8 Welder Skills: With Job Responsibilities And Examples
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 3 July 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.
Welders are professionals with a knowledge of the fabrication process and proficiency in using welding equipment. Their work involves welding or joining metal or thermoplastic materials together for various industrial, construction and manufacturing applications. By learning about the specific skills necessary to undertake welding work, you can make an informed decision about pursuing a career in this field. In this article, we define welder skills, provide some examples of these skills and outline the job responsibilities of a welder.
What Are Welder Skills?
Welder skills traits and abilities that help welders to join or repair metal or thermoplastic parts. There is a high demand for experienced welders in the automotive, industrial, construction and manufacturing sectors. Some of these welders may be unskilled employees without specialised training in welding, while others are skilled professionals who have undergone formal welding training and apprenticeships.
Unskilled welders generally work under skilled welders, follow their directions and perform basic or repetitive tasks that do not require specialised knowledge. Skilled welders can work independently and are responsible for managing, maintaining and repairing tools, equipment and structures. They know how to use project documents and blueprints for work guidance. Most welders have a sound understanding of how metals and thermoplastics react to different welding techniques. Using their expertise, they can determine which welding technique is suitable for a particular purpose, plan layouts, take measurements and test welded surfaces.
Examples Of Welder Skills
Here are some examples of skills that welders use to become successful in their professional careers:
1. Communication and teamwork skills
Welding projects are generally a part of bigger work projects. So, even when you work on smaller, individual workpieces, it is necessary for you to consider how the welding works fit into the bigger scheme. You require good coordination and collaboration with other people working on the projects. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are also crucial for welders.
With these skills, you can receive work orders and get informed about job specifications. You can discuss material and project requirements with clients, engage in project planning and assign work to the unskilled welders working under you. You can also share day-to-day project information and concerns with co-workers, supervisors, other personnel on the job site and clients. Communication skills can also help you answer questions from team members and clients.
2. Mathematical skills
Good mathematical skills are essential for welders, as the job requires you to calculate accurate dimensions for welding and trimming objects. It is necessary to be precise to ensure that the welded items and surfaces are free of defects, sufficiently strong, able to withstand pressure and safe for public use. You also need mathematical knowledge to draw exact sketches, read blueprints and comprehend 2D and 3D diagrams. Being able to apply spatial reasoning is also a requirement in welding work. Furthermore, you can use your mathematical skills to calculate project estimates, stocktaking measures and project invoices.
3. Physical capabilities
Welding work can be physically exhausting, and being fit is essential if you want to work in this field long term. You require good stamina to endure challenging workplace and weather conditions. For instance, you could work in cramped or poorly ventilated areas. You could work in risky places at great heights or work out in the open and face constant exposure to rain, snow, sun or wind. You might need a lot of strength to lift, shift and carry heavy objects.
The work also involves standing in the same place for long periods and bending or twisting to reach different positions to get the welding done. You require good physical mobility, flexibility and manual dexterity for that. Additionally, it helps to have steady hands, a firm grip, good hand-eye coordination and a good vision for working with welding tools and equipment.
4. Attention to detail
As a welder, you can benefit from developing the ability to pay close attention to your surroundings and notice even seemingly unimportant details. You might work in dangerous conditions where staying alert can help you avoid accidents and injuries. It is a sound work practice to check that the workpieces are free of rust and grease and that the welding equipment is in proper working condition before you use it. You also want to make sure that you put on safety glasses, heat-resistant gloves and work boots.
When you start the welding work, it is advisable to follow welding best practices and established guidelines to ensure strong joints. Many welding projects, especially those involving ships, aeroplanes and bridges, require precision work and frequent inspection of welded materials to ensure that there can be no risks that might endanger the public.
5. Administrative skills
Developing administrative skills could help you in your career as a welder. Aside from the actual welding work, you may be required to perform various administrative tasks. For example, you might assist with planning, organising and managing different projects. You could be in charge of documenting the work, managing orders and ensuring that the inventory is well-stocked. To be effective in such work, you require good analytical skills and experience with Enterprise Resource Planning software and Transmission Control Protocol software.
As a welder, you can benefit from having good design, visualisation, mechanical and time management skills. It is necessary to be able to work independently without requiring constant supervision. You need project management skills to map and manage your work schedule. Since you may work directly with clients, it can also help if you have good customer service skills.
6. Welding skills
It is essential for skilled welders to be proficient in various regular and specialised welding methods. You can use heat treating and bonding for different components. You may undertake air carbon arc gouging, resistance welding and shielded metal arc welding. You can complete fabrication tasks with simple soldering, beveling, brazing, grinding and torch-cutting. This requires an in-depth knowledge of metallurgy and thermoplastics.
Whether you work with metals or plastics, it is essential to know how to feed materials through the equipment and about the properties of the materials. For example, to succeed at metal welding and create strong joints, it is necessary to know how different metals react to heat and to each other. You require experience with welding in curved, flat, overhead and vertical positions. It can also help to understand production processes, expenses, quality control, manufacturing techniques and the distribution of finished goods.
7. Technological and tool-handling skills
Since welders can expect to perform varying tasks depending on the project requirements, it is necessary to be technologically proficient and have a working knowledge of a wide range of tools. Your work can require you to use these to assemble and clamp broken or disparate components and meld them together by soldering along their joints. You may operate lifting and control devices, set up machine tools and dismantle these after you finish the project. You may set up fixtures and test for air leaks in coils. You may carry out air carbon arc gouging.
You need working experience with hand tools, brazing torches, metal inert gas (MIG) welding guns, tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding guns, plasma cutters, fillet gauges, butt weld gauges, soldering irons, arc equipment, grinders and metal finishers. It is essential to know how to select the right tool or equipment for each particular task. By having the inclination and the ability to learn new welding skills and practices, you can keep up with industry requirements and remain employable. For example, robotic welding equipment is widely used in the industry, and knowing how to operate it can get you many job offers.
8. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
If the regular welding methods do not work for certain jobs, you can apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to find alternative solutions. You can assess the strengths and weaknesses of these methods to select an appropriate approach to the issue. You can monitor the work to ensure it progresses as per plan and take corrective action quickly when necessary.
Job Responsibilities Of A Welder
The job responsibilities of a welder may vary according to the project demands. Some of their general work tasks are:
Reviewing and interpreting project designs, drawings and blueprints
Taking exact measurements and planning layouts
Determining which welding technique is suitable for each job situation
Operating blow torches, arcs and other welding equipment so that you can fuse various metals or thermoplastics
Checking the welding machinery, electrical equipment and manual tools to ensure that they are in proper working order.
Staying vigilant while carrying out various welding processes to ensure the heat remains at an appropriate temperature and does not adversely affect the materials they are welding together
Ensuring compliance with the established industry specifications and safety standards for the welding work
Welding small and large parts in various ground level, vertical and elevated positions
Assessing the quality of the welded parts, surfaces and structures to ensure they are free of defects
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