CAD Manager's Newsletter (#207)

11 Nov, 2008

CAD Manager’s Survey 2008 Report

The results are in and they show how market forces continue to change the CAD manager's job.

It's that time again! Time to report the findings of my annual CAD Manager's Survey. In addition to reporting some of my findings, I'll draw some market conclusions from the results. You'll be able to see a more complete version of the survey data on November 18 when the full survey report goes live. There, you'll see charts, graphs, and data for some topics I won't cover in this newsletter.

Survey Timing
I conducted the CAD Manager's Survey in August and September 2008, before the global banking and stock market problems occurred, but well after the construction and housing industries had started their decline. My goal in the survey was to measure a wide variety of job and compensation metrics for CAD managers, and I think the survey has succeeded in that regard. If you'd like to read the survey questions, you can do so at

Show Me the Money
So what do CAD managers make and how do they work? I'll answer in summary form here:

Average compensation (U.S.): $62,425 — up 4.5%
Standard deviation (U.S.): $20,423

This means that 68% of CAD managers surveyed make between $42,002 and $82,848. This is a pretty wide range of compensation levels, and it encompasses everything from senior drafters to senior-level engineers and all points in between. The salary range has become wider every year I've done the survey.  Read more »

:: CAD Manager’s Toolbox: More about AutoLISP

Some readers wonder if they should make the effort to learn this programming language.

I have received a number of questions regarding my AutoLISP programming series in the past few issues of the newsletter. Here are some of the questions along with my responses.

Q: Should I still learn AutoLISP given the move to .NET programming?

A: If you anticipate managing AutoCAD-based products (Civil 3D, P&ID, Desktop series products) for any length of time, I say yes, you should learn AutoLISP. AutoLISP can do so much for very little effort that it really is worth your while to learn your way around it. I can't even imagine managing AutoCAD-based products without it.

Q: Does being able to program in AutoLISP make me more marketable in today's economy?

A: Yes. CAD managers who can customize their AutoCAD-based users can market themselves to more companies and demand higher wages than those who can't program. Read more »

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

:: Resources

New Whitepapers on Cadalyst's Whitepaper Library
New whitepapers are now available on Cadalyst's Whitepaper Library free to those who register. "Going From 2D to 3D: Why Make Change Now?" and "Reengineering Your ECAD-MCAD Design Process: The Pervasiveness of Electromechanical Products Brings New Challenges to Product Development Companies," are both by PTC.

:: Events

Best Practices for Developing Geographic Information Models
November 17, 2008
Issaquah, Washington
This WAURISA workshop will explore the use of database templates and the relationship between map layers and geographic database objects. Read more »

AutoCAD See the Difference Live Simulcast
November 19, 2008
Various U.S. Cities
Autodesk, DLT Solutions, and CADD Microsystems will present this event, featuring Autodesk technical evangelist Lynn Allen, who will share her favorite tips and tricks for AutoCAD 2009. Read more »

Plan-Build-Operate Technology Summit
May 4-6, 2009
Nashville, Tennessee
Meridian Systems' event brings together organizations to share best practices, customer case studies, and technology demonstrations. Read more »

RAPID 2009 Conference and Exposition
May 12-14, 2009
Schaumburg, Illinois
Attendees of this event, hosted by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, can evaluate the latest materials and machinery and compare processes. Read more »

Optech Innovative Lidar Solutions Conference
June 24-26, 2009
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Potential users of laser-scanning technology will meet with experts, learn about the newest techniques, and exchange research ideas at this conference. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on