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Careers in Civil Engineering: CAD Professional or Expert

written by: Haresh Khemani • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 9/6/2009

Gone are the days of the manual designing and drawing for the computer aided designing or CAD is the norm in the industry. Computer aided design (CAD) is one of the hottest fields in engineering fields like civil, architecture, mechanical, electrical and also in interior designing.

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    Career as CAD Professional

    Computer aided design (CAD) is one of the hottest fields in engineering fields like civil, architecture, mechanical, electrical and also in interior designing. All these fields require lots of designing and most of the professionals and companies do their designing and drawing with the CAD software. The CAD software enables to make high quality designs and drawings in very short period of time saving you lots of time, and efforts.

    Most of the designing and drawing works these days are done with the one or the other CAD software. Some of most popular CAD software are AutoCAD, CATIA, SolidWorks, Ansys, Ideas, etc.

    The job of the CAD expert is considered to be white collar job since the CAD professionals do most of their work in the comforts of air conditioned room. They pass on the orders to others and are not at the receiving end. They don't have to face the heat of the sun, uncomfortable site conditions, labor and material problems and other related issues.

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    What does the CAD Professional or Expert do?

    The CAD professional creates complete designs of the buildings, structures, bridges, etc as per the requirements considering various possible loads and constraints. For the designing purposes the person should be very well versed with the various engineering concepts and have thorough knowledge of the subject matter.

    After designing various drawings like plan, elevations and detailed internal parts of the building or any other structure are made. To make the drawings it is not necessary to have the thorough knowledge of the designing principle, knowledge of basic engineering drawing and terminology and CAD software is good enough. While the designing part is done by the expert professional designer, the drawings can be made by the draftsman as per the various dimensions specified by the designer.

    After making the complete 2D drawings of the buildings and other structures, 3D drawings are made which help making the model of the actual building. With 3D models the client can see how the building will look after construction along with all the internal utilities and the external visuals of the building including the colors.

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    Career Options for CAD Professionals

    There are number of job opportunities of the CAD designer and draftsmen. New designs and drawings are frequently required in the architecture, civil construction and interior designing companies. The quantum of work is usually very high in these companies and there is always shortage of the expert manpower in the CAD field. You can work either as the designer or the as the draftsman in these companies. Sometimes the job may be on site and you may have to leave the comforts of your home and stay at the site.

    You can also become an independent freelance CAD designer or open your firm. There are number of small companies and individuals who cannot afford to hire the CAD professionals on full-time basis due to less work. These firms and individuals outsource, usually the drawing works, to the freelance designers. This is one of very good career options for the CAD designers.

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    Qualifications and Training Required

    If you aspire to become a CAD designer a good degree in civil engineering, architecture or interior designing is important. Thereafter, you will have to do post graduation in CAD where you will get the opportunity to learn various computer aided designing concepts and also important CAD software. Even after completing post graduation you may have to learn some more CAD software depending on the area you wish to specialize in. In some cases the company that employs you may provide you training in the CAD software used by them, but for this you should have good degree and also post graduation in CAD.

    If you want to become a CAD draftsman, degree or diploma in any field is good enough. If you don’t have engineering degree or diploma, you will have to take additional course on engineering drawing. Then you will also have to take training in the popular CAD software like AutoCAD or others. If you know engineering drawing, the company employing you may provide CAD training. In anyways, to become a CAD expert, additional training in CAD software is a must and it can be easily obtained from the private on-road small institutes. There are also company authorized CAD training centers coordinated by the companies who make these software.