How to become a CAD Technician

cad technician careers

What does a CAD Technician do?

Computer aided design (CAD) draughtsmen/women, also known as CAD technicians, work in all branches of engineering as well as architecture, construction, and manufacturing. They use CAD software to produce detailed 2D and 3D designs and specifications on a wide range of projects. These vary in scale from small mechanical components, for instance dies and tools, through to large structural engineering schemes, such as bridges.

CAD is a generic term covering a variety of more specialised roles including computer aided industrial design (CAID), computer aided engineering (CAE), computer aided styling (CAS) and computer aided manufacturing design (CAM).

CAD design work tends to fall into two categories:

Solid modelling - is used particularly for engineering and construction projects to analyse how changes in materials or combinations of materials affect the internal stresses and tolerances of the product or structure. This technique is often used to eliminate potential problems, product failure and weaknesses.

Surface modelling - is used for sophisticated rendering, animation and photorealistic visualisation of products in development. This allows for client feedback to be collated in a rapid and cost- effective manner before prototypes are built and tested - a common example being automotive design.

Draughtsmen/women normally work in a team with other technicians, with each working on part of the project. Responsibility for the overall project and team is usually carried by a design engineer.

As well as producing detailed blueprints, the parameters which make up the specification are used to prepare cost estimates, tenders, compliance documents, and manufacturing, assembly and maintenance instructions for the product or structures in question.

What's the working environment like working as a CAD Technician?

CAD draughtsmen/women work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday.

They are normally based in a design office, working at a CAD design workstation or PC. Depending on the job, there may be some temporary relocation to the project site.

What does it take to become a CAD Technician?

To be a CAD draughtsman/woman you need:

  • a knowledge of the practical application of engineering design principles
  • good numeracy and computer literacy skills
  • good communication skills
  • an appreciation of material properties
  • an understanding of manufacturing processes and construction methods
  • good analytical skills
  • creative flair
  • to be able to work as part of a team and to deadlines.

CAD Technician Career Opportunities

In addition to light and heavy engineering, CAD technicians are trained and work in many industries including construction, construction engineering, aerospace, railways, electronics, broadcasting and telecommunications industries. Vehicle and consumer goods manufacturers are other common employers.

Progression routes include promotion to team or section leader, project manager and site manager. Freelance work may be another possibility.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about CAD Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682

The Engineering Careers Information Service (ECIS)

Women into Science and Engineering
22 Old Queen Street
Tel: 020 7227 8421

Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB)
Blue Court
Church Lane
Kings Langley
Tel: 01923 260000

Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland)
20-24 York Street
BT15 1AQ
Tel: 028 9032 9878

Engineering Council
10 Maltravers Street
Tel: 020 7240 7891

Facts and Stats:

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel was only 5ft tall and wore a top hat to make himself look taller
  • Engineering generates more than 40 per cent of the UK¿s national wealth
  • The Box Hill tunnel, part of Brunel¿s Great Western Railway, took five years to dig and at two miles long was the longest tunnel in the world at the time