24 Replies Latest reply on Oct 1, 2013 1:55 PM by Alex Jones

    Need advice please

    Alex Jones

      I am a 37 years old guy with high school diploma and I had taught myself AutoCad back in 1994. But never worked in that field and never touched it since then. I taught myself Corel Draw- photoshop-Illustrator- inDesign and 2 embroidery digitizing software.  I am doing graphic design and embroidery digitizing for living. i am looking for a career change to make more money and I would like to hear ideas and suggestions please.

      Question 1- Will i have any shot in getting a good paying job by learning SolidWorks ,since I don't have any college education?

      I make about $15 an hour now.

      Question 2- What is the pay rate for beginner  and  does it help the pay rate if I get certified ?

      I would greatly appreciated any help

      Thank you 

        • Re: Need advice please
          Adrian Velazquez

          Alex, great to hear that your looking to advance your career! If you learn SW and find a position that is somewhat related to your experience you can definitely make more than $20 as a beginner. The certifications won't necessarily translate to dollar signs, but I will definitely help on your job hunt, especially being new to he field. There's plenty of free and paid resources online and this forum is a great place to start your quest.


          I wish you success.

          • Re: Need advice please
            Jeff Holliday

            I agree with Adrian. An additional resource would be to see if there are SolidWorks User Groups near you. They do not charge for attending and provide a good assortment of SWorks-related knowledge. It is also a great source for networking to see what opportunities may exist.

            • Re: Need advice please
              Roland Schwarz

              Learning SW is the easy part.  The resources are there and you apparently have enough talent to give it a whack.


              The more important part is gaining useful engineering knowledge quickly.  There's a huge chasm between being an effective graphic designer and an effective drafter or mechanical designer.  Once you can make dazzling shapes in SW, you wil need to demonstrate the ability to work in an engineering environment.

              • Drafting standards
              • Materials
              • Processes
              • Product design requirements
              • Re: Need advice please
                Anna Wood



                Where are you located?


                To go along with Roland's comments.  Look into the  community colleges in your area for design technology programs.


                You will need mechanical design skills to go along with knowledge of SolidWorks.





                • Re: Need advice please
                  Mark Kaiser

                  I've seen companies that pay draftsman under the $15/hour rate, and you need to be a design engineer to get above that.  So, cad jockey, under or around $15/hour, design engineer, $20/hour plus.  The design engineer comes with education, as has been suggested.

                  • Re: Need advice please
                    Alex Jones

                    Thank you all for your inputs.


                    I live in Nashville Tennessee.


                    "Mark Kaiser,

                      So if I just learn the program and get the SW certificates  still wont get me to go over $15/hour  .unless I go to school and get a 4 year degree?"

                    • Re: Need advice please
                      Derek Parks



                      I agree with everyones advice. I also made a career change a few years ago with almost your same background. I had college experience and training in Graphic Design using the Adobe Master Suite and decided to go into more technical work so took a Solidworks course at a local college.


                      The course that I took was just a intro and basically things I already knew but definitely worth it at community college prices. I would suggest you look into getting a position using all of your skills which may greatly increase your income while continuing to become more acquainted with Solidworks. Possibly technical illustration or some form of marketing may get you in the door also with your knowledge of Adobe products.


                      I am currently classified as a draftsman but my background increases my value and flexibility to work with more than just engineering departments. You may also want to check out Solidworks Composer after Solidworks training. This is going to be a fast growing opportunity in a lot of companies and should flow nicely with your design skills. I use this program and am the only one at my company doing so and from training classes I have attended there are few people using it that actually are familiar with engineering standards which will in turn make you more valuable also.


                      As far as pay goes that is going to depend on area and field as others have said. I also changed jobs older in age so understand the importance of making more money but when making a full career change a cut in pay before a increase may be what happens. You didnt get to $15 with no knowledge of graphic design so you may not get to $15 with no Solidworks experience. That doesnt mean that a year from now you won't be making quite a bit more than that. With your skill set and ease in training yourself on programs you will be fine.


                      Best of Luck,