Getting your foot in the door with a career in computer-aided drafting and design begins with a solid training in Autodesk AutoCAD. AutoCAD training has many parts, from formal education to the broader learning community. Utilizing every resource available is the best way to learn this powerful drafting application. The first step toward learning AutoCAD is knowing what options are available.
AutoCAD changed the field of drafting. In previous generations, drafters had to painstakingly draw all their designs on physical paper. Mistakes or revisions required drawings to be drafted again from scratch. AutoCAD makes revisions within a document possible, as well as making drawing common objects (known in AutoCAD as blocks) easier by allowing users to keep a library of them.
AutoCAD has a number of broad applications that vary depending on the user's specialty. Some specializations include mechanical drafting, architectural drafting, electrical drafting and pipeline drafting. The courses that you select in drafting school and the topics that you focus on in your personal education will be intimately tied in with what you wish to do when you complete school. Think about what you have a natural eye for and an interest in. Form a clear idea of what you would like to draw.
AutoCAD education takes many forms. Many community colleges offer one- and two-year programs in drafting resulting in a professional certificate or associate in applied arts degrees. Students may also educate themselves or supplement classroom education with books about AutoCAD or forums where industry professionals congregate and trade tips. What kind of education is best for you depends on your goals. But if you want to work professionally, your best bet is to get a two-year degree in drafting, which will include lots of AutoCAD training.
AutoCAD training will teach you fundamental, intermediate and advanced applications of using Autodesk AutoCAD. But formal training also gives you official credentials that you can tout as you look around for jobs in the field. Some colleges offer classes in very specific applications of AutoCAD including drafting moving parts and using the three-dimensional solid modeling function of AutoCAD. The more specific skills you have, the more attractive you will be to employers.
Completing a program in AutoCAD can take as little as a year and as long as four with a golden mean at two. Much of this depends on the availability of classes, how quickly a student learns and how much time he has to complete his education. But AutoCAD training never ends, and even professionals who have been working in the field for years learn new tricks from their peers.
Nicholas Pell began writing professionally in 1995. His features on arts, culture, personal finance and technology have appeared in publications such as "LA Weekly," Salon and Business Insider. Pell holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.