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Engineers and Drafters, I need Advice

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by poofus1929, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. poofus1929
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 897

    poofus1929
    Member
    from So Cal

    I need some advice. I am 32 years old, I have worked as a warehouseman, an electrician and a mechanic. It has taken a toll on my body and I have recently started going back to college. I am majoring in Drafting Technology which includes CAD courses. What I am asking is how good is the field and what Automotive related jobs can I get with an AA in drafting? Is it a good field job wise?
     
  2. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,562

    hotrod40coupe
    Member

    It used to be great back in the days of Aerospace, don't know about the demand today. It seems like a bit of a roller coaster these days. If you can get some experience with Pro Engineer, that would be good. Autocad is the most common system used today for smaller jobs.
     
  3. R Frederick
    Joined: Mar 30, 2009
    Posts: 2,658

    R Frederick
    Member
    from illinois

    I used to do Autocad full time. I can't sit at a computer desk all day at work no matter what it is. I eventually got into Construction Management. I bid work and manage projects for a moderate sized excavating company. I work in an office, and get out once in a while. I can't complain. What I'm trying to say is try to stay away from "production" work. It'll turn you into a zombie.
     
  4. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,789

    Malcolm
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Nebraska

    Not too sure about the Automotive related drafting jobs, but I've been doing Mechanical (HVAC and plumbing design and drafting) for the past 10 years. I also have an Assoicates of Applied Science degree in Architectural Engineering.

    The company that I currently work for (HDR, Inc. - been here for 5 years) does mostly Hospital and large commercial design, along a ton of Civil (roadway, bridge, etc.) work.
    I know there are some jobs available in this industry, just not as many as in the past. The economy has affected us some, but overall we are not doing too bad.

    Drafting platforms that I've used are Microstation, multiple versions of AutoCAD, and we are now beginning to use Revit for the MEP portions of projects. Architectural and Structural disciplines have been using Revit for a while now.


    Hopefully this has helped you out some. If you have any other questions, just ask!




    Malcolm
     

  5. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,298

    mustangsix
    Member

    Pro E, Autocad, and Solidworks would all be good to know.
     
  6. LULL
    Joined: Jun 2, 2008
    Posts: 78

    LULL
    Member

    As an architect all I can say is that there are alot of unemployed architects out there right now...ALOT...when firms are able to start hiring again they will be hiring back architects before they take on CAD techs. So I would try to steer clear of that industry, the outlook is pretty damned bleak right now!
     
  7. I do it full time. I think its a great job, although try and get into a design/eng firm that does allot off different stuff and take note of what Wicked50 says, stay away from production stuff, it gets old real quick if you want to do 'real design' work.
    If you have a brain that can picture things, how that will and will not work you a step ahead of most. There is a very clear devide between people who know how to use a CAD package and someone who knows how to use one and what will work and what can be done in the real world........does that make sense?
    My red hot tip, learn as many packages as you can, at least be good at one of the high end ones (NX, ProE, solidwoks) and the others are just working out the basics of operation.
    My company has an office in San diego, so if you want to throw your resume at them shoot me a PM and I will get you the details and who to speak to. We do everything from the new Coke machine with the fancy touch screen, to the new Berrocca bottle, but mosty high end medical instruments.
     
  8. Knucklehead29
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 132

    Knucklehead29
    Member

    I'm a design engineer in the oilfield, and right now the oilfield is hiring a lot of designers (drafters) with experience in solid modeling. So Solidworks, ProE, stuff like that. Most everything that we do is three dimensionally constrained, and when we do stress analysis it just get fed right into the program through those solid modeling programs. Automotive industry is struggling right now, and the oilfield was too, but things seems to be turning around now. Good luck!
     
  9. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,429

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    Hi proofus. I'm gonna be real neagative here...ready? OK. I was an automotive machine-tool designer for 25 years. My dad, my 5 brothers, and I were all in it. Dad's gone now, but since the advent of computer-aided design, (cad) in the early '90s, the big three have been sending machine-tool design-work overseas at the push of a button. (India, Pakistan, etc.) I lost my career to overseas outsourcing. I have one brother still hanging on, but that probably won't last. Design always comes before manufacturing, and the downturn in design hit us waaaay before it hit the manufacturing sector. I'm now being trained for a new career in health-care. I'm a 53 year-old college student! Now, there are those who will say that the downturn in the automotive industry doesn't mean that cad will go away in other areas such as mass-transit, infrastructure, arcitectual, aerospace, medical supplies, or possibly product-design in the automotive field, etc. BUT...be aware that anything that is done on a computer, and I mean anything...can of course be instantly sent somewhere else in the world to be done. So even though at the present, there may be design-work of various diciplines available in this country, there's nothing that says the powers that be can't suddenly decide to send it overseas. It's sad. It's short-sighted. It's stupid. It's wrong. It's bad for the U.S. But experience has shown us, that what's good for this country is not necessarily top priority for big business. Good luck with anything you decide to do. Just be sure to "do your homework" in regards to knowing what's coming down the pike in the future. Contact people that actually work in the areas of design that you may be considering, and get their take on it.
     
  10. Oh and as far as automotive, i dont think i would ever want to get into that field...........I am just not into designing a bumper clip for a year. You get assigned one area and you just go off co-ordinate points for ref, you dont get to see the rest of the car.
    If you really want to get into automotive stuff, go around to shops and ask if they need anything modelled up 'cash jobs', that would be far more interesting. I 'may' be getting a home job like that soon, as a guy wants tooling made for patch panels.
     

  11. I can dig what your saying here, we had the same 'Threat' at my work, but when it came down to acctual design work, these guys didnt know there elbow from there arse. As stated in my earlier post, there is a visable line between users and designers and that will always be.
     
  12. BangerMatt
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 465

    BangerMatt
    Member

    I know in aerospace, we are using CATIA.
     
  13. nutajunka
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 1,466

    nutajunka

    I do know they sell drafts at Hooters...:D
     
  14. poofus1929
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 897

    poofus1929
    Member
    from So Cal

    Wow, Maybe majoring in Businees isn't such a bad idea. Thanks for the input guys.
     
  15. wingman9
    Joined: Dec 30, 2009
    Posts: 804

    wingman9
    Member
    from left coast

    I'm a piping designer in a refinery. For almost 2 years now we have just been hanging on and hoping things pick up. I've been in design work for about 40 years but I don't remember a downturn as long as this one. On a positive note, it's interesting work and it pays fairly well. Don't become a CAD monkey. The engineering firm I work for sends a lot of CAD work to India and Viet Nam. Concentrate on Autocad and PDS. The 3D thing is where it's at. Good luck.
     
  16. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,789

    Malcolm
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Nebraska


    Yes! Thank you for pointing that out! :)
     
  17. The skills which are in demand are based on proficiency in 3-D modeling. The CAD programs are merely tools. You have to learn to use those tools effectively, but they are only the means to the end. You also need to be able to construct the models in an efficient manner with thought on how they will be used. This is what makes the difference between a designer and a CAD user.
    I would suggest that you try to learn SolidWorks as opposed to some of the other CAD programs. It is popular with small shops and offers better features than some of the more costly programs.
     
  18. LastMinuteMark
    Joined: Apr 11, 2008
    Posts: 349

    LastMinuteMark
    Member
    from So. Cal.

    ***
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  19. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,789

    Malcolm
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Nebraska


    Great advice!! I do also have a background in HVAC installation and service, so that has helped me quite a bit when it comes to HVAC design and drafting. 3D is a big part of what I do and is becoming more-so every day....
     
  20. As someone who has worked in Architecture for the last 7 years I can say that it is completely DEAD right now. At least in my region that seems to be the case. I have started looking at Ads in other cities for work, but I am not finding much anywhere. I am thinking about getting a bachelors in Construction Management but I'm not sure because right now there just isn't a lot of Construction to manage.
     
  21. fordf1trucknut
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 1,122

    fordf1trucknut
    Member

    I am a registered professional design engineer (my wife is too).

    I am not sure that drafting is something wise to get into right now. It seems that more and more engineers do most of the drafting themselves during the design process. The company I work for doesn't even hire drafters anymore.

    Engineering has however treated my wife and I well (even with the current downturn). I would recommend getting an actual engineering degree instead of engineering technology degree or drafting design degree.
     
  22. LastMinuteMark
    Joined: Apr 11, 2008
    Posts: 349

    LastMinuteMark
    Member
    from So. Cal.

    ***
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  23. pushrod_mike
    Joined: Aug 22, 2006
    Posts: 669

    pushrod_mike
    Member
    from Austin TX

    I've been in engineering for 20 years now and I can tell you that most drafting positions are going away. That said there is usually room for someone who is mechanically minded and can use the CAD tools. You just have to hustle your ass off if you don't have an engineering degree usually from a pretty big school.
     
  24. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,817

    62rebel
    Member

    i learned drafting the old way.... pre-computers (well, ti-30's ) and all pencils and paper, french curves and triangles. by the time i used up all my college money CAD was the thing to know and i just missed the brass ring by a year or so. the other side of my major was commercial art.... also learned the old way..... makes me pretty damn near useless in the modern era. have been considering some medical transcriptionist/clerical courses to get away from car dealerships for good.
     
  25. Grudge
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 435

    Grudge
    Member

    I was a mechanic for six years or so before I went back for my BSME. It's work for sure, but worth the stretch in the long run. I'd go for at least a BS if you want to be in engineering (like others said, drafting is being outsourced more and more). Good luck in whatever you decide.
     
  26. poofus,

    I went back to school at age 31, started with the AAS in Drafting Tech. went on to get my BSME. One of the best things I ever did was to go back to school. The economy is very rough right now for engineering. I have 5 years designing high speed machinery and I spent 10 months last year without work. I am now back to do drafting work to pay the bills. I only got the job because I am an engineer, I am also doing alot of tolerancing and red line that draftsman don't do, Also I am helping out on the work overload that my current employer has, and that isn't gonna last for long.

    Guess what I am saying is the as an engineer I did all of my own drafting and that is rapidly becoming the norm for many companies and the industry as a whole. Push farther in education go for your BSME and use the drafting degree to get those jobs that now reguire engineers to do drafting. Also use it as a fall back for those rainy day and bad economy.
     
  27. Deadbird
    Joined: Jul 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,125

    Deadbird
    Member

    This thread is extremely interesting to me. I started out wanting to be a draftsman back in the early 80s and learned right away that I needed to learn CAD to even get my foot in the door. I got a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Technology because Illinois State was the only place in my area that even offered CAD training. It was cool because I got to do some internships with Caterpillar.

    I made a questionable career choice right out of college and went to work for a small Mechanical Electrical Engineering firm doing pretty much the same thing Malcom's doing right now. It was questionable only because the owners were jerks and worked the CAD guys like dogs. It soon became very clear that since I didn't have an engineering degree, and couldn't become a registered engineer, my path for advancement was very limited. So I worked my way into the CAD Manager position, learned a bunch about computers and networks, then took another job with a Civil Engineering firm. This turned out to be a great job, mostly because the owner was just a great guy and top notch business man. Still, my career path was limited due to the degree and the fact that I didn't hold a PE of any type. Now I'm at the U of I and completely out of the engineering field, which sucks. I really miss it.

    The moral of this story is, CAD drafting positions are probably pretty limited unless you can bring something else to the table. I worked with AutoCAD 2.18 on up, MicroStation and other packages along the way. Still, without the Engineering degree, my possibilities were limited, hence my moving into systems management. Engineers generally don't want to mess with the nuts and bolts of the computers.

    I agree 100% with other here that say it's better to train someone with practical experience (field work, etc.) how to use the tools instead of training a computer geek how to draft. That just doesn't work. The best CAD drafters I've had were the guys and gals with dirt under their nails. I now work with a bunch of really talented programmers that couldn't find their butt with both hands and a map.

    I know that a lot of jobs are getting shipped overseas. Hopefully that trend will be reversed someday. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that there's a ton of our infrastructure in this country that needs to be redone. Roads, bridges and all kinds of things are just crumbling around us. There's a lot of engineering to be done. That's one reason my son is thinking about getting into Civil Engineering. Plenty of work to be done.

    Just my two cents.
     
  28. 51pontiac
    Joined: Jun 12, 2009
    Posts: 257

    51pontiac
    Member
    from Alberta

    I have been teaching Engineering Design and Drafting for 20 years - It all depends on you! Are you willing to learn new stuff every day? Are you willing to work hard and do your best? If so- you will succeed - if not, good luck! We are seeing a huge resurgence of designers versus basic CAD operators. If you know engineering fundamentals you can do well.
     
  29. dizzyearth
    Joined: Jan 16, 2010
    Posts: 48

    dizzyearth
    Member
    from Elkmont Al

    I second the nod for Catia....although the job market for aerospace is pretty limited for a Cad Tech. it's rare we hire non Engineering Degreed Designers anymore except as contractors......Some of the other fields probably have a better outlook.

    we also use Pro E, SolidWorks and UG....In aerospace we do not use Autocad.... or at least i have not seen it in the last decade.
     
  30. krimsonghost
    Joined: Sep 9, 2008
    Posts: 83

    krimsonghost
    Member

    wow, this thread helps me out quite a bit (thanks op). i lost my job as a forklift mechanic in october, and that got to be some brutal work (i'm 26 and both my knees are shot, among other things). i will be returning to school this fall for mechanical design, and after the associates i will go for an engineering degree.
     

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