Career management for CAD types

Feb 25, 2019 | Hot Topics

I absolutely love what Matt Lombard just wrote in his latest blog, https://dezignstuff.com/its-better-to-have-multiple-tools-available/. His main thesis is this:

… [T]here also comes a point where you need to diversify a little. That point has to come before you need it, because you can’t become proficient in a new CAD system with a new way of working overnight …When change happens, there are two ways you can approach that change: Let someone else determine what you’re going to do next, or Make that decision yourself. As for me, I’d like to make that decision.

Me too!

Please click over to Dezignstuff and read Matt’s whole post — then come back, because I’d like to add to his main point: that you need to be in control of your career. Yes, you have a 40- or 50-hour a week job, a family and interests outside of work. You also have a responsibility to yourself to ensure that your skills will take wherever you want to go next.

Just admitting to yourself that there is a “next” is scary and acting on that … yikes. But you need to do it. Not because the robots are coming for your job (I don’t think they are) or because you might loose the contest for that new assignment, but because upskilling is 100% under your control and the rest isn’t. If you learn something new and useful, that’s a transferrable skill that will help you market yourself under lots of unforeseen conditions.

Matt’s other point is that being a noob (newbie — noo-b) at anything is hard, especially if you’re coming from being an expert in something else. So don’t do that under pressure. Tackle the new thing while still exploiting your expertise in the other CAD tool. Your brain is big enough to do both — and by learning something else, you show your current employer that you’re a go-getter to be reckoned with. You might even be able to advise on whether an overall switch is warranted — and then you’d be the ninja again.

How do you do grow to more than one toolkit? Matt’s right: there are free or evaluation versions of just about every CAD software out there. If you want more formal training, check out a vocational school, online training or contact a VAR for suggestions. Some of these may cost money but remember, you’re investing in yourself and your career. That’s money well spent.

Now go back and read Matt’s article again and think about your next career step.

[BTW, this concept applies to so much more than CAD, but you know that, right?]