What are transferable skills and why do you need them? What does it mean to be employable today and in the future?...
- Requires excellent maths, IT, and problem-solving skills
- With experience, become a team or section leader, project manager or site manager
- With further training, become a design or software engineer
A CAD technician, also known as a draughtsperson, uses computer-aided design software to create technical drawings and 2D and 3D plans for products and parts used in the engineering, construction and manufacturing industries.
As a CAD technician, you'll work in 2D design (surface modelling) or 3D design (solid modelling). You'll liaise with architects, engineers and designers to understand their design requirements and provide technical advice to manufacturing and construction technicians. You will use software to draw 2D or 3D images of products or parts of a product, and may also be responsible for calculating costs and checking feasibility of manufacture and construction of the product (applying your knowledge of materials and engineering principles).
You'll work in a design office, working at a CAD design workstation or on a PC. For construction and engineering design projects you could be based on a building site.
You'll usually work in a small team, managed by a design engineer.
Working hours are typically 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but longer hours and overtime may be required to meet project deadlines.
CAD technicians require excellent maths skills, IT skills, and problem-solving skills.
You could train in computer-aided design by taking a college course like a Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Technology, a Level 2 Certificate in Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing or a Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Design and Draughting. Some colleges may specialise in particular computer-aided design packages, for example AutoCAD LT, Civil 3D, SolidWorks or Autodesk 3ds Max.
You can also take a T level at college in Design, Surveying and Planning, or in Design and Development for Engineering and Manufacturing.
You could also get into this job through an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in engineering, manufacturing or construction. The exact apprenticeship you take will depend on your job role but there are several that include computer-aided design work. You'll usually need some GCSEs, usually including English and Maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship and 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and Maths, for an advanced apprenticeship.
Alternatively you could do a higher national diploma or degree that includes computer-aided design work. For example construction, architectural technology, product design or design engineering.
Junior CAD technicians can progress to senior CAD technician roles, which can involve managing a team of technicians, overseeing work in the design office and overall project management.
With experience, you could register with the Engineering Council to get Engineering Technician (EngTech) status. You could become a team or section leader, project manager or site manager. With further training, you could become a design or software engineer or you could work freelance.