CAD Manager's Q&A: Are CAD Technicians Endangered?

14 Sep, 2006 By: Robert Green

Now that engineers are designing and can CAD their own work, what's the future for CAD technicians? Are we on the brink of extinction, or do you see a future in CAD still worth pursuing?

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Robert Green replies: This requires a two-part answer.

First: The kind of CAD technician that came to forefront in the late 1980s and early 1990s — the kind that just worked from redline prints making simple edits and replotting drawings — is on the verge of extinction.

Second: The kind of CAD technician who understands the design process and how the company works and can pound out a lot of CAD work under deadline pressure is now worth his or her weight in gold, and will do great in the future.

People who learn to use modern CAD tools and can really make them sing are going to be in demand, well compensated and virtually recession-proof. The characteristics of these indispensable CAD technicians include the following:

  • Self-initiative to learn new things via Web tools, user groups etc. (as opposed to expecting company-financed and company-led training).
  • Active participation in the design and CAD process in their companies (as opposed to passive acceptance of the status quo).
  • An attitude of active, constant improvement brought to bear on the engineering processes that CAD supports.

Please note that these successful CAD technicians aren't mindlessly pushing a cursor around the screen, but are instead  an integral part of making their companies more successful. When you combine technical expertise with CAD tools and some business savvy, plus a willingness to help solve problems, you’re going to be in demand.

In fact, those willing to attack a CAD technician position with the above approaches may find that they not only succeed in their positions but will find themselves becoming CAD managers in the not-too-distant future.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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