A CAD technician uses computer aided design (CAD) software to create design plans for a wide range of products, systems or structures, ranging from oil rigs, buildings or cars to heating systems. The designs are either 2D (surface modelling) or 3D (solid modelling) drawings.
Other titles for the job include CAD draughtsman/woman and engineering draughtsperson.
You could be:
discussing a design with the engineering team
interpreting technical drawings and following instructions from the design manager
producing clear, detailed designs using CAD system software
working from a computer model of the item
making calculations and drawing your ideas onscreen
making or changing detailed diagrams so that craft or production workers can follow them
visiting sites if working on building or structure design
writing manuals for operation and maintenance
explaining designs to craft or production staff in the factory.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries are usually £18,000 to £25,000 a year, rising with experience to around £30,000 a year. Higher earners can make over £40,000 a year. Some employers have bonus schemes for senior staff.
You would spend most of your time sitting at a CAD workstation or computer.
You would work basic office hours but you may have to work overtime to meet deadlines.
You may visit the factory area, where it could be noisy and dusty or visit outdoor sites.
You could start by completing the Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship (FA), which you can start in S5 and study at school and college. Entry requirements vary between colleges, but you usually need 3 subjects at National 5 including English and Maths. Some colleges also ask for Physics.
You might get a Modern Apprenticeship for example in mechanical engineering, civil engineering or building services engineering. For entry you normally need 4 subjects at National 5 including English, Maths and preferably Physics or a technological subject.
You could take a HNC or HND course in computer aided design or a relevant subject such as engineering systems. Entry requirements are usually 1-2 Highers including Maths and a science subject. A Foundation Apprenticeship can also count towards entry requirements. If you are interested in a particular branch of work, check with the colleges which CAD packages they cover on their courses.
Many employers specify an HNC or HND for entry.
There are jobs in many branches of industry: light and heavy engineering, construction, shipbuilding, broadcasting, telecommunications, local government, the civil service, aerospace, water and electricity supply.