CAD Manager's Newsletter (#308)

24 Sep, 2013 By: Robert Green

Steer Your CAD Management Career

The better you understand your strengths — and how they can help your company — the more effective and valued you will be.

In recent years, I've noticed the CAD/BIM (building information modeling) manager's job description is evolving — and not for the better. It seems expectations are ever increasing, employers are becoming more demanding, and there is less time to get the job done. And I've noticed an unsettling trend among senior management teams who view CAD/BIM management as something that takes billable hours away from an otherwise billable occupation such as architect, engineer, or designer.

As these changes have taken root, I've heard more CAD managers complain of lower job satisfaction, with many asking the question, "Should I even be doing CAD management at all?" I can't tell you how much hearing this question saddens me because, like you, I have a passion for CAD management and I understand how much CAD managers can help their companies.

Before you consider leaving CAD management, please try implementing some strategies for raising your worth in the eyes of senior management. In this issue of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll pass along career advice and action items that are based on my own experiences. They can help you advance your career while you go about your day-to-day CAD management activities. Here goes.

Analysis: What Got You the Job?

Before we talk about how to better manage your career, let's take a step back and examine how you got the job in the first place. In almost all conversations with CAD managers I've had over the years, the following factors hold true:

  • We are technologists (engineers, architects, designers, etc.)
  • We are comfortable with software (in fact, understanding it is easy for us)
  • We are seen as the answer man or woman (people ask us questions)
  • We are the fix-it man or woman (things stop working when we're gone).

The picture that emerges is of a competent, take-charge person who puzzles out problems, makes things work, explains difficult concepts to users, and generally keeps production on track. In short, CAD managers are invaluable to the companies they support, even if that fact isn't understood by everyone around them (more on that later).

CAD managers have a skill set that makes them invaluable to their companies — and that's a message you have to share with your upper management teams.
CAD managers have a skill set that makes them invaluable to their companies — and that's a message you have to share with your upper management teams.

Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Get Help with File Conversion at

For a recent project, I had to perform some file conversions that were diverse in nature (some CAD, some video and graphics to PDF). During the process, I found a neat website called that was a great help. Read more »

Do you have a question or tip for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at If I use your tip in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!

:: Resources

Ideate Launches Learning Portal for AEC Design Professionals
Autodesk solutions provider Ideate has launched its CADLearning Portal, an online learning resource that complements existing Ideate training offerings. Ideate CADLearning tools provide self-paced training to further knowledge and maximize performance with Autodesk building information modeling and CAD solutions, and Ideate-developed Autodesk Revit–based solutions.

:: Events

Design Excellence Forum: SolidWorks 2014
October 2–30, 2013
Various cities
Fisher/Unitech is hosting a series of complimentary events throughout New England and the Midwest that will cover solutions for product development and manufacturing. Read more »

15th Annual Bentley Plant User Group Conference
October 9–11, 2013
Biloxi, Mississippi
This annual user conference is now in its 15th year. Attendees can get the scoop on upcoming Bentley product releases, find out how other companies have utilized the software, and discuss customization and problem-solving issues by participating in one of three group breakout sessions. Read more »

Autodesk University 2013
December 3–5, 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada
This annual conference is designed for users of Autodesk software, including architects, engineers, and designers. The event comprises more than 650 classes, networking receptions, and an exhibit hall featuring more than 150 Autodesk authorized developers, solution providers, and strategic partners. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

:: What's New at

Create Rectangular AutoCAD Arrays in a Hurry
The updated array tools make it easier than ever to create speedy rectangular arrays. Join Lynn Allen as she shows you the ins and outs of creating and editing rectangular arrays for maximum productivity. Watch the video »

Understanding Autodesk Revit Materials
Learn how to manipulate materials skillfully, and you'll be able to get the results you want from Revit. Read more »

GIS Leads Gleaners to Garden of Plenty
Trimble Navigation solutions help San Jose volunteers collect thousands of pounds of backyard produce for families in need. Read more »

After 20 Years, SolidWorks Still Striving for Improvement
Dassault Systèmes looks to the future while updating its product design portfolio for 2014, but steers clear of the controversial cloud. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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