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Become A Computer Aided Design Designer

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Working As A Computer Aided Design Designer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $62,060

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Aided Design Designer Do

Drafters use software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings. Most workers specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers.

Duties

Drafters typically do the following:

  • Design plans using computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • Work from rough sketches and specifications created by engineers and architects
  • Design products with engineering and manufacturing techniques
  • Add details to architectural plans from their knowledge of building techniques
  • Specify dimensions, materials, and procedures for new products
  • Work under the supervision of engineers or architects

Many drafters are referred to as CAD operators. Using CAD systems, drafters create and store technical drawings digitally. These drawings contain information on how to build a structure or machine, the dimensions of the project, and what materials are needed to complete the project.

Drafters work with CAD so they can create schematics that can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into building information modeling (BIM) systems. These systems allow drafters, architects, construction managers, and engineers to create and collaborate on digital models of physical buildings and machines. Through three-dimensional rendering, BIM software allows designers and engineers to see how different elements in their projects work together.

Architectural drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings for construction projects. These workers may specialize in a type of building, such as residential or commercial. They may also specialize by the materials used, such as steel, wood, or reinforced concrete.

Civil drafters prepare topographical maps used in construction and civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and flood-control projects.

Electrical drafters prepare wiring diagrams that other construction workers use to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in power plants, electrical distribution systems, and residential and commercial buildings.

Electronics drafters produce wiring diagrams, assembly diagrams for circuit boards, and layout drawings used in manufacturing and in installing and repairing electronic devices and components.

Mechanical drafters prepare layouts that show the details for a wide variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices, such as medical equipment. These layouts indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements needed for assembly. Mechanical drafters sometimes create production molds.

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How To Become A Computer Aided Design Designer

Drafters typically need specialized training, which can be accomplished through a technical program that leads to a certificate or an associate’s degree in drafting.

Education

Drafters generally need to complete postsecondary education in drafting. This is typically done through a 2-year associate’s degree from a technical institute or community college.

Technical institutes offer instruction in design fundamentals, sketching, and CAD (computer-aided design) software and award certificates or diplomas upon completion. Programs vary in length but are generally 2 years of full-time education. The types of courses offered will also vary by institution. Some institutions may specialize in only one type of drafting, such as mechanical or architectural drafting.

Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes that lead to an associate of applied science in drafting or related degree. After completing an associate’s degree program, graduates may get jobs as drafters or continue their education in a related field at a 4-year college. Most 4-year colleges do not offer training in drafting, but they do offer classes in engineering, architecture, and mathematics.

To prepare for postsecondary education, high school students who take courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and where available, drafting, may find such classes useful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers certification for drafters. Although not mandatory, certification demonstrates competence and knowledge of nationally recognized practices. Certifications are offered for several specialties, including architectural, civil, and mechanical drafting.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Drafters must be able to turn plans and ideas into technical drawings that will guide the creation of real buildings, tools, and systems.

Detail oriented. Drafters must pay close attention to details so that the plans they convert are technically accurate according to the outlined specifications.

Interpersonal skills. Drafters work closely with architects, engineers, and other designers to make sure that final plans are accurate. This requires the ability to take advice and constructive criticism, as well as to offer it.

Math skills. Drafters work on technical drawings. They may be required to solve mathematical calculations involving factors such as angles, weights, and costs.

Technical skills. Drafters in all specialties must be able to use computer software, such as CAD, and work with database tools, such as BIM (building information modeling).

Time-management skills. Drafters often work under strict deadlines. As a result, they must work efficiently in order to produce the required output according to set schedules.

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Computer Aided Design Designer Career Paths

Computer Aided Design Designer
Project Designer Interior Designer Architectural Designer
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Lead Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Administrative Coordinator Document Control Specialist
Document Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Designer Electrical Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Operations Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Field Engineer Assistant Superintendent
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Designer Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Designer Senior Mechanical Engineer Mechanical Engineering Manager
Mechanical Engineering Director
11 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Engineer Process Engineer Plant Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Engineer Architect Interior Designer
Project Manager/Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Project Manager/Design Manager
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Tool Designer 4.6 years
Draftsman/Designer 4.2 years
Computer Designer 4.1 years
Senior Designer 4.1 years
Design Drafter 3.9 years
Draftsman 3.7 years
Draftsperson 3.7 years
Autocad Operator 3.5 years
Autocad Designer 3.4 years
Designer 3.0 years
Drafting Engineer 2.8 years
Drafter 2.8 years
Contract Designer 2.4 years
Contract-Drafter 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Computer Aided Design Designer
Designer 8.9%
Draftsman 7.7%
Drafter 5.4%
Internship 3.1%
Engineer 1.9%
Top Careers After Computer Aided Design Designer
Designer 12.2%
Drafter 3.0%
Engineer 2.8%
Owner 2.5%
Consultant 2.5%

Do you work as a Computer Aided Design Designer?

Computer Aided Design Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

77.4%

Female

20.3%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.2%

Black or African American

10.7%

Asian

9.2%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.1%

Mandarin

5.9%

French

5.9%

Chinese

5.9%

German

5.5%

Russian

5.1%

Japanese

4.7%

Carrier

3.1%

Vietnamese

2.8%

Italian

2.8%

Arabic

2.8%

Cantonese

2.4%

Portuguese

2.0%

Hindi

1.6%

Korean

1.6%

Turkish

0.8%

Romanian

0.8%

Bulgarian

0.8%

Armenian

0.8%

Nepali

0.8%
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Computer Aided Design Designer Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

13.7%

University of Phoenix

9.5%

Purdue University

6.2%

Pittsburgh Technical Institute

5.8%

Lawrence Technological University

5.0%

Ferris State University

5.0%

University of Houston

4.8%

Macomb Community College

4.6%

Greenville Technical College

4.6%

Arizona State University

4.4%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

4.4%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

Houston Community College

4.0%

University of Central Florida

3.6%

Eastern Michigan University

3.4%

Austin Community College

3.4%

Savannah College of Art and Design

3.4%

Syracuse University

3.2%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.2%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

30.8%

Mechanical Engineering

12.1%

Graphic Design

7.0%

Business

6.5%

Architecture

5.5%

Engineering

3.9%

Civil Engineering

3.8%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

3.8%

Electrical Engineering

3.5%

Industrial Technology

3.3%

Computer Science

3.1%

Interior Design

2.9%

Engineering Technology

2.4%

Project Management

1.9%

Fine Arts

1.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.7%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.6%

Construction Management

1.6%

Computer Information Systems

1.5%

Education

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

32.2%

Associate

27.4%

Other

24.3%

Masters

8.0%

Certificate

6.1%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Computer Aided Design Designer Videos

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Mechanical Engineering Technology

What is CAD?

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Real Computer Aided Design Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
CAD Specialist National Steel & Shipbuilding Company San Diego, CA Oct 21, 2016 $125,628
CAD Designer/Product Engineer Futuris Automotive (Us) Inc. Newark, CA Jun 01, 2015 $124,800
CAD Designer/Product Engineer Futuris Automotive (Us) Inc. Newark, CA Jun 15, 2015 $124,800
CAD Designer/Product Engineer Futuris Automotive (Us) Inc. Newark, CA Apr 15, 2016 $120,000
CAD Designer/Product Engineer Futuris Automotive (Us) Inc. Newark, CA Jan 02, 2016 $120,000
CAD Designer Chassis Coda Automotive Los Angeles, CA Aug 06, 2012 $110,157
CAD Designer American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. New York, NY Jan 26, 2012 $110,000
CAD Designer Omnivision Technologies, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jul 16, 2016 $110,000
CAD Designer American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. New York, NY Feb 25, 2013 $110,000
Product Design Computer-Aided Design Specialist Lab126 Cupertino, CA May 16, 2011 $105,000
CAD Designer Omnivision Technologies, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jul 16, 2013 $105,000
CAD Application Specialist Human Solutions of North America, Inc. Cary, NC Jul 01, 2013 $73,200
Architectural Drafter/CAD Designer Christopher Jeffrey Architects, PLLC New York, NY Aug 03, 2012 $73,045 -
$83,480
Architect/CAD Designer Christopher Jeffrey Architect, PLLC New York, NY Aug 03, 2012 $73,045 -
$102,263
CAD Designer Abercrombie & Fitch Trading Co. New Albany, OH Jul 27, 2015 $72,010 -
$115,000
CAD Designer Tata Technologies, Inc. Novi, MI Sep 06, 2015 $71,344
Cad/Cam Designer Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Bellville, TX May 29, 2015 $71,000
CAD Designer Tata Technologies, Inc. Novi, MI Oct 09, 2016 $70,741
Cad/Cam Specialist Tata Consultancy Services Limited Santa Clara, CA Jan 13, 2011 $65,400
Designer/Cad Designer Macy's Merchandising Group, Inc. New York, NY Jan 05, 2012 $65,000
CAD Designer Uniplan Engineering, Inc. Carson, CA Sep 12, 2011 $64,147
Structural CAD Designer Stanley Spurling & Hamilton, Inc. Houston, TX Dec 09, 2014 $64,085
SR. Structural CAD Designer/It Support OVE ARUP and Partners California Limited Chicago, IL Jun 04, 2016 $64,000
CAD Software Designer Seeknet USA Torrance, CA Oct 01, 2013 $62,587
CAD Drafter/Designer Cynergy Systems Inc. Gastonia, NC Jan 08, 2016 $62,317
CAD Designer Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas Inc. Lake Mary, FL Feb 01, 2011 $60,500

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Top Skills for A Computer Aided Design Designer

  1. CAD Designer
  2. Layout
  3. Production Drawings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designated as the Lead CAD Designer on the FDR Drive Rehabilitation(*) Project and the Queens West Rehabilitation Project.
  • Draft and organize overall layout of structural documentation set for senior living facilities
  • Generated production drawings for manufacturing including sheet metal, flat patterns and machining processes.
  • Generate solid models for prototyping.
  • Managed and created mechanical, electrical and plumbing plans for townhouse and light commercial architecture * Software-Autocad Architecture 2008

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Aided Design Designers

  1. Washington
  2. Arizona
  3. Ohio
  4. Colorado
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Connecticut
  7. Texas
  8. Michigan
  9. Minnesota
  10. California
  • (262 jobs)
  • (180 jobs)
  • (251 jobs)
  • (218 jobs)
  • (76 jobs)
  • (117 jobs)
  • (617 jobs)
  • (245 jobs)
  • (208 jobs)
  • (1,554 jobs)

Top Computer Aided Design Designer Employers

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