Customization or (a.k.a. Implementation)

Hello again, this month I want to start off by telling a story from 2010. After the 2007 Global Financial Crisis hit; creating a downturn in the global Engineering & Construction Industries (along with many others), I found myself with an involuntary year off work.

Of course, I do not like sitting idle and wasting good, valuable time, (that is unless it is a deliberate choice). Therefore, I continued with further R&D on all things CAD related and the AutoMENU CAD System.

After a year off, I was getting a little concerned about when the global economy was going to turn around enough for me to return back to full time paid work.

A close friend suggested that, with my years in the business and extensive CAD knowledge I should go visit some educational institutions that taught CAD within their scheduled curriculum to investigate the idea of becoming a teacher for them. I had to scoff, because of course I knew immediately exactly what was going to happen, since I had seen and worked with many a fresh out of college Cadet Drafter and had always been somewhat surprised on how little they had actually learnt in the 3 years of 3 evening per week, (3 months per module) of CAD classes. Totaling approximately 1,000 hours in the classes alone, plus any home study they had completed.

But my family jumped on me and pressured me to go and do it, stating that I  did not know what I was talking about (how could I?). A bit of a contradiction.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went and had an impromptu meeting with Australia’s’ #1 government funded colleges… TAFE. Initially they seemed rather keen to take me on, but once I hit them up with the question of whether I had to teach their developed and structure curriculum or could I teach it my way. Well, they killed that off faster than Speedy Gonzales. Of course, I knew that question would put an end to it because of my personal experience in the industry.

So, this month I really want to stress the importance of making a clever and informed decision on where and who you are going to invest your valuable time, energy and money into helping teach you all CAD Design and Drafting techniques: the correct way!

Of course, such a contentious topic is all a matter of personal perception. Your view verses my view and everyone else’s view. No doubt it is a minefield, but one that will pay off both in your ROI and becoming a competent, professional 2D & 3D CAD Designer. After all being a Designer is the real job description after all (not fixing CAD issues half of your days).

That really is the role of the assigned CAD Manager no matter their level of skill, knowledge, years and/or experience, running with their strategy is far better than an office of CAD Designers all doing whatever they want. That my friend is the road to pure chaos, guaranteed! You know, I have said it before so I will say it again, who wants to work in a chaotic office?

Therefor, (based on what I just said above), I can only provide you with my ideas of how to find that elusive competent, professional, teacher and here is the first important tip. Do not focus on the institutions only. They are a business, there to make money. So, whilst they might have the very best intentions and totally believe they have your #1 interests in mind, from my own personal experience is, they do not! Because if I can (and have several times) teach the right mind not only how to use 2D and 3D CAD environments but given my students and comprehensive insight in the job of a Designer, where I then secured them their first jobs in the industry, they still work in today.

What are these institutions doing? I will tell you this. Making their own career out of it. There is no money to be made teaching you, what I can teach in only 2 weeks (unless the 1000’s of dollars of the two weeks).

I hope this statement hits you right where it counts because it needs to. This has got to be your front of mind focus when searching and deciding who you are going to trust with your whole career future.


How do you find this teacher? This is my best advice.

  1. Experience is gold. No one and I do mean no one can learn these systems and processes in a short amount of time to a degree where they can then teach their own students how to get enough knowledge to start-up quickly. A good teacher has done all the hard work, to a point where they can now see just how simple and uncomplex (relatively speaking) these CAD systems and processes really are. This is what I see in the industry. They think it is all very complex, therefore, it is (for them). Please don’t get me wrong, the job of a CAD Designer/Technicians are equal to paralegals and nurses. A CAD Designer/Technician are the qualified professional’s right-hand man.
  2. Do not waste time watching tutorial videos where there is no sound, (a big red flag). And where the instructor just seems like he/she does not really know want they are doing. Rely on, listen to your gut instinct please.
  3. If you see any contradictions from different resources, question both of them, research them. Maybe you have just discovered you have invested in the wrong resource despite your best efforts to find a true professional.
  4. Read, research the Danning-Kruger Effect and apply this understanding to your final choice before you hand over any money.
  5. My experience, the best CAD people are usually very serious and intense. They are probably autistic. But they do need to be highly functioning autistic types though. Such types see everything (that is Autism) and often have memories like elephants.
  6. Your new teacher should be more focused on teaching you the philosophy of these CAD systems and industry rather than Tip & Tricks. There are many good Tip & Trick resources out there to take care of that. Without a deep leaning of the philosophy of them, you could find the systems complex and confusing and become very overwhelmed and disillusioned.

As a final note here. In my 43 plus years’ experience (with 23 plus in the CAD realm), I have seen far more bad teaching, systems, and processes than good. Be aware of this and wade though the minefield with all the care and intelligence you can muster. Hopefully you will find your good teacher and they will help set your career on the right path, not the wrong one.

I hope this article will help you become one of the rare individuals who are Part of the Solution rather than Part of the Problem the industry suffers from.


Appears in these Categories