CAD Manager’s Survey 2008 Preview

22 Jul, 2008 By: Robert Green

Readers can get involved early by submitting questions they'd like to see included in the survey.

In a few weeks I'll kick off the eighth annual CAD Manager's Survey. Today I want to share with you the survey topics I'm planning to measure and ask for your feedback. As always, the survey will be designed to measure the duties, responsibilities, frustrations, and compensation of the CAD manager position so that everyone may better know where they stand relative to their peers.

Tell Me What I've Missed!
Your feedback will help me deliver the best survey possible, so please take the time to read through my proposed survey questions and e-mail me (directions provided at the bottom of the preview) your ideas for additional questions. Below are the topics I plan to cover in the survey.

I hope to measure the total picture of CAD management compensation and benefits in this section. Questions will include the following:

  • What is your total base pay?
  • Are you salaried or hourly?
  • If hourly, do you receive overtime pay?
  • How many hours per week do you normally work?
  • Do you receive profit sharing?
  • Do you receive an annual bonus?
  • Do you receive company-paid health insurance (U.S. only)?

Geography and Demographics
Compensation often depends on location, so I need to get a good idea of where CAD managers are. I get a lot of questions about payment for specific areas, so my mission will be to correlate pay to geographic areas. I'm hoping to get enough response from outside North America to draw some conclusions about international markets as well.

Of course, the industry you work in also plays a role in your compensation, so this year I'm expanding the questions about your company's characteristics. Questions will include the following:

  • What country do you work in?
  • Are you from a big city, small city, rural area, or industrial area?
  • What is your ZIP or postal code?
  • What industry do you work in?
  • Are you a prime contractor, subcontractor, or product supplier?
  • Does your company operate internationally?
  • Does your company have single or multiple locations?

Job Parameters
Of course, I want to know all about full-time, part-time, and managerial conditions CAD managers work in. Here are some of the questions I will ask:

  • Are you a full-time CAD manager?
  • If part-time, how much time per week do you CAD manage?
  • Do you feel pressure to be billable while you CAD manage?
  • Do you feel supported by your senior management team?
  • What department do you report to (engineering/IT/architecture/etc.)?

Additional questions for part-time CAD managers will include these:

  • Do you think your company needs a full-time CAD manager?
  • Is CAD management a recognized part of your job?
  • Are your opinions on CAD issues respected?
  • Do you want to become a full-time CAD manager?

CAD Standards
CAD standards are always a topic of vigorous discussion. Based on my experience, I believe the issues of enforcement and management support for standards are the most problematic area of the standards equation, so I want to be sure I measure the CAD manager's level of problems in these key areas. Questions will include the following:

  • Are you responsible for writing CAD standards?
  • Are you responsible for enforcing CAD standards?
  • Do your users see the need for CAD standards?
  • Do you train your users to use your CAD standards?
  • Does your senior management see the need for CAD standards?
  • Does your senior management help you enforce CAD standards?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard is it to enforce CAD standards (1 is easy, 10 is impossible)?

It is easier to manage when you have authority. And authority, in my experience, is actually a combination of control over staff and control over money. Questions will include the following:

  • Do you specify hardware or software for purchase?
  • Do you specify your company's CAD budget?
  • Do you have "signature authority" to purchase items without approval?
  • Do you participate in staff hiring?
  • Can you fire staff?
  • Can you discipline staff?

Many CAD managers have training responsibility but no clear methodology for getting training results. I therefore want to measure how CAD managers are using new training technologies, whether they're using outside resources, and how the process of training is approached. Here are some of the questions:

  • Do you have a training budget?
  • How many hours of training do your users receive per year?
  • Do you perform some, none, or all of your own training?
  • Do you use outside resources to help you train?
  • What methods of in-house training do you use?
  • Do you write your own training materials?
  • Do you use audio/video for training?

Software/Hardware Environment
Here's where I address the nuts and bolts of CAD management such as software, hardware, user counts, and technology platforms. This year I'm really curious to measure the movement toward 3D systems with more detailed analysis. Questions will include the following:

  • How many CAD machines do you manage?
  • How many CAD users do you support?
  • Do you specify hardware or does IT?
  • Do you maintain hardware or does IT?
  • What's your main CAD software?
  • What other software packages do you manage?
  • Is your company totally 3D, totally 2D, or a mix?
  • If a mix, what percentage of your users work in 3D?
  • Are you investigating new 3D technology?
  • Do you collaborate with customers or vendors using 3D models?
  • Do you use 3D visualization or prototyping to assist in design?
  • Do you customize your CAD systems?
  • Can you program in AutoLISP?
  • Can you program in VBA?
  • Can you program in Visual Basic?
  • Can you program in .NET?

Summing Up
As you can see, the CAD Manager's Survey for 2008 will be an aggressive undertaking, but one that should provide a great deal of information that I'll share with you via the CAD Manager's Newsletter. Please take the time to drop me an e-mail (contact me at with any suggestions you have for making the survey better.

Now get ready to take the survey soon, because I'll provide the link for the live survey in the next edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter. Until then.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!