What is Drafting? Drafting has been around for thousands of years. In fact, stone tablets dating back to 4,000 B.C. have been found with drawings of fortresses on them, according to UEN.org. Some of the greatest artists and scientists of all time were using drafting techniques to create, including Leonardo Da Vinci. They used their drawings to graphically represent real things, ideas, and proposed designs for the creation of mechanisms and buildings. The drafting career field is still alive and booming today with over 250,000 different drafting jobs filled in the US Market over the past 2 years. Drafting Careers: Having an Artistic Eye Mitchell, from Cary, North Carolina, has been an architectural CAD, draftsmen for over 31 years. He says regarding his career: “A drafts-person is as much an artisan as anyone who works in glass or metal – we just work in pixels….I think of myself as a Master Artisan. I take tremendous satisfaction in surveying and drafting floor plans up from said survey. I am very proud of being able to create a “made-thing” which will not only be useful today, but may well be useful (as a floor plan database or space allocation database) for years to come.” CAD Software: The Biggest Change to Drafting Industry Ever CAD or CADD software (Computer Aided Drafting) or (Computer Aided Drafting and Design) has revolutionized the drafting industry over the last decade. Draftsmen must be skilled in this software to go anywhere in the industry. CADD software allows draftsmen to create plans and drawings on the computer that are used in industries from medicine and forensics to construction and manufacturing. These drawings serve as graphic guidelines to show how a building or object should be made. They can include both technical and dimensional information, along with materials needed and procedures to follow as an project is built. Learning CAD or CADD Software Important things to know when learning CADD software: You need to obtain your Drafting and CADD or Design Technology training from an accredited institution. Colleges generally offer diploma programs (1 year to 18 months) and associate’s degrees in Drafting and CADD (2 years). Employers prefer associate’s degree holders. The best CADD software programs include: Auto-CAD, inventor, NX, Sold Works, REVIT and pro/engineer software. Find out what type of drafting you want to specialize in and what specific CAD software companies use and learn it. Be willing to continually update your technical knowledge and software skills, because new technologies are always coming down the pipeline. The Drafting Personality Type Drafting isn’t a born skill. It’s something that takes time and patience to learn. Strong drafts people should possess the following skills and personality traits: Excellent visualization skills, especially in three-dimensional forms High degree of accuracy and ability to see fine details Strong understanding of building materials and their uses Ability to make quick revisions, track changes and organize work Ability to take supervision well Self-motivator with enterprise and the ability to constantly learn new things Team player, committed to helping others complete projects Top Drafting Specialties Today It’s already been mentioned, but a skilled draftsperson can find a job in a huge variety of industries from the automotive and medical industries to aviation and even multimedia design. Some of the top specialty areas where CADD is used include: Architectural drafters - prepare drawings for architectural features in buildings for construction projects. Aeronautical drafters - prepare detailed drawings for specifications and plans used in making missiles or airplanes and their parts. Electrical drafters - prepare diagrams of wiring and layout used in making, repairing or installing electrical wiring and appliances in power plants, communication centers and buildings. Electronics drafters - prepare circuit board assembly and wiring diagrams, schematics and layout drawings used in making, repairing and installing electronic equipment. Civil drafters - prepare drawings of topography of an area which are used for civil engineering projects such as sewage systems, pipelines, bridges, flood ways, highways and dams, etc. Pipeline drafters - prepare drawings used in construction, layout and operation of gas and oil fields, chemical plants, refineries and piping systems. Mechanical drafters - prepare drawings that show the method of assembly and details of devices and machinery. Getting the Best Drafting Jobs & Overcoming Technology Hurdles When it comes to getting the best drafting jobs, drafting professionals recommend taking your time to ensure you’re getting the right software skills and experience needed before taking the job plunge. Todd Morey, a post-secondary vocational instructor of the Architectural Design Program at Palm Beach Community College's Lake Worth campus, said: "The people who get the best jobs are those who are well-rounded in their trade. They not only are up-to-date on the latest computer programs, but they also understand the architectural and engineering aspects of the profession. I would say the biggest challenge for today's drafting students is to stay on top of the new technology and building codes. Every county has a different building code, so you need to modify your drawings based on whom you are drawing it." A Timeless Career Many professionals in the drafting world are taking on responsibilities that have traditionally been performed by engineers and architects. The drafters with the best chance for great careers in the future will be those with high CADD software and technology skills. The future of the industry is in computers. If you’re looking for a career with a strong past and a secure and growing future, drafting is the career for you.