CAD Manager's Newsletter (#328)

27 Aug, 2014 By: Cadalyst Staff

Should You Move to the IT Department?

The requirements of modern software tools mean that CAD managers must work closely with IT — but just how closely?

In recent years, CAD programs have become increasingly dependent on networks, remote servers, and cloud infrastructure — in other words, CAD is a more IT-driven application than it used to be. And as a result, CAD managers must work more closely with IT departments to make CAD software run well.

As these trends accelerate, I've started to ask, "Should CAD managers be treated as part of the IT department?" In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll start a discussion on the topic and help you determine whether you should make the move to IT. Here goes.

Historically Speaking

One thing that has not changed over time is that most CAD managers are designers, engineers, architects, or other technical discipline workers who have evolved into CAD managers. The typical CAD manager didn't start out as a computer guru, but rather grew into the position as his or her CAD expertise matured and the situation demanded it. Therefore, most CAD managers I talk to still report through an engineering manager, production manager, architectural director, or other technical management branch of the company — it is rare that they report through the IT department. As a result, many CAD managers have zero IT capability or permissions.

One thing that is different nowadays is that a CAD manager must be more IT savvy, or must more heavily on the IT department than before. Could it be that CAD managers should now be part of the IT department, or at least have all the power and permissions of an IT staff member? Could being a member of the IT staff better help us make IT-reliant CAD tools run better? How can the CAD manager determine the answer to these questions? Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Are You Headed for CAD Career Burnout?

Whenever you get a room full of CAD managers talking, a topic that often comes up is career burnout. CAD managers face the same problems over and over, and must function in the stressful middle ground between user needs and management expectations. With all the production pressure and technical problems — and often, an engineering, design, or architectural workload on top of it all — it is easy to see how CAD managers can become fed up, stressed out, emotionally exhausted, and drained of all passion for the job.

While researching job burnout, I recently reread an interesting blog post by Paula Davis-Laack in Psychology Today, plus a companion piece on creating great work environments in the Harvard Business Review. Ms. Davis-Laack writes a regular column called Pressure Proof that explores how pressure affects people. I've found her insights very helpful in understanding client and personal relationships. This particular post deals with the core issues of job burnout and how to deal with it by better understanding the work environment you're in. If you've ever even suspected that you might be getting burned out, then I highly recommend that you read through both posts. 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

Technology Report Predicts 3D and 4D Revenue of $280 Billion
A recently published research report reveals that the 3D and 4D technology market generated $93.21 billion in revenue in 2013. "3D & 4D Technology Market — Forecast and Analysis (2013–2020)," ($4,650, single user) from publisher Research and Markets, forecasts an annual growth rate of 26.84% from 2014 to 2020, with revenue reaching $279.27 billion by 2018. The largest vendors in the market include 3D Systems and Autodesk.

:: Events

EOS North American User Day (NAUD)
September 10, 2014
Chicago, Illinois
This event takes place during the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). The user day will include a celebration of additive manufacturing technology provider EOS's 25th year in business and a demonstration of a direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS) system. 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

Video Tip: Reviving AutoCAD's Forgotten Function Keys
Maybe you've forgotten about them (or never learned to use them), but using your function keys to toggle important settings inside AutoCAD can really speed up your design process. With this video tip from Cadalyst and Lynn Allen, you'll learn how to take advantage of all that the function keys have to offer. Watch the video »

Freeform Surfacing with a Network of Curves in Bentley MicroStation
Trainer Peter Mann shows how to construct a custom surface using a mesh network of curves. Watch the video »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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