So, you want to be a CAD professional—or you’ve started out on your journey to become one. Congratulations! The road ahead is challenging and extremely rewarding.
There are plenty of resources out there, both formal and self-directed, that can help you learn the skills you need to succeed, assess your career options, and push you to become a better CAD professional.
To help you start out on the right foot, we’ve collected some beginning CAD resources that you’re sure to find useful, whether you’re considering a CAD career or already beginning one.
Getting Started with Software
There are a ton of different CAD packages out there to learn. Which ones you pursue will depend on the CAD discipline you’re pursuing (engineering, architecture, manufacturing, etc.). However, there is plenty of crossover—and learning a software package well or adding another to your repertoire can boost your career prospects.
Get started with these beginner tutorials:
- Digital Tutors: Getting Started Tutorials — Digital Tutors is a fantastic resource on everything CAD. Their beginner course section offers introductory videos to four popular CAD packages: Revit, Inventor, SolidWorks and Rhino.
- Lynda.com: CAD Training Tutorials — Lynda.com is a paid video training site that has an extensive CAD training collection on a variety of software packages. You’ll find lessons for exactly the task you need to perform in CAD, allowing you to build up your knowledge piece by piece.
- SketchUp: A 3D Toolbox — Created by Cameron Harris and distributed by the Harwood Podcast Network, this collection of more than 60 videos provides a hands-on introduction to this powerful software that you can’t miss. Make sure you check out episode 16 for a great demonstration of using a 3D mouse in SketchUp!
News and Trends
Every CAD professional can benefit from staying on top of the latest CAD news, developments and trends. Those just starting out can find in industry publications some of the best insights and advice to fuel their careers. Here are some of our favorites:
- Cadalyst — Cadalyst is a one-stop shop for everything CAD related, including news, CAD management tips, and information on hardware and software.
- Desktop Engineering — Engineers go to this publication for industry information on design, prototyping and manufacturing.
- Design News — This website has a wealth of news and views on the latest design developments and trends.
- Design and Motion — With a focus on Autodesk, the guys at Design and Motion will keep you up to speed with relevant tutorials, product release news and valuable expert interviews.
- Develop3D — Unleash your inner product designer with this magazine’s articles on everything from manufacturing and sustainability to 3D printing and software reviews.
- 3DTotal — Are you interested in 3D modeling and rendering? 3DTotal is the place to be, with textures, tutorials and design galleries.
- Architosh — Using an iOS machine to design in CAD? Architosh has you covered, with tons of content on CAD and 3D design for Macs.
- 3D World — Creative Bloq’s 3D World Magazine has everything you need to know about rendering, modeling and 3D art, all in one attractive online and print package.
- Product Design & Development — Design engineering news is at your fingertips with this online resource.
Once you get your feet wet with the basics of one or more CAD software packages, the education doesn’t end. CAD veterans got where they are today by learning every day. Try out these links to keep up a steady stream of CAD content and advice.
- The CAD Setter Out’s Top 5 CAD Forums — The CAD Setter Out dishes up his top five picks for CAD communities that will keep you engaged and informed long after you’re done with an article or tutorial.
- 3Dconnexion CAD Tips and Tricks — Every month, we publish CAD links worth your time for beginners and veterans alike. Subscribe to our blog and don’t miss an update.
Are you just getting started in CAD? How are you building your skill set? What types of information would you like to know? Let us know in the comments and we just might write about it!
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