(en-juh-neer-ing draf-ting) (n.)
The practice of creating technical drawings and plans. Drafters create documents such as blueprints to be used by construction and production workers and manufacturers. Their documents can contain measurements, types of materials and specifications followed during construction. Drafters aim to remove any ambiguity of a design through visual language.
Drafters work with engineers to design tools, hydraulic and electrical components, machines, medical parts, and consumer products. Drafters also work for vehicle manufacturers, engineering companies, utilities companies and architectural firms. The electronic field, such as the cell phone industry, uses drafters to generate new ideas. They may also design the wiring in structures and products. These designs are prototyped with design software and seen from all perspectives. This allows for evaluation before money is spent on production. Advanced drafting positions include drafting supervisor and division manager.
A career in drafting requires two years of college and strong math, science and computer skills. Potential employers prefer individuals with artistic abilities for creating manual drawings. Drafters are often required to spend long hours indoors on the computer, so they must have advanced knowledge of computer assisted design software (CAD).
Drafters may become certified though the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) by passing the Drafter's Certification Test (DCT). Certification is not required, but it is helpful when seeking employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for drafters in the next ten years is around six percent. Creation and development of design software constantly changes the outlook of this career. The ability of drafters to solve complex design problems with CAD software allows them to perform engineering and architectural tasks and increases the need for qualified drafters in the future. The demand for drafters varies from one geographical area to the next, depending on local industry.
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