Be a CAD Pro: Here’s How

The days when CAD-driven product development was an isolated engineering endeavor are only distant memories. Now, in order to be a true computer-aided design professional, you need to master much more than just the software. You must also embody the collaborative communication and leadership skills that are vital to the success of today’s most innovative design and development projects.

But—even after years of engineering education and practice using the latest AutoCAD and SolidWorks CAD software—the question remains: how does one become a top CAD professional? Here are the secrets you need to know!

Stay Current on Trends and Best Practices

As with any industry, one of the best ways to get to the top—and to stay there—is by keeping up with current demands, trends, software/technologies, and best practices. Things change fast, especially when you’re working in a field that is defined and driven by technology. But when you’re focused on innovation and continuous improvement, you’ll see emerging trends, and you’ll be able to react quickly to learn the skills that others will be slower to pick up.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Read books, journals, and news articles that relate to your specific (or desired) field/industry, leadership, and new software and tech tools. Then consider how those things impact/will impact your current engineering processes and adjust accordingly to stay fresh and competitive.
  • Stay abreast of design trends and consumer demands in CAD
  • Standardize your design workflow so that you can adapt on the fly and stay flexible to accommodate real-time needs.
  • Always make sure you’re using the latest version of SolidWorks CAD, CAM, and/or AutoCAD software.

If you are serious about staying current in your field, taking the time to do these things just makes sense. And when you go to apply for your dream job, you’ll be on point, able to speak intelligently about what’s hot in the market. Plus, you can hint at all the innovative ideas you have about how to get customers what they really want right NOW. You’ll be sure to leave the hiring team wanting more!

Leverage Collaborative Skills and Tools

Collaboration is the name of the game in and across most industries now, and CAD and CAM are no exception. If you have the skills needed to communicate effectively, share ideas, and learn from other groups, functions, and individuals, you’re ahead of many engineers (and people in general). To really wow your boss, take it one step further and leverage the plethora of collaborative tools available—many for free—on the market.

Using SolidWorks CAD to develop new products used to be a fairly solo venture, but that’s simply no longer the case. In the name of working smarter, you need to know how to collaborate, leveraging the knowledge of many (versus working alone) and working with other functions instead of being siloed. And the good news is that there are so many sweet tools out there to help you make this happen efficiently (PDM, SOLIDWORKS Electrical, SOLIDWORKS Manage).

Collaborative design is ultimately more innovative, more functional, and generally makes for faster production in the long run. In short, nail the skills needed to collaborate effectively, and in your next interview, you’ll be able to tout your ability to get better products to your customers in less time.

Track Production Data to Show Effectiveness

Another one of the best things you can do to showcase your skills and prove your worth as a top CAD professional is to track your stats. Having quantitative data to substantiate your claims of better and faster production and more effective CAD processes can help you demonstrate exactly why you deserve that next job or raise. Your boss or the hiring manager can’t argue with good, well-presented data!

SolidWorks CAD and CAM software, along with AutoCAD, are great tools for helping you keep track of all the statistics you need to show your team’s effectiveness. Learn how to use the software well, including the reporting functions, to add factual oomph to your design portfolio.

Transforming Your Engineering Efforts

If you’re ready to level up your next project and increase your productivity and efficiency using SolidWorks CAD software, or CAM software, give us a shout!  DesignPoint is here to help. On our About page, you’ll see that “We are passionate about building solutions that help product design, engineering and manufacturing companies maximize their potential.” And it’s absolutely true. We work hard to bring a personal touch to engineering!