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CAD Tip 1027

Be curious always! For knowledge will not acquire you; you must acquire it.
–Sudie Back

A CAD designer-tech-drafter-artist should have a thorough knowledge of the subject material that he or she is drawing, and constantly be seeking to add to that knowledge.

Know your subject material

I’m not just talking about the specific thing you’re drawing today.  I’m speaking of the product, idea, development, part, assembly, whatever–and the industry it is a part of.  Expand your concerns beyond the basic, boring stuff.  Why is this being drawn at all?  Who wants it, who sells it, who competes against it and with what?  Who markets it, and how?

Developing this wide-ranging knowledge is crucial for increasing your value in the marketplace of service providers.

The key to increasing your value

For example, if you are creating drawings of houses, you should constantly be endeavoring to increase your knowledge of houses–from the history of houses to the construction and detailing of various styles of houses.  Do you know at least the basics of the various systems that go into a modern home–electrical, structural, mechanical, materials and finishes?  Do you know who the industry leaders are, and how their product differs from what you are drawing?

If you are drawing circuit boards, do you know what the conductors, chips, components, and substrate do, how they are fabricated, how much each part costs, and why they are shaped and arranged the way they are?  Do you know the workings of the larger product that your circuit board will go into?

The CAD professional who draws widgets should know how the widget got to be the way it is; how, where, and by whom it will be manufactured; cost determining factors; how it will be marketed; who is the end user, what are the main problems of the end user, and so on.

There are several great reasons this knowledge is important:

  1. You can draw better drawings when you really understand what you’re drawing.
  2. You can better communicate with clients, managers, bosses, consultants, and various team members.
  3. You can catch mistakes and oversights (be diplomatic about communicating these).
  4. You can fill in missing pieces of information intelligently.
  5. You can get your work done faster and with fewer questions to your team members
  6. You are in a great position to learn more about the product and industry, and be paid for it!
  7. You increase your value in the team and in the marketplace.

You know how to use CAD.  That’s great.  CAD is a wonderful tool, but it’s only a tool.  You become more valuable as a team member by thoroughly knowing the big picture and the details.  Learn on the job and off the clock.  Learn by investing your own time.  Read books and periodicals.  Talk to experts.  Learn the vocabulary.  Don’t worry about getting paid for the time you spend learning— this is an investment in your future.

Keep on CADDing!   🙂

Mark

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