Computer aided design (CAD) refers to special software used to generate drafting projects. A CAD draughtsman takes a simple sketch or verbal information and uses a computer assisted drafting software program to develop blueprints that are used to build buildings, machines or other useful objects. A CAD draughtsman usually specialises in a field, such as architecture, civil engineering, electrical installations or mechanical drawings.
A CAD draughtsman's skills in using compute assisted drawing technology offers several benefits to an employer. He stores his computer generated drawings electronically. This makes them easy to change and they can be viewed or printed as needed. The ability to program the information directly into manufacturing equipment provides another significant advantage over manually produced drawings.
Architectural draughtsmen focus on new construction, creating drawings of buildings and their structural components. Some even specialise in specific types of construction or building materials such as reinforced concrete or wood.
Civil drafters generate topographical and relief maps used to guide construction of major infrastructure projects such as highways, bridges, pipelines, flood-control projects, and water and sewage systems.
Other CAD draughtsmen specialising in electrical installations prepare wiring schematics used to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in many kinds of structures. Manufacturing firms employ CAD mechanical drafters who prepare drawings detailing components and construction of machinery and mechanical devices.
Education and Training
According to O*NET Online, a CAD draughtsman enters the career after a medium level of preparation that usually includes a combination of vocational schooling or an associate degree and on-the-job experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics state that some students complete their two-year degrees, begin work as a CAD draughtsman and then continue on to complete their four-year degrees.
A CAD draughtsman's career path often involves advancing in experience, progressing to more technical projects and working with less supervision. Some become supervisors of other CAD draughtsmen. Others pursue additional degrees and education and eventually become engineers or architects. According to the American Design Drafting Association, due to growth in technology, there are positive forecasts for future employment trends.
The average annual wage for a CAD draughtsman varies depending on speciality and other factors. According to O*NET Online, architectural draughtsmen earn on average £13.90 hourly or £28,918 annually while mechanical drafters average £14.50 hourly or £30,316 annually.