Are you the sort of person who looks at things with a critical eye and thinks that you could do better? Do you find yourself wondering why the designer didn’t do this or that? If you are, then a job as a CAD technician could be just the role for you.

CAD stands for computer-aided design and as a CAD technician you could be involved in the design of anything from toothbrushes to nuclear power plants. You’ll do it using CAD systems to create electronic technical drawings just like the paper drawings that draughtsmen used to produce.

What you’ll be doing as a CAD technician.

CAD technicians use CAD programmes to produce two types of work:

  1. 2D design or surface modelling - the plans from which an item is manufactured.
  2. 3D design or solid modelling - the creation of a three dimensional display or model that allows engineers and clients to take a virtual tour around the part (or the whole project) and get a better feel for how it looks and how it relates to other components.
  3. As a CAD technician you’ll be working in a team that includes engineers and other technicians. You’ll normally be responsible for a small part of a larger project and will work under the guidance of a design engineer.

The type of work involved.

CAD technicians work on a huge variety of projects in fields ranging from construction, to telecommunications, to transport. You can expect to:

  1. Spend most of your day working at a computer station using CAD software to design and draw new parts and modify existing ones.
  2. Use your creative flair and work on your own initiative, applying your knowledge of manufacturing processes and the materials to be used to help ensure the viability of the design.
  3. Maintain and update design files.
  4. Occasionally go on site or visit the shop floor.
  5. Share ideas and communicate with other team members and clients.
  6. Help to produce assembly instructions and user manuals.

You’ll mostly be required to work normal office hours but if there are deadlines looming, it’s possible that you’ll have to put in some overtime.

Why you should become a CAD technician.

As a CAD technician you’ll be a vital cog in the wheel of every field in which you work. For every component that is manufactured and every system that is put together, there has to be a drawing to work from. You’ll be producing those drawings and you’ll most likely have some input in the design process.

Prospects are good, too. Junior CAD technicians can expect to start at around £16,000 a year rising to up to £40,000 for senior technicians. Also, with enough experience you may be able to go freelance so you can work as and when it suits you – but that’s a long-term possibility.

What you need to become a CAD technician.

If it sounds like CAD technician is the job for you, you can take a college course or you may be able join an apprenticeship scheme. You’ll need GCSE qualifications or an equivalent in mathematics, engineering or science subjects but once on the job, you’ll get specialist training in your chosen field and in the relevant CAD systems. There are also many courses available to help you progress in your career.