Drafter or CADD Technician
Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings and plans. Workers in production and construction use these plans to build everything from microchips to skyscrapers. Many drafters are referred to as CADD technicians or CADD operators. With CADD systems, drafters create and store drawings electronically so that they can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into automated manufacturing systems. New software systems, such as building information modeling (BIM) and product data management (PDM), are coming into use. Through three-dimensional rendering, BIM software allows designers and engineers to see how elements in their projects work together. PDM software helps users track and control project-related data, including technical specifications. Just as BIM is changing the work of architectural drafters, engineers, and designers, PDM is changing the work of mechanical drafters. These software systems allow drafting and design work to be done at the same time as the work done by other professionals involved in the project.
TCC programs that are right for you:
Drafting and Design Technology Programs
Drafters work in engineering and drafting service firms, architectural and landscape architectural firms, and various manufacturing industries. Like other workers who primarily use computers to do their work, drafters usually work indoors and full-time, although overtime is not uncommon.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of all drafters is expected to grow 6 percent between 2010 and 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. However, growth will vary by specialty. Work from construction projects will likely continue to create demand for architectural and civil drafters, and because this work should be kept in the United States, employment is expected to grow by 3 percent, slower than average growth.
Career information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.