CAD Designer

AutoCAD designers use computer software to create technical drawings. These designs may be surface modeling (2D), 3D images, or solid modeling.  Some designers specialize in particular types of drawing, such as architectural or mechanical. AutoCAD designers, also known as drafters, need to have outstanding technical and computer skills and an artistic eye. The should also be experienced in using

A CAD designer prepares technical drawings and plans used by production and construction workers to build everything from manufactured products such as spacecraft or industrial machinery, to structures such as office buildings or oil and gas pipelines. They use computer-aided drafting (CAD) systems to prepare drawings. These software makes it easy to prepare many variations of a design and allow it to be viewed from angles not usually available with traditional drafting methods. The drawings are stored electronically so that variations, revisions or duplications can be made easily and quickly. 

Although this equipment has become easier to operate, CAD is only a tool. People who produce technical drawings using CAD still function as drafters, and need most of the knowledge of traditional drafters, relating to drafting skills and standards, as well as CAD skills. An experienced drafter prepares detailed drawings based on sketches and specifications prepared by architects, engineers or other designers. Projects differ radically and specialisation in preparing drawings in the various fields is therefore necessary:

Personal Requirements

  • able to transfer concepts onto paper
  • patience and perseverance
  • meticulously accurate
  • enjoy doing detailed work
  • able to concentrate for long periods
  • three-dimensional perception
  • good eye-hand coordination and free-hand drawing skills
  • interest in and flair for computer work
  • stamina - at times standing is required

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Compulsory Subjects: An art portfolio will be required for entry into a design school or college 
Recommended subjects: Art or Engineering and Graphic Design (EGD) or both

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements. Many institutions select students by asking them to submit a portfolio, attend an interview or pass an entrance examination of a practical nature.

Software: The software for CAD is purchased via a license online from various suppliers.

What to Study

Diploma: Draughtsperson training consists of 18 months of academic training, available at most universities of technology, and 18 months of in-service training at an approved firm. To be accepted for training, candidates must first apply for employment at possible employers. The employer usually pays the tuition fees and also pays the learner draughtsman a salary during training. 

Short Courses: Short courses in AutoCAD, Microstation, and other computer design software.


  • architectural and engineering firms
  • such organisations as: Mittal Steel, Eskom, Sasol, Transnet
  • municipalities
  • construction companies
  • metal manufacturing companies
  • machinery construction companies
  • mining companies
  • contract draughting firms
  • government departments, such as : Water Affairs, Agricultural Economics and Marketing, Mineral and Energy Affairs
  • self-employment, doing freelance work or with enough experience and capital, can start own business

Related Occupations

Architecture at TUT

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