AutoCAD revolutionised the way draftsmen worked in the 80s but has this design technology died a death or is it still alive and kicking in 2018? Olivia, our CAD specialist, explores whether AutoCAD is still the ‘go to’ software for budding drafters…
For those of you who aren’t familiar with AutoCAD, it stands for Automatic Computer Aided Design. It’s a commercial computer-aided design and drafting software application which is often used in the construction, product design and manufacturing industries, amongst others.
The beauty of AutoCAD is that it can be used to draft plans and precise scaled drawings of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional models with the aid of a computer. It’s an extremely useful tool for anyone involved in design projects within Civil/Structural, Architectural, Manufacturing, Building Services, Mechanical, Electrical, 3D printing and much more. It’s also become a useful tool for marketing products as virtual prototypes can be used in presentations, advertising and when bidding for funding.
AutoCAD was originally the brainchild of a group of engineers who put their heads together to create a simple innovation to enable draftspeople, architects and engineers to draw up their projects. It was developed and marketed by Autodesk Inc. and was one of the first CAD programmes that could be used on personal computers and Macs. It’s commonly used in architecture, construction and manufacturing to assist in the preparation of blueprints and other engineering plans.
There’s no doubt that this software completely transformed the world of design when it was first launched, especially in terms of cost, as drafters could tweak their prototypes before producing products or designs for real. But, in an increasingly digital world, is AutoCAD still the “go to” software for users, or has it been overshadowed by newer technology?
Well, lots of similar alternative drafting/modelling programmes have emerged on the scene, including Revit, which is often the chosen software to support/comply with Building Information Modelling (BIM) – a sort of Google Docs for buildings and architecture.
There’s also SketchUP which claims to be “the easiest way to draw in 3D” and is becoming a favourite for CAD designers. Not to mention ProgeCAD – a budget version of AutoCAD.
However, AutoCAD is still widely considered a very relevant programme with unparalleled drafting capabilities and arguably the best 2D features on the market. It’s also lauded for its accuracy and speed. And, there’s definitely still a demand for trained computer-aided design technicians in the UK with the average wage ranging from £20-40,000, depending on location, qualifications and experience. AutoCAD skills remain highly desirable in many roles and offer a route into countless industries.
A number of training courses are available at colleges in engineering technology or computer-aided design and manufacturing. There are also training centres throughout the UK offering the core skills for creating 2D and 3D drawing, plans and designs, as well as a City & Guilds qualification which provides learners with the essential skills in how to use computer aided design software.
But despite the apparent popularity of AutoCAD, the developers aren’t resting on their laurels. Even with millions of users, AutoDesk is constantly updating and improving the product, having recently revamped the graphics function with better use of text, evolving to keep up with clients’ ever-changing needs.
Although it looks as though AutoCAD will be around for the foreseeable future, as with all tools and technology, it will no doubt need to evolve with newer shinier, faster, smarter versions, to keep up with the times.
One thing’s for sure though – computer aided design is an exciting specialism to have and can take you on an exciting and varied career path.
If you’re an AutoCAD professional ready to make your next career move, get in touch to see how I, or one of our other technical and design recruiters could help.
Contact Olivia here