37 Essential Skills You Need To Be a Welder

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 11, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Welders are professionals who use special machines to join metal parts together. Regardless of your current job history and qualifications, acquiring the required skills to be a welder can significantly improve your odds of succeeding in this field. You can find out what the most important skills are for the role and work on them through research and practice. In this article, we discuss what a welder is, explore their typical job duties and list some of the most important skills for the role.

What is a welder?

A welder is a professional who uses intense heat and gas to either join metal parts together or repair various faults in metal constructions. Given the widespread use of metal parts for various industrial, construction and manufacturing applications, welders are typically in high demand and require a varied skill set. Besides being able to physically put together metal parts, they also need to be able to study the project specifications and select the most appropriate practices for each situation.

There are generally two types of welders:

  • Unskilled: They lack specific training and skills, and they often work on simpler construction projects and complete repetitive work that doesn't require as much specialized knowledge. They typically perform basic tasks and assist skilled welders in various projects.

  • Skilled: They used various apprenticeships and training courses to develop specific welding skills that enable them to work independently and use written documents and blueprints to guide their work. They have specific knowledge in relevant areas, like how different metals react to various welding techniques.

Related: How To Become a Welder in 6 Steps

What do welders do?

The exact job responsibilities of a welder greatly depend on the type of job they are hired to perform. Some of the most common tasks are:

  • Using torches and arcs to weld various pieces of metal together

  • Operating a wide range of welding equipment depending on each job situation

  • Analyzing their equipment and taking appropriate measures in case they discover any defects

  • Monitoring various welding processes and making sure the heat doesn't change the materials' size and shape

  • Making sure all welding work complies with safety standards and industry specifications

  • Assembling and disassembling each welding component before and after a job

Related: How Much Does a Welder Make?

37 skills to be a welder

If you're interested in becoming a welder, here are some of the most relevant skills you need on the job, separated into categories:

Mathematical skills

Becoming a successful welder requires extensive mathematical skills. Most jobs require you to calculate exact dimensions, understand blueprints, draw sketches and do other similar activities that require math skills. Some of the most relevant math skills for the role are:

  • Spatial reasoning

  • Understanding 2D and 3D diagrams

  • Interpreting sketches

  • Reading blueprints

  • Calculating exact dimensions

Physical capabilities

Most welders need to be in good physical shape to successfully perform the role. Given the nature of the job, welders often have to endure challenging work conditions that may imply standing for long periods of time, carrying heavy objects and bending and twisting to reach a position from which they can perform their duties. They also hold their torches in a steady position for long periods of time, which require a strong grip and a steady hand. Some of the most relevant physical skills for the role are:

  • Physical strength

  • Physical endurance

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Dexterity

  • Steady hands

  • Good vision

  • Good mobility and flexibility

Related: Welding Jobs: Average Salary and Highest-Paying Positions

Attention to detail

Having a natural or acquired ability to notice even seemingly unimportant details is usually crucial for successfully working as a welder. Some of the structures welders work on, such as bridges, airplanes and ships, require special precision, as any faulty welding job has the potential to endanger people. Also, some welders work in dangerous conditions, so it's important for them to pay attention to their surroundings to avoid injury. Some of the most important skills related to attention to detail are:

  • The ability to cut with precision

  • The knowledge and disposition to constantly inspect all materials

  • The ability to respect safety guidelines and procedures

  • The habit of maintaining clean workspaces

  • The ability to precisely follow directions

  • The knowledge and ability required to detect changes in molten metal flows

Administrative skills

Besides being able to successfully perform the actual job, welders also need to perform various administrative tasks. They are often involved in planning and managing various projects and need to have the skills required to organize and document their work, maintain enough inventory without overstocking, work both individually and as part of a team and other similar skills. Some of the most relevant administrative skills for welders are:

  • The ability to meet deadlines

  • Time-management skills

  • Teamwork

  • The ability to operate individually with minimal supervision

  • Written and verbal communication skills

  • Being able to plan projects and manage their implementation

  • Reliability

  • Supply inventorying skills

Related: 12 Types of Welding Jobs

Technological and tool-handling skills

Welders work on a wide variety of projects, and their tasks vary depending on the particularities of each project. The many potential scenarios that you're likely to encounter during your career as a welder means that you need extensive tech skills to be familiar with a wide range of tools and devices, identify which piece of equipment is appropriate for each job and then successfully use it to complete the task. Some of the most important technology-related skills for welders are:

  • The ability to learn new technologies and practices

  • Robotic welding equipment skills

  • Being able to set up machine tools and dismantle them after the job is complete

  • Experience with hand tools

  • Experience working with grinders and metal finishers

  • The knowledge and ability to select the most appropriate tools for each situation

Additional welder skills

Besides those core hard and soft skills, welders may need other skills to be successful at their job. Here are a few additional skills to consider:

  • Basic computer office software skills

  • Mechanical skills

  • Project management skills

  • Customer service skills

  • Design skills

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