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?
Cant speak to any of the applications you spoke of except mechanical. If a person was looking to break in or slide sideways in metalworking/cad-cam, my suggestion would be run as many different programs as possible.
In the upper middle class cad-cam such as Surfcam, Gibbs, Mastercam,ect.. they all are different but not completely foreign. I see a lot of people declaring that one or the other is king, and all else is shit.
Truth is they all suck..they just suck in different areas.
You never know which of the packages a shop might be running, so to have some keyboard time with any of them would be helpful...and make you more valuable.
I see a lot of cheap cad cams that that beginners, and or home machinist are using. The problem with them is if you want to grow that experience into a job for someone else..its not very helpful.
The ones that make shops money..cost money..for a reason