As a CAD technician, you could work in 2D design, known as surface modelling, and 3D design, known as solid modelling.
You would use surface modelling to draw a flat representation of a product, for example a design for a new motor vehicle. Clients could then see the plans and give feedback before engineers build and test a prototype.
In solid modelling, you would create a 3D display of a structure or component. Engineers can then use this, for example, to take a ‘virtual tour’ around the inside of a new building to plan where to fit electrical cabling, or to 'look inside' a piece of manufacturing machinery to see where improvements to parts could be made.
You would also use your designs to help prepare cost estimates on projects, and produce assembly instructions and maintenance manuals for installation, service and repair technicians.
CAD work could have different names depending on the industry, including:
You would normally work in a small team managed by a design engineer, with each person working on a different part of a project.
You would work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You would be based at a design office, working at a CAD design workstation or on a PC.
For construction and engineering design work you might be asked to work on site for part of the project.Income
Junior CAD technicians can earn between £15,000 and £20,000 a year.
Average salaries for experienced technicians are between £23,000 and £30,000 a year, and senior technicians can earn up to £40,000 a year.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Skills and Knowledge
To be a CAD technician, you will need to have:
You can find work as a CAD technician in many industries, including light and heavy engineering, construction, aerospace, railways, electronics, broadcasting and telecommunications. Vehicle and consumer goods manufacturers are other common employers.
With experience, you could be promoted to team or section leader, project manager or site manager. With further training, you could become a design engineer. You may also be able to work freelance.Sign up for the AutoCAD 2012 Tutorial Course