What Are CAD Skills? (With Examples And How To Improve Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 10 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Computer-aided design (CAD) technicians use specialised engineering, information technology and mathematics skills in their daily work tasks. They design machinery, parts, products and buildings using digital blueprints to enhance development efficiency. To pursue a career in CAD design, you can develop your hard and soft skills to maximise your chances of success. In this article, we consider what computer-aided designing skills are, how you can improve them and provide tips to highlight these skills during the job application process.

What are CAD skills?

CAD skills help in the technical development focusing on mechanical and structural design skills while requiring a detailed understanding of engineering processes. CAD technicians often develop specialised computer-aided designing skills using various design systems and software. Apart from the technical skills, other skills CAD technicians use are communication, leadership and collaboration. CAD technicians work on various projects, which may involve strategic planning and project management skills.

Related: Guide: What Is Structural Design In Civil Engineering?

Examples of CAD skills

The following are examples of the technical and soft skills CAD technicians may use in their job functions:

Engineering and design

CAD technicians use their design and engineering skills to create 2D and 3D designs. The engineering skills they use when creating models and mock designs include visualisation, structural planning and project cost estimation. CAD drafters use these skills to develop models and sample designs in 2D and 3D applications.

Mathematics and numeracy

Often, CAD technicians support engineering teams in estimates of resource costs and project budgets, requiring numeracy and mathematical skills. The technicians use a good understanding of maths and numerical operations to use CAD software. They use dimensional measurements and computational maths to determine a project's specifications before inputting the dimensional relations for their models.

Technical skills

CAD technicians are skilled in software applications and a variety of CAD programs. They use these programs and their expert knowledge to convert engineering designs into digital blueprints. A CAD technician's functions are highly technical and require technical skills in software and automation processes used in their drafting processes. Other technical skills that may benefit CAD technicians include experience in programming languages, such as Matlab or C++.

Communication skills

Communications skills are critical for success in a CAD design career, as a CAD technician can work with a range of industry professionals daily. CAD technicians use their communication skills to collaborate with different teams for product development. Their ability to present technical information clearly and concisely to others is critical for success in a CAD design role. Listening to input, disseminating complex information, discussing updates and information and contributing to meetings are a few ways you can expect to use your communication skills in this field.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

Analytical skills

The functions of a CAD technician require them to use CAD development criteria to decide on quality, design viability and productivity. CAD technicians use their analytical skills to assess details, plan goals and identify the best approach to solve complex challenges. Sometimes solving these complex problems requires using new strategies to deliver successful designs. To develop these strategies, CAD technicians analyse information from various CAD projects.

Attention to detail

CAD technicians pay attention to detail to organise and sort files and tasks based on the project's prioritisation when they complete projects in CAD programs. They meet project deadlines by focusing on their prioritised tasks. They focus on details, develop innovative ideas and evaluate multiple strategies when creating their designs.


A mechanical drafting and design career requires regular contributions to diverse projects, making this a dynamic career. Different task specifications require CAD technicians to use various software applications and design functions. The ability to adapt quickly to the different tools they use can significantly improve the career prospects of these professionals. Adaptability and an openness to growth and change can provide you with further opportunities in this profession.

How to improve your CAD skill set

You can use the following steps to improve your CAD skill set to make progress in your career aspirations:

1. Become familiar with a range of CAD software applications

CAD drafters and designers can use various programs to develop designs and create plans. Choose one or two programs you are not familiar with and learn how to use them to expand your technical skills. Some organisations may use different software applications for specific types of design work, and having a solid understanding of multiple programs can make you stand out from other candidates. If you become proficient in multiple design programs, you are better equipped to work on diverse projects, and your employment opportunities may improve.

2. Do volunteer work for open-source projects

One way to gain work experience is working on open-source projects. In online open-source projects, you can provide feedback on others' designs. Submit your own designs to get feedback from other designers. This is a valuable way to improve your use of the design features of online software applications. Open-source projects typically have support forums where you can discuss CAD design principles and techniques with other CAD technicians. Learning from others in this manner can help you enhance your design skills through constructive feedback from your peers.

3. Further your education

Furthering your mechanical engineering and design education can build and enhance your CAD experience and proficiency. If it matches your career goals, you may pursue a degree in mechanical design, engineering or a related field. You can complete certification programs to advance your skills and get additional professional credentials.

4. Learn with online tutorials

You can follow online tutorials to learn how to use various CAD programs. Using these tutorials, you review core concepts, learn how to use the software's features and understand how to apply its complex tools. Online resources and tutorials help you stay updated with new software applications and mechanical design and drafting trends. For example, you may discover a new CAD application you are unfamiliar with. You can seek an online tutorial to become familiar with the software's features and functions to allow you to use it in future design projects.

5. Look for exciting opportunities

Looking for exciting opportunities can help you develop your skills and grow as a professional designer. You can work to improve areas or skills you believe requires improvements by setting a goal and developing an action plan with steps to take. Try to take part in more advanced projects at work or practice a complex technique you are not familiar with. You can also take part in minor projects that may be outside your comfort zone to build your skills and help you become more confident as a design professional.

Related: What Are Career Opportunities And How To Choose The Right One

Show your CAD skills in the work environment

You can use the following tips to show your CAD skill set in your work environment:

  • Be ready to lead. Show your initiative by volunteering to lead team meetings or lead aspects of the project design process. When you show your manager that you like the job and want to be successful and improve your leadership skills, they may give you opportunities to develop your technical and transferable skills.

  • Volunteer for additional projects:.You can volunteer to work on new projects at work. Volunteering for extra work can show your colleagues your initiative and desire to help others to succeed.

  • Provide feedback. It is essential to provide feedback on ideation, collaboration and review meetings. Doing this can show your team members your professional experience and technical qualifications.

  • Request response. Always ask for feedback from your team members and managers. When you get constructive feedback from others and implement them, it can help you understand areas you can improve on for career progression.

Tips to demonstrate your CAD skill set when you apply for a new position

You can use these tips to display your CAD skill set when you apply for a position:

On your resume

You can describe your computer-aided designing skills that are most relevant for the particular position you are applying for in the professional summary of your resume. You can provide an example of an achievement that shows how your computer-aided designing skills match the position's requirements. CAD drafters can include a special section in their resume to list their CAD skill set and experience in software applications programming languages. Highlighting your computer-aided designing skill set can help your prospective employer see your computer-aided designing skills immediately when they read your resume.

In your cover letter

Use your cover letter to describe how you can use your skills and experience to deliver successful design projects. When you write your cover letter, use the first sentences to describe how your computer-aided designing skills match the position's requirements. In the letter's body, you can provide more details about how you successfully used your computer-aided designing skills to complete a design project.

During the job interview

You can highlight your skills in a job interview by providing answers with examples of your successes in your previous workplaces. Consider describing the results you achieved, problems you solved and solutions you created. You can mention how you can deliver the same results to the company. You can highlight your past performance to explain to the interviewer how you completed projects successfully using your computer-aided designing skills. In this manner, you can create a positive impression on the interviewer and improve your chances of getting the job.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned within this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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