Many different industries require drafting skills, and with the advent of computer aided drafting and the expansion of information that can be generated from it, the demand for CAD increases. Drafters prepare technical drawings and plans used by construction, engineering, surveying, architecture, production and science. Although traditionally this work was done using a drawing board and pencil, almost all of it is done using Computer Aided Design systems, allowing much of the detail to be added automatically, using codes and core systems. CAD also aids in layering different systems on the same drawings, and producing the relevant views needed for different areas of work on the same systems.
Computer aided drafting courses are offered by technical institutes, colleges and universities at a variety of levels, but most computed aided drafters enter the profession with a two year or four year degree. Drafters need not only skills in drafting and operation of CAD packages, but also knowledge of standards, science, mathematics and the relevant engineering technologies. Drafters need problem solving expertise and to be able to communicate aurally and in writing.
Demand for CAD operators is likely to be good, and as increasingly drafters work with their computer systems to produce information that would have traditionally been produced by the engineer, jobs are likely to increase. Earnings reflect this, with a median salary around $35,000 and top CAD people earning as much as $55,000.