Jidaw Systems

Careers in AutoCAD

What is AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is a computer aided design or CAD program for use by people in the design and documentation disciplines. The software can be used to create 2D drawings and diagrams or can be the basis for powerful 3D visualisations. From its humble beginnings in 1982, AutoCAD has been translated into 18 languages and is used by millions of people world-wide. Today its makers autodesk, are the 2nd largest software company in the world. AutoCAD is found in 85% of the businesses and schools that design, document and manufacture. Its drawing formats (dwg and dxf) are now the industry standards for the exchange of electronic drawings, between professionals and regulatory bodies.


Who uses AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is a generic design & documentation tool, and as such it is used across a large number of industries including, architecture, interior design, shop fit-outs, construction, engineering, landscape design, product design and manufacture, naval and aeronautical design, piping and cabling, just to name a few.  Anyone that needs to produce, accurate plans and sections of a design, can utilize AutoCAD for this task. While AutoCAD is extremely poplar, there are other CAD packages which people use, such as Microstation, FormZ and ArchiCAD.  If you are choosing a package to learn, to improve your job prospects, first try and ascertain which programs are being used by the companies that you are likely to approach.


Good vs bad AutoCAD?

Like many sophisticated programs, AutoCAD is relatively easy to use but hard to master. The benefits of using CAD over traditional drawing methods are not so much in the speed with which an initial drawing can be produced, rather it is the efficiency with which those drawing can be edited and circulated. In order to take advantage of these benefits, AutoCAD draftspeople must make use of the organisational features of the program.  The use of layers, styles, blocks and sheet sets can dramatically improve the ease with which a drawing can be modified and distributed. Without using these techniques, you may as well return to manual drafting.


How do I get a job with AutoCAD?

Generally speaking, employers will advertise for a job within their discipline. For example an architectural company seeking AutoCAD draftspeople might advertise: "Architectural draftsman - AutoCAD", so it's a good idea to look for advertisements in a particular discipline that mention AutoCAD. For a range of examples on the internet, log into http://www.google.com and do a search using the terms "Architectural draftsman AutoCAD".  Doing some research on the company you wish to approach is also a good idea, and tailoring your CV to suit these companies also produces good results. A prospective employer will also need to see evidence of your AutoCAD skills and this can come in two main ways - A certificate of training and a portfolio of completed work.


What is AutoCAD certification?

This is a document that proves that you have undertaken AutoCAD training. For people that have attended a school, university or technical college, this would be in the form of your academic transcript which lists the subject in which AutoCAD was taught and shows your academic result for this subject. Private training companies that are certified by autodesk (ATC Authorized Training Centres), offer certificates of completion which can be used to prove to your prospective employer that you have completed AutoCAD training. Please note that this form of proof, on its own, is often not enough. It is highly recommended that you create a drawing portfolio to present to your employer.


What is a drawing portfolio?

While some prospective employers require certification, the majority will require you to produce your "portfolio".  This is a presentation set of your best and most impressive drawings and has been a traditional method for assessing a draftsperson's technical abilities. The best way to impress a prospective employer is to have a range of drawings in your portfolio that demonstrate your good CAD skills, but also show exactly the types of designs that employer uses. For example if your are applying for a job with a small architectural firm that only does houses, you should have at least one drawing of a house in your portfolio.


Practice, Practice and more Practice.

AutoCAD training can be completed in only a few days, however becoming totally comfortable with the program takes a little longer, and it all depends on practice. Once you have completed training, if you do not exercise your new skills you will loose them again quickly. You need to reinforce your learning with a practical application. The moment you finish your training you should attempt a drawing to include in your portfolio. Starting your career in AutoCAD can be awkward at first because you need experience to get a job, but you often need a job to get experience.  Creating drawings for your own portfolio is a way of breaking this cycle, getting some experience and producing evidence that you can do the job.


By Jonathan Finkelstein B.P.D(Arch) B.Arch M.Arch

netLearn Learning Systems

Jonathan Finkelstein has had twenty years professional experience with AutoCAD and Digital Visualisation and fifteen years experience as a leading eLearning content provider. As a past lecturer and now an honorary fellow at the University of Melbourne, Jonathan has had the opportunity to draw on his professional knowledge to develop courses in Computer Aided Design which have been delivered widely, through an authorised AutoDesk training centre and through the Internet to thousands of people world-wide. He is now a director of netLearn Learning Systems, which aims to bring free and low-cost, AutoCAD training to all parts of the world.

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July 2, 2007

Ibrahim B.from Abuja says:



Solid! Great for people who want AutoCAD foundations. Great one! 



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