Career Prospects for CAD Opperators Without and Engineering Degree?

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Contradiction in Appleton, Wisconsin

47 months ago

I’ve been considering for sometime now a career move towards doing CAD Design work exclusively. I have a degree in Industrial (Product) Design and while I love the career, I am finding it difficult to find employment opportunities and I’m afraid that it won’t lead me to much job stability in the future. I don’t feel confident in setting down roots anywhere if my next job is likely to be in another city or state.

So I’ve been thinking about focusing solely on CAD Operator jobs. I know this is a very non-specific job title but by that I mean working in an Engineering department primarily with Solidworks, Pro-E, Inventor, etc doing 3D Modeling and Technical drawings.

I have experience in Rhino 3D (3D modeler geared towards surfacing), a specialized 3D upholstery program called Lectra Design Concept 3D that is a parametric modeler, I'm using AutoDesk Inventor 2010 right now at work, and I’m now taking a Solidworks course at my local tech college. I would like to get some Pro-E training too if the opportunity presents itself.

I am fully aware that this is often considered a skill sub-set of Engineers and Product Designers like myself, but the advantage I see is that if I do go out and get more experience in Parametric modeling programs then I would have the versatility to at least seek out contract work in more places. I would hope that overtime as I build up expertise and experience that it would give me a decent pay grade and some job security. (CONTINUED IN NEXT REPLY)

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Contradiction in Appleton, Wisconsin

47 months ago


I’d also certainly consider getting a true Mechanical Engineering degree over time too, but I don’t see myself going back to get that degree before I start working though. $20K more in student load debt would kill me at this point, and there’s no guarantee that I’d find immediate employment with it anyway. There are plenty of unemployed Engineers too. I would happily pick away at it over time though taking a class or two a semester until I earn a degree.

So anyway, what do you think my chances for success would be taking this direction?

Am I just going to get the short end of the stick because I’m not a degreed Engineer?

Is there generally enough positions out there for contract CAD modeling jobs (even if they are 6 month to 1 year terms) to keep steady employment?

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