CAD DESIGNER JOBS
CAD designers or computer aided manufacturing (CAD) designers use software to create detailed 2D models and 3D models, also known as surface modeling (2D) and solid modeling (3D). These designs and schematics are used for various purposes in manufacturing and construction. A CAD designer may create drafts that support civil engineering projects constructing large-scale infrastructure to schematics for microscopic parts in consumer electronics and medical devices. The models created by CAD designers are used for various purposes including prototyping, estimating costs, testing structural integrity, virtual presentations and final production specs. CAD designers work closely with both engineering on the specific designs as well as CNC machinists and tool & die makers who are involved in the production of parts.
CAD designers use CAD software, such as SolidWorks, Fusion 360 or AutoCAD, take engineering specifications and sketches and turn them into 3D designs. These roles require strong math skills, knowledge of drafting and often an detailed understanding of the production of the final product. Since CAD designers are often involved in the development of custom products and parts, they may have significant customer interaction to collect requirements and understand estimates. In more advanced roles, CAD designers are called upon to work with engineering and production to identify ways to improve the quality and cost of the final products.
Average salaries for CAD designers depend on experience and industry. Salaries in the architectural and civil engineering fields average $50,000 per year, mechanical fields $54,000 per year and electrical and electronics fields at $60,000 per year. Due to the wide variety of industries served by CAD designers, field specialization is common and highly desired by employers seeking advanced roles. The institutional and production knowledge that is valuable for a CAD designer working for a producer of plumbing parts is obviously quite different than one designing large assemblies for rocket engines or satellites.