If you are thinking about going to school for a Drafting Degree then
Drafters draw blueprints and engineers design them. The current
problem is that somehow Drafting and Designing have become synonymous
terms. It used to be that a Drafter would draw blueprints from an
engineer's/architect's verbal instructions and/or the
engineer's/architect's sketches. Now the Drafter is supposed to know
what took an engineer/architect 4+ years to learn. If the Drafter
cannot "pick it up" what took the engineers/architects 4+ years to
learn then they throw you out the back door on your face in the gravel.
Also, Engineers or Architects are refusing to take time to train
Drafters. They say that they don't have time or go grab a book off of
the shelf and figure it out.
A two-year Associate Degree in Drafting WILL NOT prepare you to be an
engineer and do an engineer's job!
I have not designed (like an engineer) commercial buildings or other
engineering projects, but I did draw them by verbal instruction,
engineering sketches and blueprints.
My Computer Aided Drafting degree, basically, prepared me to draw
blueprints using AutoCAD software. Unfortunately, the local Drafting
courses in Kentucky, the Two-Year Drafting programs, do not prepare you
to do engineering design work (what engineers due with a 4+ year
Typically, all students come out ready to draw blueprints, as Drafters
have always done in the past, but not design without a Bachelors degree
like an engineer is trained to do.
Today, for the modern Drafter, it is turning into the old catch 22
you-need-experience situation. No one has time or is willing to train
yet they demand experience. Furthermore, if you can't "pick up" what
took engineers four years to learn in a year or; in most cases, thirty
days or less then they will lay you off and insult you by saying you
couldn't catch on fast enough. So what is the Drafter left to do?
A downside for the engineer in today's modern engineering office is
that they are expected to spend all of their time drafting while they
could, more productively, spend their time dealing with public
relations and engineering design. Also, most architects and engineers
that I have spoken with have a weak background in CAD and take only a
couple of classes in Drafting during their college education.
Lastly, as stated in my objective, I am looking for a company who is
flexible and willing to train for non-Drafting engineer Design tasks.
The former title for my past experience would be a "CAD
Detailer/Drafter". I have drawn blueprints, as I was prepared to do by
my two-year Associate Degree, but I have not "designed" as one who is
"trained" by an architectural or engineering firm.
Currently, I have been out of a Drafting position for over 2 years
because engineering firms have become too "picky" and want something
for nothing. I guess it time for me to move on and realize that
Drafting is a dead field.
Same here in Canada. I don't know the OP at all, and I don't know what he
hopes to gain by his post. I don't know anything about him, but if the days
of "dumb drafting" are over you won't see me shed a tear.
I once worked in an office of mostly community college cad jockeys, and
their attitude towards their work was deplorable. The only thing they cared
about were their paychecks, beer, pot, sex, and their cars. One guy handed
me a supposedly finished set of plans for a house and there was an entire of
corner of the house which had no means of structural support. When I asked
him how he could take a set of drawings as far as he did without a clue
about how it stood up, he said he couldn't figure that part out, so he just
Elsewhere, I have had the honor of working with "mere" draftsman who
elevated their work to the level of a fine craft, and they taught me a lot
that I still carry around today. These guys don't have to look for work.
Work comes looking for them.
I hope these "cad jockeys" aren't expected to design structural support.
That's the job of the structural engineer.
We generate models in 3D. With 3D "walkthrough" software, we can visualize
the model. We can even give a "published" version of the model (not the DWG)
to the client with the 3D viewer and they can visualize what their plant
will look like. The response was tremendous when we first started doing
What I'm getting at, is men and women looking to enter the drafting trades
should consider honing their 3D skills. We have a hard time finding people
who 3D well!
There's a lot of ground between structural calculations and common sense. My
point is that some fools think that because some fancy-pants, university
trained guy is taking ultimate responsibility for the project, they don't
have to apply common sense to their work.
I wouldn't draw anything I didn't understand, because I wouldn't have any
way of knowing if I had even drawn it correctly, and I would need continual
supervision. That's completely unproductive. If I had to supervise every
"from point" and "to point" I might as well draw it myself. (I ended up
redrawing this guys work, rather than explain it to him.)
I guess I'm luck then, I've been working as a drafter for 15 years,
switched my employer 3 times and my 2nd employer begged and paid me to
I haven't had many good experiences with new drafters coming out of
school. So far we've gone thru 6 over the last 2 years. The problems
we usually have are bad work habits (tardiness, taking off sick often,
and not being very motivated), also most want to argue how a job is to
be done and not wanting to follow company drafting methods.
So basically in a nut shell, we won't hire a fresh drafter anymore.
There are too many drafter / designers out of work willing to actually
I can draw 2d or 3d, but in the 15 years that I've worked with Cad
I've never had to draw anything in 3D. (HVAC/Plumbing/electrical
I also hope we don't switch to 3D in the building services field, Its
bad enough having to change 100,000 square foot hvac or electrical
designs in 2D every time an architect changes a walls location by 3
I have a Masters in Fine Arts. I picked up drafting working for various
architectural firms, first as a typist, then doing, computer graphics and 3D
modeling. I got laid off in 1999 and went to work as a consultant. I've
never pretended to have any knowledge of architecture. Give me your sketches
or red lines and I'll get 'em back to you, fast, accurate, in accordance
with your standards, and at a reasonable price. I've got to think that
architects and engineers (I've worked for both) are more particular here in
Massachusetts than they are in Kentucky and nobody's ever complained about
my drafting skills. I'm back at a corporate job again doing graphics and 3D
and I'm having a great time learning Sketchup and Piranesi on the company
dime. Aren't there any temp agencies in Kentucky? There's plenty of call for
CAD monkeys around here.
We are beyond many companies in our business. Many of our clients have never
seen this capability offered. Sure, mainframe systems have been avaialble
for years and even PC based 3D has been available since the late 80's, but
smaller engineering firms could not afford mainframes so they used PCs. PCs
could not handle large models until the late 90's when large memory became
affordable and CPUs got faster.
Though I since a few insults toward my drafting opinions, I'll admit
that 3D work would be nice if done correctly. But the Architects that
provide the drawings that we work with and hire us must first produce
the 3D floor plans which has not happened yet.
I am comfortable drafting in 3D or 2D having once worked for a few
years for an injection molding plant. I still think that 3D requires
more keystrokes to edit over a 2D drawing in production drafting
(where the client requires our designs and drawings in the quickest
If a person can't look at building sections to determine a pipe, duct,
conduit routing they should not be in the design drafting business.
Start doing side line jobs from the Internet. There are web sites
around that list employers seeking people to do CAD work (usually
converting old hand tracings to CAD). The pay isn't bad but the taxes
suck just remember to stick 20 percent of EVERYTHING you make in a
savings account for taxes.