they had nowhere else to go when the golden goose stopped laying eggs b/c they were not degreed. They came off old time drafting boards and into cad and got burned. So again - STAY AWAY, go to college and get your Bachelor of Science degree.

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CAD dude in Washington, Missouri

53 months ago

I'll have to agree with some of the other negative posters here; the CAD Operator is going the way of the Dodo. But, I refuse to bash it as a job. I chose CAD as a career quite a bit after high school. So, I entered the field later than most. Now, nearly a decade later after leaving the college where I trained, I'm searching for work again. A victim of a strained economy, and no it wasn't because I was strictly a "CAD Jockey". What a horrible title; I don't think I will be applying for that one. I took pride in applying thought into everything that I put into my little CAD machine. The truth is companies used to train their people to be designers. And to assume,which most do these days, that the guy with the 2 year degree knows only CAD is fool hardy at best. I've met some seasoned designers that were consulted regularly by engineers on a varietey of engineering topics. However, that trend has changed. It is very likely, in my next incarnation I will have to take two steps back to the redline guy to get my foot in the door. No tears hear though(hey that rhymes); it was my decision. However, the host of this forum shouldn't feel bad about their decision. The drafting degree is a great way to feel out the engineering field and see if you like it. I've met several that liked it and moved on to the engineering field, and others that said no thanks. I've also met many the E.I.T.(Engineer In Training) who decided after a year or so, decided that engineering wasn't what they saw in the brochure.

So, in closing, the new CAD Operator should take some time to think about where they want to be in 10 years(yes I know this is a cliche). Because it very unlikely that they will move to the rank of designer. Best of luck in whatever they decide.

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Keith in Berthoud, Colorado

52 months ago

deadend job in Rochester, New York said: if you are talking about "cad" or "autocad" that is a dying software.
the field has turned to solidworks. if you plan on learning a drafting software make sure it is solidworks and nothing else because 95% of companies are running this software and if you are limited to only knowing autocad your job options are very limited

This depends entirely on what field of 'drafting' we're talking about. Solidworks is used almost entirely by Mechanical engineers and related industries. Solidworks is not used in civil/arch engineering. Autocad and Microstation are both king in those fields. However, with that being said, going to school to study 'drafting' is a big no-no in this day and age. Most decent engineers in industry will at least have some rudimentary knowledge of cad. To make matters worse, because of the severity of this recession, there are A LOT of very qualified engineers out there with exceptional cad skills looking for work. So, if you decide to study 'drafting', you'll be thrown in the same applicant pool as other engineers with more education, more versatile experience, and more potential for upward mobility. I for one work as a cad designer, but I'm also a qualified civil engineer. There are quite a few people in my company that aren't engineers, but have an extensive background in drafting. Yet, no matter how experienced they are, the drafters design work is always substandard compared to the engineers doing the same task. The reason is always rather simple. The drafters never ask enough questions, and simply try to push through the cad work as quickly as possible. The engineers, on the other hand, always ask more questions, and tend to think a lot more about what they're designing, which results in a better product once finished. If I take over a project started by a drafter, I probably spend just as much time revising the drawings as I do completing the final design. Not with the engineers though

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Steve in Brewster, New York

52 months ago

"Drafting" and "Drafters" are both considered a profession. Your comments comparing drafters to engineers is off base. Drafter's are NOT trained in or responsible for design work - in any field. Yes, experienced drafters do GET assigned design work - mainly because the engineers may have the design education but lack the drafting knowledge. In the end, the piece of paper your "design" is printed on is what makes the company money - the faster that piece of paper get's out the better.

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Keith in Berthoud, Colorado

52 months ago

Steve in Brewster, New York said: "Drafting" and "Drafters" are both considered a profession. Your comments comparing drafters to engineers is off base. Drafter's are NOT trained in or responsible for design work - in any field. Yes, experienced drafters do GET assigned design work - mainly because the engineers may have the design education but lack the drafting knowledge. In the end, the piece of paper your "design" is printed on is what makes the company money - the faster that piece of paper get's out the better.

You've just indirectly hit the nail on the head. A drafter is necessary if the engineer doesn't know cad himself/herself, or lacks the techical expertise for the current cad program being used, or possibly if they simply don't have the time to do it themselves. However, many qualified engineers these days know cad themselves, or are more than willing to learn. So if a company can hire an engineer that can also double as a drafter, then why would they bother to hire a 'drafter' in the first place? Isn't it far more efficient for the original designer to create his own drawings directly into cad instead, rather than having to initially explain the designs to a drafter, and then check them afterwards for errors (often a multi-step process)? Having full-time drafters makes perfect sense if the companies engineers can't complete the cad work themselves, and time is of the essence to get the designs on paper and to the client. But this generally isn't the case nowadays........

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CAD Dude in Saint Clair, Missouri

52 months ago

Keith in Berthoud, Colorado said: The drafters never ask enough questions, and simply try to push through the cad work as quickly as possible. The engineers, on the other hand, always ask more questions, and tend to think a lot more about what they're designing, which results in a better product once finished. If I take over a project started by a drafter, I probably spend just as much time revising the drawings as I do completing the final design. Not with the engineers though

I take issue with this part of your statement. You seem to be lumping all drafters and designers into one inept boat. Yes there are quite a few drafters out there that shoot first and ask questions later. However, it is far from the norm. A drafter with a little experience under his or her belt realizes that anything done right the first time is far more efficient than the trial and error method that is perpetuated within engineering firms today. The entry level guy is encouraged to change the design a thousand times in the cad machine and waste reems of paper before they (the engineer and drafter) get it right. The drafter has to scramble to make the ideas reality, rather than discussing a sketch with the engineer prior to ever turning on his or her computer. This is the current dynamic, and it is quite sad. The guys fresh out of school are just becoming "CAD Jockeys" these days because nobody wants to involve them in the process.

Keith's prior statement calls drafters incompentant and incapable of learning just because they don't have the 4 year degree. Pretty bold considering many of the greatest engineers in U.S. history had little education beyond high school, if any at all. However, that is the past. The role of drafter will probably be diminished, if not eliminated within the future. How long? I don't know. What will happen to "engineering"? Will you have engineers spending there entire day drafting? Where is the economics in that?

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Keith in Berthoud, Colorado

52 months ago

CAD Dude, I agree with most of your comments. However, let me clarify a few things. I can only speak on personal experience, so I don't mean to lump all drafter and engineers into different catagories. I'm sure there are plenty of extemely talented drafters out there with plenty of potential (and probably a lot of incompetent engineerings with no potential at all). There is no doubt about that. My earlier point is that drafters in general are now facing a perpetual uphill battle. First, the severity of this recession means there are tens of thousands of engineers with cad experience chasing a rather small number of jobs (drafting jobs or not). Second, nearly all employers these days fully expect all graduating engineerings to be relatively proficient in some cad software the moment they enter the workforce. Finally, engineers that either don't know cad or don't adapt to their changing roles are quickly becoming obsolete. None of this is good news for a traditional drafter. They are now going to have to compete with an ever growing number of engineers in the workforce on equal footing. But from the perspective of an employeer, a 'drafter' and an 'engineer' are not equals. The pendulum will always swing in favor of the engineer, whether you agree with that comment or not. Since cad work is involved mainly in the engineering industry, many executives and managers in these companies are former engineers themselves, and probably qualified PE's as well. You won't find many drafters in senior level positions in larger companies. Having a P.E. license is almost a mandatory prequisite to moving up the ranks within an engineering firm. A drafter can't get a P.E., and their positions often peak at a cad manager role. I don't agree with engineers slaving away all day long drafting either, but that's just the way this industry has evolved over the last few decades. The original topic for this forum was whether or not 'cad operator' positions are growing or declining. Declining!

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CAD Dude in Saint Clair, Missouri

52 months ago

Keith in Berthoud, Colorado said: Declining!

If you read my first post on this topic, I believe that you would see that we are on the same side. I could not in good conscientious recommend drafting as a good career choice. I can speak on this with credibility, as I am an unemployed designer myself. At best, it is a good temporary career to work in while moving up or on to something else. Keith, I was merely responding to your rather coarse attitude toward drafters. Based on your recent post, I understand that your comments were probably based strictly on a few past or present co-workers of yours, and which are not something that you wholly believe to be true. However, those comments should be used as further fuel to discourage incoming drafters from ever pursuing the career. Many engineers have those very same opinions of drafters. They may never communicate them directly to the drafter, but can be seen indirectly though the drafter’s paycheck these days.
“Declining”, I would say yes, especially, if you entertain many of the internet job boards. These positions sometimes have designer, and occasionally have drafter in the title, and yet for education required it reads B.S. in engineering. I’ve even seen some where the duties described looked almost entirely drafting related. Granted, the engineering degree is the preferred requirement for the job, but it does put the drafter in the same ring with the engineer. All is not entirely lost though; most of the job boards are for companies that can afford to have a dual functioning engineer. There are still firms out there that don’t advertise and still use designers without the B.S.

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CAD Dude in Saint Clair, Missouri

52 months ago

Keith in Berthoud, Colorado said: Declining!
Continued.

Again, my advice for anyone considering going drafting is “DON’T DO IT”. I have enjoyed good portion of my time in the field, but feel like many other designers that I am being pushed out. Anyone entering the field now will likely not be allowed to design squat.

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CAD Dude in Saint Clair, Missouri

52 months ago

Follow the link below to see what the Department of Labor and Statistics has to say about drafting as a profession as a whole. It is not the entire picture, but it may help someone make up there mind on drafting as a career choice.

www.bls.gov/oco/ocos111.htm

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Keith in Berthoud, Colorado

52 months ago

Agreed. Sorry to hear you're not working at the moment though. Maybe that will change as the economy improves. I'd like to add a few things for people that still wish to pursue this career option, or currently are. First, if you've chosen to get a certificate/associates in drafting, then ONLY go to school at a local public community college. DON'T enroll in a rip-off for-profit private school like ITT, Devry, etc. as you'll probably never be able to pay off your huge student loans on a drafters salary. Second, make sure you learn programs like Solidworks, Civil 3D, Microstation and Autocad first. Other specialized programs can follow later. Proficiency in those programs mentioned should open a few doors in the civil and mechanical engineering industries, which is where most of the job opportunities are anyway. Stay away from residential and architectural drafting though, as those two fields won't recover for at least a few more years unfortunately, if ever. Third, if you enjoy cad, but you're also good at math, then you should also consider working as a survey technician. That field can never go away, as survey techs will always be needed while there are construction projects underway. Yes, construction activity is a bit slow at the moment, but it will come back again eventually. Finally, the best option for anyone would be to follow through with a full engineering degree and possibly work as a drafter/designer after the fact. You could start out as a drafter/designer and then move on to other opportunities. A traditional drafter won't have as many options as an engineer unfortunately, but that's just the way it is. I for one have a civil engineering degree, but primarily work as a designer. However, I wouldn't have my current position if I wasn't an engineer to begin with, so my options may have been more limited otherwise. Drafting can be an enjoyable career choice, but people should be aware of all it's pitfalls before jumping into it.

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Steve in Brewster, New York

52 months ago

Great comments on this feed. Frankly, after 30 years experience as a DRAFTER (civil, mechanical, electrical and architectural) the biggest question is what do you want to do/be. Drafting is a profession period. Meaning, if you want to draw professionally drafting is your career. If you want to dabble with some design work, consider taking some engineering related courses (in addition to your drafting). If you want to design "anything" then go to engineering school. Engineers are licensed - meaning they can be sued if their design fails. Drafters are not licensed and cannot be sued.

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CAD Dude in Saint Clair, Missouri

52 months ago

Keith and Steve,

Great comments, and from both perspectives(engineer and draftsman). Steve is definitely right that drafting is still a career. However, I severely doubt that a redline draftsman will find many opportunities in the next 10 to 20 years. Most of the non-CAD proficient engineers are retiring and being replaced by engineers with some CAD knowledge. Does this mean that designer/draftman goes away? I don't believe it is necessary. It takes all types in this line of work. Ex-construction workers who usually make excellent designers. Is it necessary for them to invest several thousands of dollars and maybe a decade in school(while working) to become an engineer? Don't know.

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adalea in Yorkville IL in Roselle, Illinois

49 months ago

Agreed; The "sheep skin" is the most commonly successful way to get one's foot in the door. Thus, continuing education naturally follows, especially for those (me included) who don't have that prize.

By and large the market will govern what it accepts as investment worthy.
To be successful, we must prepare to deliver. That may well mean picking up a few appropriate credit hours each year; designed tworad an ultimate goal of course.

The question for me is "Will I be degreed or a grandfather first?"

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Upenn02 in Swedesboro, New Jersey

49 months ago

Excellent points throughout this discussion. My opinion is if I had the decision in front of me today between being a drafter/designer/cad operator v. engineer I would have to pick the latter, esp. if I were concerned with upward mobility. The former were hot jobs to be in 15, 20, 25 yrs ago with the advent of the first cad software programs. Today however any engineer worth his skin (and under 40-45yrs old) has atleast a solid fundamental knowledge of a popular cad system(s). Businesses want to squeeze every last drop of profit from contracts which means the drafter/designer/cad operator position is/has become marginalized. Always boils down to hard cold economics.

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CAD Dude in Washington, Missouri

49 months ago

Upenn02 in Swedesboro, New Jersey said: marginalized. Always boils down to hard cold economics.

Upenn02 has it correct; "marginalized" is the best description one could come up with for the situation. Most places looking for CAD designer's these days are just looking for redline jockey's. For those of us who worked our way up to be designers (folks who can look up create specs, and run calcs, and draw all at the same desk), we are facing some tough very career changing decisions right now... Go back to school for engineering just to come out and do the same thing you did before you went back to school, however with a possible higher paycheck. Or, leave engineering altogether because many drafters who had design duties would never want to go back to doing redlines for a unseasoned engineer who has little common sense and zero respect for the drafter. I'm not sure what category that I fall into yet.

My advice for anybody entering thinking about drafting as a career, avoid it like the plague.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

48 months ago

[QUOTE etc.
Third, if you enjoy cad, but you're also good at math, then you should also consider working as a survey technician. That field can never go away, as survey techs will always be needed while there are construction projects underway.

I would have to respectively disagree with that assessment. Here in the Mid-Atlantic section of the country, companies have been migrating away from survey technicians for years. Instead, they have the field crews take jobs from field to finished drawing and do all their own comps. I do not see this as a good thing, but it is happening.

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Eddie Reize in Lawrenceville, Georgia

42 months ago

Nice comments guys. I have friends working in New York as CAD Technicians for a large Bridge Design firm for over 25 years. They are fixtures in the company. They can tell you things about complex bridges that engineers with five years experience never heard about.
I also know that this same company did not employ a CAD Tech in the last twenty years, they instead bring in engineering students as interns and those willing to learn the software of choice are later employed as Engineers.
Someone mentioned engineers are licensed, that is not always the case. I know project managers without a PE license. A PE must stamp the drawings but anyone can prepare them.

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MISTAPAT in Smyrna, Georgia

39 months ago

im older(40) and pushed out of construction. going to state school for cad on my way to an engineering degree. i look up jobs daily an it looks good to me. im just saying.the comments on here could be said about any career.technology eliminates jobs.

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CONSTRUCTOR DELUX in San Gabriel, California

38 months ago

IS MUCH WORSE THAN ANY ONE
HERE SAID , THINKS OR KNOWS.

ALL THE COMPANIES WANT MULTI-SKILLS AND EXPECT THEM FOR FREE AND NO ONE IS TELLING THEM TO JAM IT WHERE THE SUN NEVER SHINES..

ADOBE , RHINO , I CANT EVEN THINK OF ALL THE DEMANDS AND ALL FOR LOW PAY..

THE COMPANIES WANT A PROJECT MANAGER AND CAD MANAGER ALL IN ONE AND I SAY PUSH IT !!!

OVER SUPPLIED A GAIN BY THE WRONG GOVERNMENT STATS.

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CONSTRUCTOR DELUX in San Gabriel, California

38 months ago

I FOR GOT ANOTHER ISSUE ALL THE FAKE , BOGUS JOB LISTINGS ON CRAIGSLIST .

YES , YOU KNOW THEM , THOSE ARE THE ONES DEMANDING GOD FOR 12 $$ PER HOUR..

SEND IN AND NEVER GET A RESPONSE..

THE COMPANY OWNERS ARE STILL SHOUTING OUT WE NEED MORE GOOD DRAFTERS .
THERE IS ALL WAYS A SHORTAGE OF GOOD WORKERS THAT'S THE RHETORIC THEY PLAY ..

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CONSTRUCTOR DELUX in San Gabriel, California

38 months ago

I FOR GOT ANOTHER ISSUE ALL THE FAKE , BOGUS JOB LISTINGS ON CRAIGSLIST .

YES , YOU KNOW THEM , THOSE ARE THE ONES DEMANDING GOD FOR 12 $$ PER HOUR..

SEND IN AND NEVER GET A RESPONSE..

THE COMPANY OWNERS ARE STILL SHOUTING OUT WE NEED MORE GOOD DRAFTERS .
THERE IS ALL WAYS A SHORTAGE OF GOOD WORKERS THAT'S THE RHETORIC THEY PLAY ..

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shannon3095 in Jacksonville, Florida

38 months ago

I dont waste my time on craigslist anymore, Almost every listing is some long drawn out phishing scam to sell your personal info or get u to pay for some background check or school BULLSH*T. I have just about given up on using the internet to find a job opening. I think everyone should strike ! STOP USING THESES WEBSITES

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bootknifecity in Garner, North Carolina

38 months ago

Agreed.... and I'm the 35 year old "cad monkey" at the beck and call of engineering interns 10 years younger than me. You want to talk about "marginalized"??? Every day my sanity and my wrist suffer at that CAD station (a POS computer at a countertop) while my intern coworkers that have been out of college for fifteen minutes run the gauntlet on me like i am a short order cook.

I draw the same things for them over and over and over. I catch all sorts of design and "fit up" errors in their work and kick it back to them. Do you think they thank me or respect me? HA! Forget it. They dismiss me, fix their design issue, slap it on my desk at 5:00pm and go home while i continue to draw at breakneck speed until 7:00pm because they take the entire life cycle of the project to do their "design". The drawing portion is just an afterthought to them but the drawings still have to "urgently go out that day!!!".

I finally go home, soak my aching wrist, and then do it all over the next day. Oh, and I have a four year pre-professional architecture degree.

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Industrial design GUY in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

38 months ago

Your in the wrong job my friend, a true architect should NEVER be working for engineers. As an architect you have more talent and creative capabillity than any engineer --- that's why your an Architect! I'm an Industrial designer, I've designed everything from toasters to aircraft interiors...we work with engineers all they time. They have thier uses but do not run the show so to speak. I a fellow creative professional I would tell you to move on and get out of there. Good Luck.

bootknifecity in Garner, North Carolina said: Agreed.... and I'm the 35 year old "cad monkey" at the beck and call of engineering interns 10 years younger than me. You want to talk about "marginalized"??? Every day my sanity and my wrist suffer at that CAD station (a POS computer at a countertop) while my intern coworkers that have been out of college for fifteen minutes run the gauntlet on me like i am a short order cook.

I draw the same things for them over and over and over. I catch all sorts of design and "fit up" errors in their work and kick it back to them. Do you think they thank me or respect me? HA! Forget it. They dismiss me, fix their design issue, slap it on my desk at 5:00pm and go home while i continue to draw at breakneck speed until 7:00pm because they take the entire life cycle of the project to do their "design". The drawing portion is just an afterthought to them but the drawings still have to "urgently go out that day!!!".

I finally go home, soak my aching wrist, and then do it all over the next day. Oh, and I have a four year pre-professional architecture degree.

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Industrial design GUY in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

38 months ago

Your in the wrong job my friend, a true architect should NEVER be working for engineers. As an architect you have more talent and creative capabillity than any engineer --- that's why your an Architect! I'm an Industrial designer, I've designed everything from toasters to aircraft interiors...we work with engineers all they time. They have thier uses but do not run the show so to speak. I a fellow creative professional I would tell you to move on and get out of there. Good Luck.

bootknifecity in Garner, North Carolina said: Agreed.... and I'm the 35 year old "cad monkey" at the beck and call of engineering interns 10 years younger than me. You want to talk about "marginalized"??? Every day my sanity and my wrist suffer at that CAD station (a POS computer at a countertop) while my intern coworkers that have been out of college for fifteen minutes run the gauntlet on me like i am a short order cook.

I draw the same things for them over and over and over. I catch all sorts of design and "fit up" errors in their work and kick it back to them. Do you think they thank me or respect me? HA! Forget it. They dismiss me, fix their design issue, slap it on my desk at 5:00pm and go home while i continue to draw at breakneck speed until 7:00pm because they take the entire life cycle of the project to do their "design". The drawing portion is just an afterthought to them but the drawings still have to "urgently go out that day!!!".

I finally go home, soak my aching wrist, and then do it all over the next day. Oh, and I have a four year pre-professional architecture degree.

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Industrial design GUY in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

38 months ago

Your in the wrong job my friend, a true architect should NEVER be working for engineers. As an architect you have more talent and creative capabillity than any engineer --- that's why your an Architect! I'm an Industrial designer, I've designed everything from toasters to aircraft interiors...we work with engineers all they time. They have thier uses but do not run the show so to speak. I a fellow creative professional I would tell you to move on and get out of there. Good Luck.

bootknifecity in Garner, North Carolina said: Agreed.... and I'm the 35 year old "cad monkey" at the beck and call of engineering interns 10 years younger than me. You want to talk about "marginalized"??? Every day my sanity and my wrist suffer at that CAD station (a POS computer at a countertop) while my intern coworkers that have been out of college for fifteen minutes run the gauntlet on me like i am a short order cook.

I draw the same things for them over and over and over. I catch all sorts of design and "fit up" errors in their work and kick it back to them. Do you think they thank me or respect me? HA! Forget it. They dismiss me, fix their design issue, slap it on my desk at 5:00pm and go home while i continue to draw at breakneck speed until 7:00pm because they take the entire life cycle of the project to do their "design". The drawing portion is just an afterthought to them but the drawings still have to "urgently go out that day!!!".

I finally go home, soak my aching wrist, and then do it all over the next day. Oh, and I have a four year pre-professional architecture degree.

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jjr5834 in Houston, Texas

35 months ago

I have been in the piping design/drafting field for over 40 years. I started
out in manual drafting and now it is called 3D cad modeling. The payrate in
this area is very good, average pay for 10 years is about 445/hour. Some
more experienced 3D PDS, PDMS, SmartPlant, Cadworx or AutoPlant designers
earn in excess of $70/hour. It is not dead in Houston, Tx.

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jjr5834 in Houston, Texas

35 months ago

Correction, typo 445/hour is actually to read $45/hour.

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jjr5834 in Houston, Texas

35 months ago

jjr5834 in Houston, Texas said: I have been in the piping design/drafting field for over 40 years. I started
out in manual drafting and now it is called 3D cad modeling. The payrate in
this area is very good, average pay for 10 years is about 445/hour. Some
more experienced 3D PDS, PDMS, SmartPlant, Cadworx or AutoPlant designers
earn in excess of $70/hour. It is not dead in Houston, Tx.

Correction, a typo in this: 445/hour to read $45/hour.

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johnz in Wellington, New Zealand

33 months ago

I totally disagree what people are writing in this post. Demand for knowledgable drafters are still high. There are two types of Drafters for example you have a drafter who knows how to use CAD (AutoCad, Microstation) but has no idea what he is drawing or editing according to the Engineer's markups. Then you have a Drafter who knows CAD and also knows what the Engineer is trying to achieve in the process of the drawing these are the drafters which are in demand and therefore a title of "Electrical Drafter or Civil Drafter" are what they can be called or whatever field they are in.

Drafters are still widely used these days for the Engineering field and are still in demand and Engineering Drafters are MORE in demand than Architectural drafters. Arch drafters then to decline if no buidlings are built. But Engineering drafters are always in demand.

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n.galdo in Davao, Philippines

33 months ago

Architect needs engineer and engineers need architect...i think both of them are interconnected to one another...lets make an example,Architect may wish to design 50 storey bldg,,yes architect can desind but doent mean that he include the structural design,,architect are not allowed to design the structural of high rise bldg ,it is very complicated and needs lots of computation and testing before they reniunch it as approved design,,on architecture they always base on standard require for structural design taht allows only for 3 -5 stry bldg...architect design the appearance design exterior and interior including,color,decoration,king of materials,lighting,...but if an architect wish to design a 50 story bldg it cannot stand without structural engineer,,,structural engineer is like a bone of the body of human without bone haman cannot stand..its simple,..architect limited only on Vertical structure like houses where as Engineer are usefull in designing,bridge,roads,bldg,raiway,apron and simple houses...on the other hand if engineer design A 50 STOry bldg,he need an architect to give a good perpective on his design.

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yourall nar nar in Flint, Michigan

31 months ago

cadd is rising like your manmeats did before you started to fart dust. just because you all live in crappy areas.. starting my internship this week for 40,000 a year and still have 2 classes before i have my degree. some of you may still be good, but the rest are out dated, sorry guys. the chance of my hiring direct is about 90% started at 72,000. Nearly guaranteed 6 figures in 8 years. so is cadd on the decline?? for you it is. time to retire boys.

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Kevin in Longmont, Colorado

31 months ago

I think we should forward this to your 'employer', dimwit. Your grammar is awful, not to mention completely nonsensical. I don't know what the recruiters at DeVry are telling you, but there are relatively few, if any, CAD drafters that make 6 figures, let alone in the high 5 figures. Why would you pay a drafter that much when you can hire a qualified engineer to do the same thing, and get better results? As long as engineers know how to effectively use CAD, you don't need drafters. Sorry to burst your bubble, buddy, but the real world is about to teach you a big lesson, in contrast to what you're being falsely told in your classrooms.

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Jim in La Habra, California

29 months ago

I realize this comment was made almost 2 years ago but its just not true. Solidworks is no more competitive than AutoCad or ProEngineer or Catia. It all depends on what a company chooses as its platform. Solidworks is kind of the almost as good as ProEngineer software. But the big companies will stick with PRO/E for all the things it can do that Solidworks just can't do as well as PROE. But there is n magic software to know anymore. Engineers are loosing ground as we become a service economy. Some said the 80s - 90s where the CAD heyday and boy that was true. But its all changed now.

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M in Charlotte, North Carolina

28 months ago

Yes, the jobs are declining. I've been looking for stable work the last 5 years and it just isnt there at least in my location. I moved on to a different occupation and have found more success. Find work, wherever you can cause its NOT in drafting.

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Pepote in Port Washington, New York

26 months ago

Most of you guys have no idea what are talking about. I have been in Engineering managment in 2 companies that manufacture electronics, and I have hired engineers CAD, EEs, CS, etc.. for years. While it is true that there is less demand in the mechanical CAD side, the reason is because tools and interface with builders/manufacturing is much more eficcient now and requiere less people and steps. In my last company we had 4 Autocad guys drawing assemblies, mechanical enclorues etc.. After we got Solidworks we keep the 2 best, and they could do more than the 4 together with Autocad. EEs (aka hardware engineers) while they may mess a litle bit with modeling in solidworks to see how things may look, we don't want they spend more than extrictly necesary doing that since is much cheaper (like half) when made by a drafter. However, these days (2012) machined designs are more affordable what is requiring more mechanical skills and people. But if you want to make more money as a CAD guy move to PCB Design where salaries are half way between drafters and EEs. It requieres some basic skills in electronics, some that can be learn by experience or in some AS degree in electronics. Drafters, unless they only know Autocad, are far from dead!

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Scott Jackson in Overland Park, Kansas

25 months ago

deadend job in Rochester, New York said: if you are talking about " cad " or " autocad " that is a dying software.
the field has turned to solidworks. if you plan on learning a drafting software make sure it is solidworks and nothing else because 95% of companies are running this software and if you are limited to only knowing autocad your job options are very limited

Solidworks is a CAD program

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Mike Radwanski in Erlanger, Kentucky

24 months ago

A CAD operator per say isn't because most engineers have the knowhow today to navigate CAD programs such as CATIA, AutoCAD, and Unigrahpics. I've worked in this profession myself for almost 9 years and I can say that you need more than a 4 year degree in just a general study. You need at least a Mechanical Engineering Technology degree if not a engineering degree. Your options will be better down the road should you want to advance up the chain of command of design. Avoid ITT or other small technical "schools" that are not part of a larger state or private university system.

Now lets talk about pay. You will by no means be upper middle class with this profession. At best you might make 80k with overtime by the end of your career in todays money. As appealing as that sounds, an engineer can make twice that. If you got the smarts, push yourself to get that engineering degree - you will thank yourself years from now.

Last but not least, let's talk about respect. No matter how many years in the field, you will not be respected very much at all. Engineering may throw a bone at you now and then in the way of letting you be on a discloser for a patent when you contributed ideas for 4 or 5. Your also going to have to train every new engineer that comes in the door on whatever product your working on. The young engineer may also make just as much you.

Take it from a guy who has a 4 year degree that isn't related to engineering - get the engineering degree.

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Sjack84 in Overland Park, Kansas

24 months ago

Is there a demand for engineering majors who are skilled CAD drawers? I've been using and learning about Solidworks since my first semester of starting my civil engineering degree. CAD proficiency is not required, but we learned the basics because we should at least know how to draw, dimension, and label a 2D Autocad print for class projects. When we took a brief look at Solidworks I got hooked and chose to learn it on my own on the side. I feel that being able to use programs like Solidworks is probably my most beneficial skill to incorperate into engineering and to differentiate myself from those going into similar engineering fields, but I also think nobody is looking for that addition to having an engineering degree.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

24 months ago

The civil engineering firms that I am aware of use either Microstation or AutoCad (or both). Job postings for CAD drafters over the past few years that I have seen are requiring more knowledge of 3D drafting.

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