- What is Design Drafting Technology?
- Design Drafting Technology prepares students for careers in industry as designers and drafters. Students learn how to make drawings, plans, and CAD models that will be used to build or manufacture the final product. Engineers, architects, and many other professions and industries use the skills and techniques taught in drafting.
- What does the job outlook look like?
- The job outlook for design/drafting technicians is generally strong. Computer-assisted design techniques have reduced the number of routine tasks and allowed operators to take on additional analysis duties previously done by others. The number of industries and fields in which CAD is finding uses continues to expand as does the uses of technical drawings and models in the production process. Solid models produced using CAD are being used by automated machines on the production floor and by marketing professionals for advertising and product literature purposes. Students who gain a strong understanding of the fundamentals and then keep abreast of the latest technology will be best prepared to progress in their careers.
- What's so exciting about this field?
- The technology in this field is always changing, always moving forward. The fundamentals of technical drawing are constant, but the tools used to produce technical drawings and models change almost daily. Perhaps no other field has and is benefiting so greatly from the continuous and synergistic advances in computer hardware, software, display, and output technology as is the field of design drafting technology. Drafting is also a great field because of the opportunities it offers students. What other field allows you to complete a degree or certificate program in two years or less, get a good paying job, make immediate and meaningful contributions to your company/industry, and continue your education while be paying paid for the valuable experience you are gaining?
- Why should I consider studying Design Drafting Technology?
- For starters, many different industry and professions use the skills and tools taught in drafting technology curriculum. Drafting courses teach students how to communicate in the language of industry. The industry might be transportation, life science, defense, electronics, construction or whatever; the fundamental principals of drafting are used in varying degrees to communicate the specifications of the product or processes in numerous industries. Behind every product, building, or process there are a myriad of technical drawings and models that were created using the techniques and principles that are taught in drafting courses! Equally impressive and diverse are the professions that utilize the skills, software, and techniques taught in drafting technology. Architects, engineers, scientists, designers, drafters, operators, technicians, plant managers, sales persons, and even criminal justice professionals use products or principles of drafting technology to do their respective jobs. The diversity of industries and professions that utilize the skills taught in this major means students have a great deal of flexibility in the type of work they can do, the location they can do that work, and the payment methods and work schedules they can arrange. The opportunity to get paid well for work experience while continuing one's education at the bachelors or masters level is also attractive. More people would consider studying drafting technology if they knew about all the diverse and flexible opportunities available.
- Tell me more... What's it like studying this field in college?
The Subject Matter.
Designers and drafters are the important link between a great idea and a tangible product, building, process, or service. They learn the language necessary to communicate great ideas into reality. Behind all of the products and services that have improved our standard of living are numerous technical drawings created by professionals skilled in drafting fundamentals. Students of drafting technology study everything from idea generation through sketching, to product specification through working and assembly drawings, to product realization through construction and manufacturing processes and materials. Solid modeling software is also becoming increasingly important because the models created can be seen, analyzed, and simulated without actually being built. The CAD drawings and models created in the design phase of the project are now often used to drive the automated equipment during the actual construction.
Most courses are generally taught using a lecture, demonstration, and assignment format. An instructor might begin by introducing a new concept through a lecture and demonstration, and then assign students a drawing assignment to tests, develop, and reinforce the concept presented. Final projects are also given to allow students to demonstrate proficiency of the course material using a project of their choosing as the vehicle. Final projects and other student work may be incorporated into a portfolio that is useful during job interviews. The lecture and laboratory assignment are usually given in a classroom that is equipped with lecture equipment (whiteboards, data projectors, screens, etc.) and lab equipment (computer workstations, printers, drawing boards, etc.). In some cases lecture and lab activities are carried out in different classrooms. Drafting boards are still used to teach fundamental principles such as sketching and projection principles at some institutions, though boards are being replaced by computer workstations.
Students are typically challenged when trying to visualize and describe objects in three-dimensions. The ability to visualize or see an object in three dimensions is a skill that must be learned by most students it does not come naturally. Developing these visualization skills can be challenging for students because the concepts are somewhat abstract (they are developed in the minds eye).
Students - who are not familiar with computers face is learning a CAD software package while, at the same time, learning the basics of computer operating systems.
The Academic Life Style
The academic lifestyle of students pursuing degrees in drafting technology is driven by the two major student populations: recent high school graduates, and people who are returning to school to be re-trained for a new profession. Recent high school graduates usually take coursework during the day with students whose age and interests more resemble their own. Evening courses are typically taken by adults who are working a full-time job during the day. It may be necessary for students to take course at times that are not convenient to them if the school or program is small in number and they want to finish the program quickly.