Our guide to AutoCAD
 
 
Jade O'Donoghue

Our guide to AutoCAD

Published July 17 2015

What do architects and fashion designers have in common? No, it’s not the start of a bad joke; the answer is AutoCAD. Though on the surface they’re contrasting roles, the one thing that unites them is the need to complete detailed designs that can easily be shared amongst colleagues and the best way of doing this is using AutoCAD.

A software application used to create virtual designs, for anyone wanting to go into a design-based role, training in AutoCAD is a must. It is the most commonly used computer aided design program in the industry and well worth getting your head around if you want a job that involves creating virtual models of objects and fixtures that will one day be a reality.

Whether it’s a bridge, building, dress or coffee mug, AutoCAD is often the starting point in the creation many of the everyday items that we’re all so familiar with.

 

What’s the difference between an AutoCAD course and a CAD one?

CAD stands for Computer Aided Design and so courses labelled as just ‘CAD’ will cover this – not just how to use software but best practice, history of design using computers and how to do it well, amongst other modules. Some may include lessons on AutoCAD though.

Courses labelled simply as ‘AutoCAD’ on the other hand will teach you only how to use this software – they won’t cover other CAD programmes and they won’t teach you about design in general. They will be more about learning the tools and shortcuts that will allow you to create designs simply and easily.

 

Qualifications in AutoCAD

There are qualifications to be gained in AutoCAD, the main ones being the City and Guilds Level 2 and 3 qualifications. These will show employers you’ve studied to a sufficient level for you to work with the programme, level 3 being the better one. These tend to be slightly more costly than some of the other courses that will teach you to use AutoCAD but they are industry recognised qualifications, so if you’re doing a job that asks for those, then City and Guilds is the way forward.

You might also see courses marked as ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ – these usually don’t come with a formal qualification but instead you will be awarded with a certificate of attendance. This will prove you’ve taken the course and learnt the relevant skills. This is still perfectly valid in the eyes of many employers, but it is worth checking the career path you’re looking at taking to see what is generally required.

 

Careers options you might not have thought of

Creating fun for children (toy designer)

Toy designers use AutoCAD to visualise their ideas for products that will entertain children. From ensuring safety regulations are met, right from the beginning, to sharing designs with manufacturers and buyers, AutoCAD training is vital in such a role.

Making bridges (civil engineer)

Civil engineers work on planning and designing infrastructure such as roads, canals and bridges. AutoCAD is a vital step in the process of ensuring the public are safe because it will help point out any problems with structures from the early stages by allowing engineers to create 3D-like models on a computer.

Changing rooms (interior designer)

AutoCAD is really important for a working interior designer because it’s a way of showing the client what they have in mind before they begin work on a room. It will be used to show where furniture will go and how the room will roughly look when completed.

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