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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

  • $80,064

    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 jobs

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Computer Aided Design Designer Career Paths

Computer Aided Design Designer
Product Designer Design Drafter Architectural Designer
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Project Superintendent Estimator Project Manager
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer Project Engineer
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Field Engineer Assistant Superintendent
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Quality Assurance Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Assistant Project Manager Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Assistant Project Manager Construction Superintendent
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Engineer Architect Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Manufacturing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Designer Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Process Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Designer Mechanical Designer
Senior Mechanical Designer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Drafter 5.0 years
Cadd Operator 4.9 years
Tool Designer 4.7 years
Design Checker 4.5 years
Draftsman/Designer 4.4 years
Senior Designer 4.0 years
Computer Drafter 4.0 years
Design Drafter 4.0 years
Designer/Estimator 3.6 years
Draftsperson 3.6 years
Product Designer 3.6 years
Draftsman 3.5 years
Autocad Designer 3.5 years
Computer Aide 3.5 years
Autocad Operator 3.5 years
Design Engineer 3.4 years
Design Technician 3.4 years
Structural Drafter 3.1 years
Autocad Drafter 3.0 years
Project Designer 3.0 years
Detailer/Designer 3.0 years
Designer 3.0 years
Autocad Draftsman 2.9 years
Drafting Engineer 2.9 years
Drafter 2.8 years
Detail Drafter 2.8 years
Controls Designer 2.7 years
Contract Designer 2.5 years
3D Designer 2.1 years
Contract-Drafter 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Designer 8.3%
Draftsman 6.5%
Drafter 4.8%
Internship 2.7%
Engineer 1.9%
Top Employers After
Designer 10.6%
Engineer 2.6%
Drafter 2.4%
Owner 2.1%

Computer Aided Design Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

77.8%

Female

20.0%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

76.9%

Hispanic or Latino

11.7%

Asian

8.9%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.7%

Mandarin

6.5%

Chinese

6.5%

French

5.7%

German

5.3%

Japanese

5.3%

Russian

4.9%

Carrier

2.8%

Italian

2.8%

Portuguese

2.8%

Vietnamese

2.4%

Cantonese

2.4%

Hindi

1.6%

Arabic

1.6%

Romanian

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

Korean

0.8%

Armenian

0.8%

Thai

0.8%

Nepali

0.8%
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Computer Aided Design Designer Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

14.0%

University of Phoenix

9.1%

Purdue University

6.1%

Lawrence Technological University

5.5%

Macomb Community College

5.3%

Pittsburgh Technical Institute

5.3%

Ferris State University

5.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.9%

University of Houston

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.3%

Greenville Technical College

4.1%

Houston Community College

3.9%

Western Michigan University

3.9%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

3.7%

A-Technical College

3.7%

University of Toledo

3.5%

Eastern Michigan University

3.3%

Baker College

3.3%

Henry Ford College

3.1%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.1%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

30.6%

Mechanical Engineering

12.6%

Graphic Design

7.1%

Business

6.7%

Architecture

5.3%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

3.9%

Electrical Engineering

3.7%

Civil Engineering

3.7%

Engineering

3.7%

Industrial Technology

3.3%

Computer Science

3.0%

Interior Design

2.5%

Engineering Technology

2.4%

Project Management

1.9%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.9%

Fine Arts

1.7%

Management

1.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.5%

Construction Management

1.5%

Computer Information Systems

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

32.1%

Associate

27.1%

Other

24.5%

Masters

8.0%

Certificate

6.2%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.2%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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

CADDesignerAutoCADLayoutEngineeringDepartmentProductDesignSolidModelsDesignDrawingsPAutodeskInventorCNCBOM3DDesignModelsFacilityAs-BuiltDrawingsAssemblyDrawingsHvacConstructionDocumentsTCatiaV5DetailDrawings

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Top Computer Aided Design Designer Skills

  1. CAD Designer
  2. Auto CAD
  3. Layout
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supported ongoing development of Telecommuting program for CAD designers.
  • Sheet Metal Design - Thin gauge Sheet metal design of blanks in Auto CAD using Solid works Logo press.
  • Design layout of an environmentally friendly Sun Shack Building as well as off campus housing.
  • Manage Engineering department job workflow to ensure timely delivery to manufacturing.
  • Conducted design reviews to present product design approach and status to staff and Senior Management.

Top Computer Aided Design Designer Employers

Computer Aided Design Designer Videos

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Mechanical Engineering Technology

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