Originally Posted by FloridaSteve
If I had any new or advice for aspiring CAD techs it would be this. Find the work that blalnces out between interesting and good pay and go specialize in whatever platform caters to it.
For example if you want to get into large scale transportation roadway work (which is nice because it suffers less from a down economy) then it's microstation all the way. If you like site development or water/sewer/stormwater (this is another recession resistant field since there's a lot of municipal money involved) then autocad Civil 3D.
I was talking to a few of the Autodesk reps and they were telling me that in a lot of European countries they don't even teach plain old Autocad anymore. It's all packages. Civil, Solidworks, Inventor etc.. The plain Jane program is far too limited for a career.
Also, IMHO the most up and down field (for pure drafting) is probably architectural because A)it's vey dependent on the general economy and B)most of the drafting is really just handled by the architects themselves. Now in a perfect world I'd be working for a mechanical firm with access to 5 axis mills and sneaking in my own pet project once in a while. I actually know a guy who does this. Now THAT's a sweet gig.
Anyone else have a take on this?
I began CAD back in 2000 at school. My first job in this field was January 2001 using Autodesk Land Desktop.
I now manage the CAD department of a design/build firm specializing in tall structures. We use plain old vanilla CAD.
About 95% of our work is just simple drafting. Increasingly, we use 3D modeling to identify conflicts. Given that, the only item AutoCAD is lacking for us is the ability to produce production drawings of a 3D modelled plate assembly (picture a steel plate assembly with curvature and having to flatten that out for manufacturing drawings).
Otherwise, vanilla CAD works great.
I have one seat open and am trying to fill, but there just does not seem to be candidates in this area looking for CAD work. I really don't get it.
As to specializing, I kinda agree. However, I'd take someone who can efficiently produce readable plans over someone who knows the software in and out any day. I started by taking classes in architectural design and had it hammered into me that even the best and most accurate plan is worthless if the person building off it can't understand what is being presented.