15 Replies Latest reply on Jan 28, 2014 2:18 PM by Mike Pogue

    Advice someone new to drafting...

    Chris Mackedanz

      Hello Everyone.

       

      So, I decided a while back to go back to college and get a college degree in mechanical drafting from a local college.  Long story short, I am not very happy with the program, and it's partially because of the fact that I have to work full time to make ends meet.

       

      I have been lucky enough to get a job doing mechanical drafting, with solidworks, for about the past 9 months.  I am actually starting a new job on Monday, still as a solidworks drafter at a new company.

       

      Now, my question is this... I already have an A.A.S. Degree granted it isn't in Drafting of any kind, it's in Audio Technology.  That being said, is it worth it for me to actually go and get a peice of paper that says I have some general knowledge of drafting practices....OR would be better for me to spend my time and energy into specific certifications, like from solid works?

       

      And what certifications should I be looking into?

       

      Thanks everyone!

        • Re: Advice someone new to drafting...
          Jeff Mirisola

          Chris,

          I don't have a degree and, honestly, there are many times when I wish I did. There are many positions which I know I have the skills for but because I don't have a piece of paper stating as much, I often find myself unable to get past the first round. That being said, I can also attest to the fact that my years of experience, coupled with my certifications from SolidWorks, have gotten me some really fun jobs.

          What it comes down to is this: do the majority of the jobs you're interested in come with a degree requirement and do you have the wherewithawl do get said degree? If so, do it. I think you'll be in a better place in the end.

          • Re: Advice someone new to drafting...
            Richard Barber

            Society genuflects to degrees; it would yield a higher paying job, so if you have the means and aptitude I vote for going for it. Money and migraines cut my collegiate pursuits (in music) short, and I face an uphill battle finding work.

            Cheers!

            • Re: Advice someone new to drafting...
              Mike Pogue

              An AS degree will be more useful because it is more widely recognized. It also will meet the threshold requirement for many jobs, where CSWP, for instance, is never a threshold requirement.

               

              But, if you are getting an AA, please look at public junior colleges, rather than private technical schools.

               

              • The expense will be much, much less.
              • The quality of the education is likely to be higher
              • You can frequently get a certificate, which is pretty much as good as an AS, and allows you to skip the GE
              • If you plan your classes intelligently, many of them will transfer to a 4 year school--no classes from tech school ever transfer.
              • Re: Advice someone new to drafting...
                Jerry Steiger

                Chris,

                 

                I will agree with Jeff, Richard and Mike. I have seen too many really talented designers held down by the lack of a degree. Managers just aren't good enough or strong enough to see the talent and ignore the edicts from above.

                 

                Find a school that works for you; don't settle for one just because it is closer or has some other attraction if it doesn't feel good in the classroom. Stick with it, even though it may take an interminably long time.

                 

                Jerry S. (who didn't have to put up with all that crap and had a wife who paid his way through school)

                • Re: Advice someone new to drafting...
                  Roland Schwarz

                  People like to bash classroom learning, especially those who have not had the privilege.

                   

                  A degree is what you make of it.  Dedicating time to learning for learning's sake without distraction can be a huge gain, if you take advantage of the opportunity and not waste all your mental energy moaning "when am I going to use this".  Sure, there's things you can't learn in a classroom, but you can learn them even better if you are prepared in advance.

                   

                  Also, a degree sends a clear message to HR and management: "This is DONE!"  It shows you saw a large undertaking through to the end.

                  • Re: Advice someone new to drafting...
                    Tom dunn

                    Just because you know how to make models in solidworks, this does not mean you are draftsman. There is a lot more that just making lines and circles. For my AOS degree in drafting we were required to do math, learned about machining of metals, different cutting, tooling methods, spot facing, milling processes, welding symbols, finish symbols ect. I am old enough that I learned how to draw with pencils and ink pens on vellum and mylar. How to run the ammonia blue print machines. What I light table is used for. I have have worked with people that have taken a three month drafting classes and see some of the things they do. Crossing dimension lines. showing views incorrectly. I could go on and on.   

                    • Re: Advice someone new to drafting...
                      Mike Agan

                      A degree says you're capable of doing any number of engineering/technical jobs (ie Drafter/designer,CMM programmer, machinist, mfg. eng'r.,  etc.)

                       

                      See if your new employer has a employee education reimbursement.

                      • Re: Advice someone new to drafting...
                        Chris Michalski

                        I think all of the above posts have merit.  You don't have to have a degree, but many times management does not know how to judge the skills of someone other than "did they get a degree?"

                        If you will be in a group of draftsmen the manager might have more lattitude to substitute experience.  If you'll be one of only a few then likely the manager won't be qualified to test your skills and fall back to looking for a degree as proof of qualification.

                         

                        Having been a TA at a university for a CAD class I also know that most professors are not proficient in CAD, it is a class that is often relegated to a teacher/professor who doesn't have the tenure to pick and choose what to teach.  So finding a school that is proud of their drafting & design credentials is likely to lead to a better learning experience.  At a minimum make sure the teacher actually uses CAD on a daily basis.

                         

                        Having worked in SW since 2004 I can say that not everyone who knows their way around SW has taken the time to complete numerous certifications.  Likewise, not everyone who can pass the certifications could survive in a drafting and design position.

                          • Re: Advice someone new to drafting...
                            J. Mather

                            Chris Michalski wrote:

                             

                             

                            Having been a TA at a university for a CAD class I also know that most professors are not proficient in CAD, it is a class that is often relegated to a teacher/professor who doesn't have the tenure to pick and choose what to teach.  So finding a school that is proud of their drafting & design credentials is likely to lead to a better learning experience.  At a minimum make sure the teacher actually uses CAD on a daily basis.

                            Ah, an opening for a shameless plug

                            I am a Certified SolidWorks Professional, AutoCAD Certified Professional, Inventor Certified Professional, (not certified in Creo, but not too bad in that program), Certified Journeyman Machinist, Certified Methods-Time Measurement, Certified Open Water Diver....

                            I teach the basics through surface modeling, FEA, Simulation.

                             

                            I started BS degree at age 27, didn't finish till age 35 and it took me another 10 yrs to go "all the way".

                             

                            If you are in Pennsylvania you might check out

                            http://www.pct.edu/catalog/majors/EN.shtml

                            http://www.pct.edu/catalog/majors/BEN.shtml

                            http://www.pct.edu/schools/icet/cad/

                          • Re: Advice someone new to drafting...
                            Scott McFadden

                            Chris,

                            I don't know how old you are, but I can tell you from someone that has 35 years of experience in the Mechanical engineering field, it is hard work sometimes.  When I started my carrier in this field I did go to college for a few years.  Because of financial contraints, I had to stop going to school and start moonlighting.  Doing engineering jobs out of my basement.  When that tapered off after about 10 years I went back to school in 1995.  It took me 10 years (because the company I was working for paid for it), butI earned my ASSME degree in mechanical engineering.  I was 45 years old when I graduated.  I can tell you that experience and the various trainings I have had with this software and others has gotten me to a pretty good place.  Looks great on the resume.  So, don't give up!!!  If you want to go back to school then do it.  Oh, and by the way, while I was going to school in the last 10 year period, I was working three jobs (1 main and 2 side) not to mention raising a family.  So, it can be done.