Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: CAD certification

  1. #1

    CAD certification

    Hi all;

    Wondering your thoughts on getting CAD certified - I'm looking for work in zoning/housing/neighborhood development (but currently working part time in transportation for lack of anything else.)

    I see a lot of requirements or preference for CAD knowledge in job posts; I have GIS experience and I'm pretty handy with the basics of SketchUp, but not having a design background I've never really touched CAD except to import some things into GIS.

    I found a fairly inexpensive 3 class/9-credit out CAD certification program at a local community college - do you think this would be a good move to make? I don't use it in my current position, but hoping to break out into my preferred sub-fields.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    America's Happiest City
    Posts
    4,905
    I don't think pay for a certificate is worth it in imo. You get the most bang to learn a program through a) a starter course to get you familar with the program and b) OJT (on the job training). What does a certificate tell you or make you? CAD is such a vast program that you essentially have to keep up with year in and year out and there are always issues even the best "cad" person has no clue to remedy.

    I guess in the end, no person can be a "cad" expert (even with a certificate). To me, the best place to learn is really on the job or buying the program and learning it on your own time.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,789
    I learned most of my CAD work on the job (5 years AutoCAD and now starting Microstation). Unless you are working in some design aspects of planning, I don't think a CAD certification course will really help you. Again, alot of CAD comes from learning on the job, whether its programming, working with LSP files, or how to manually calibrate a plotter. Not all CAD courses are the same. Some don't teach Autodesk or Microstation, especially if the instructor is learning towards industrial design or manufacturing. The instructor might have a preference for using menus and buttons. I prefer using the command prompt and a four button mouse with a built-in trackball (tips I picked up from a landscape architect).

    I have used CAD occassionally with GIS but it is really just more editing work, since CAD is often more accurate with linework. I also use CAD to clean up dwg and dxf files prior to importing the linework into GIS. If we don't have digital files, I might scan the document, scale it in AutoCAD, trace the required linework, and then drop it into GIS (I know there are more sophisticated methods that allows the linework to come into GIS directly from PDFs).

    I'm not sure how CAD, regardless of certification, really helps with zoning, housing, or neighborhood development. A CAD certification course at a community college is more likely to aid in becoming a general draftsman, working for engineers, public works, architects, or construction. It sounds like you want to use CAD for a very narrowly defined role, and I need more clarification as to your goals for this program.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    May 2010
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    37
    I've seen ads desiring knowledge of CAD, or Adobe Illustrator, or PhotoShop, or web design, so am taking some adult ed courses to get basic understanding. Per discussion on this board, it doesn't appear certification in any particular software is highly marketable.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,789
    I would take a class or two and spend more time preparing a good portfolio from the projects in each. Keep in mind if you are going after some design-heavy jobs you will be competing against workers with much more architecture, landscape architecture training. I provide portfolio review advice on here and land8lounge.com (the portfolios on that site might give you some idea of what you might be up against, even for design-heavy planning jobs).

    I'm not trying to discourage you, but again you can't just take a course or earn a certification and expect land you a job requiring those skills, especially in any economy. It's not going to make you marketable if you cant demonstrate how it is applied to typical projects relevant to the specific to what you are applying for. See previous posts.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I learned most of my CAD work on the job.....

    I'm not sure how CAD, regardless of certification, really helps with zoning, housing, or neighborhood development.

    Yeah - my issue is just getting into a [full time] job in the first place - I'm confident in my computer skills that I know I could pick it up pretty quick; I've just seen so many job posts that have cad requirements lately...

    Thanks to all for your input!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,789
    If you are convinced that CAD is the way to go, again, a CAD course couldn't hurt, although you are still going to need to devote more time to (1) building and (2) maintaining a design portfolio. The portfolio can include a mixture of materials: writing samples, sketches, photography, maybe some line work. Many of the jobs you are interested in may not be strictly drafting jobs but probably contain some level of creativity, which you will need to demonstrate both in the portfolio and in the interview.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    May 2010
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I would take a class or two and spend more time preparing a good portfolio from the projects in each. Keep in mind if you are going after some design-heavy jobs you will be competing against workers with much more architecture, landscape architecture training. I provide portfolio review advice on here and land8lounge.com (the portfolios on that site might give you some idea of what you might be up against, even for design-heavy planning jobs).

    I'm not trying to discourage you, but again you can't just take a course or earn a certification and expect land you a job requiring those skills, especially in any economy. It's not going to make you marketable if you cant demonstrate how it is applied to typical projects relevant to the specific to what you are applying for. See previous posts.
    Sounds good. People have told me that I'll learn GIS, Adobe and CAD on the job, but it hasn't happened in 3 years. I'm not looking for something heavy in design, but think having some familiarity is helpful.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,789
    You want to get ahead, teach yourself. Don't wait for things to magically drop in your lap. I learned GIS in college spending several months fooling around with the computer in the lab. I think I learned more that way than the one GIS course they offered (which was a joke).
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. GIS classes and certification
    Information Technology
    Replies: 3
    Last post: 21 Nov 2008, 3:07 PM
  2. Replies: 3
    Last post: 06 May 2008, 2:55 PM
  3. LEED certification
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 7
    Last post: 28 Dec 2007, 9:03 AM
  4. CURP certification?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 12
    Last post: 24 Jul 2007, 8:23 AM
  5. AICP Certification...
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 1
    Last post: 20 Jan 2004, 1:59 PM