The demand for CAD (computer aided design) jobs have continued to grow over the last several years. Many people who are unfamiliar with the technology believe that it is nothing more than simply creating digital designs, however this couldn't be farther from the truth. In reality, there are a number of unique CAD jobs available. To get an idea of what types of jobs are available, here is quick look at some of the job openings that have shown the biggest need recently. While there are many different descriptions (CAD operator, technician, drafter, etc), they all means essentially the same thing
Types of CAD Jobs
A CAD drafter essentially prepare technical drawings and plan. These plans are used by production and construction engineers to build a finished product. These products range from the tallest buildings to smallest microchips. Drafters create the visual guidelines that will specify details such as the dimensions, procedures, and materials that will be used. The drafter is responsible for melding the information that is given to them from scientists, surveyors, engineers, architects, and the like.
There are a variety of different specialties that a CAD technician could have including: aeronautics, architectural, civil, electrical, mechanical, and process piping.
An aeronautical CAD drafter creates engineering drawings that are detailed plans and specifications that will be used in the manufacturing of goods such as missiles and aircraft.
An architectural CAD operator will create structural features for construction projects. Some CAD operators will specialize even further based upon the type of structure (residential or commercial) or material being used (masonry, wood, steel, or reinforced concrete).
An electrical CAD drafter will deal primarily with layout diagrams that are used be electricians and workers who deal with electrical equipment such as power plants and communication centers.
Civil CAD technicians create relief and topographical maps that can be used to aid in construction and civil engineering projects. These would include things like water systems, sewage systems, pipelines, highways, bridges, and the like.
Pipeline (Process Piping) drafters focus primarily on creating the layout of gas fields, refineries, chemical plants and related projects.
There are other specialties as well including: mechanical and electronics CAD engineers as well.
CAD Work Environment
CAD drafters of all types often have similar working environments. Most will have their own office space and spend extremely long hours in front of the computer. Oftentimes, they will have a standard 40 hour work week (or overtime) because part time CAD workers are rarely needed.
CAD Yearly Earnings
The average yearly income varies based upon location and specialty, however the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that architectural and civil engineers earn $44,390, mechanical drafters earn $47,630, and electrical and electronic CAD drafters earn $47,910 per year.
While the basic function of a CAD drafter is fairly similar, the specialties related to specific types of CAD jobs vary greatly based upon the employee specialization. The basic specialties can be group into: aeronautical, architectural, electrical, civil, pipeline, mechanical, and electronics. The need for different types of CAD jobs is currently projected to continue to increase over the next decade, if not longer.