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How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/14/2017 8:16 AM

I enjoy maths and want to pursue a career in engineering. However I've been told that engineers use mostly CAD and don't actually do many calculations themselves and that it is more about understanding the math than doing it yourself. This makes me believe that engineering may not be for me but other related math careers such as finance don't interest me. I am asking how much calculations are done by yourselves on a day to day basis, and what tupe of engineering would most involve doing math?

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#1

Re: How much do engineers use CAD? (career advice)

01/14/2017 8:29 AM
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#2

Re: How much do engineers use CAD? (career advice)

01/14/2017 9:51 AM

Oh, endurance test like cyclic loading and destructive testing cannot be drawn or simply or accurately simulated in CAD or FEA, FDM softwares. With its use, some condition are disregarded in order to find a solution.

You can not even model and consider all factors present in the real world into math equations. There are some differential equations in math that cannot be solved analytically. This is where practical approach like numerical methods and statistics are used.

Statistics itself is not an absolute math that represents the real world. It's a science of guessing.

In engineering you need these things, both theoretical and the actual analysis. Its a tool.

Some says get your hands dirty. True. The question is how do you manage your approach to get down dirty and be successful in every problem given in front of you.

The hard way and costly is by trial and error-(practical/hands on). Knowing the tools and being equipped with it is a covenience(theoretical) -there are many tools some you wont even appreciate but get only what you think is beneficial for you. Some people lost their happiness and life by too much immersion of such, where in some they can never use.

Why not have both if you can?

One more thing most importantly, "common sense dictates".-Ideasmith

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#3

Re: How much do engineers use CAD? (career advice)

01/14/2017 10:37 AM

Mechanical design engineer? Electronics design engineer? Structural engineer?
There are many sorts of engineering, most of which will use CAD to some extent, but it will depend on the area, even within electronics there are areas that won't use it much and areas that will use it a lot.
there are lots of different types of CAD from heat flow analysis, structural, mechanical design and drawing, circuit board layout. Integtrated citcuit design.
Del

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#4

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/14/2017 11:42 AM

"However I've been told that engineers use mostly CAD and don't actually do many calculations themselves and that it is more about understanding the math than doing it yourself."

Who told you that and what planet are they from?

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#5

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/14/2017 11:43 AM

CAD or CADD is nothing more than a tool. No different than a slide rule or calculator.

And a tool is only as good as the person who knows how to use and apply it.

Just keep in mind that CAD/CADD is not a magic wand or a cheater, just a tool.

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#6

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/14/2017 12:10 PM

If one aspires to be a good engineer, they must have a solid background including math and the ability to turn ideas into a workable design. A knowledge of CAD is essential, even though you may use it little.

Depending on the field, you may use very little math or a lot.

Many engineers do not do CAD work but do the calculations to assure that the "thing" being designed will work, and then it gets turned over to a designer who is probably a lot more proficient than the engineer at defining the mechanical aspect of the project.

When I was building wet process equipment I kept four mechanical and two electrical designers busy all the time designing semi-custom equipment.

I didn't even have a CAD terminal.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/14/2017 12:24 PM

That's right, it comes down to understanding engineering fundamentals. I interviewed and had hired engineers, that were too reliant on CAD, but could not do or understand fundamental engineering calculations, such as kinematics as an example on a very basic CAD layout. Their excuse, I did that in college, and we used software specific for kinematics.

this was 20 years ago, and now all standard CAD software can do this. As well as basic FEA and CFD. But I do feel more comfortable with engineers that know and understand the fundamentals.

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#7

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/14/2017 12:18 PM

CAD and other tools are there to do the grunt work, like a useful assistant. They give the engineer the time to think about problems. The engineer has to understand how math applies to the everyday world and solutions to engineering problems. Without that understanding, the tools are useless. IMOH.

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#9

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/14/2017 2:15 PM

I would agree with the previous comments but would add that we are all inherently lazy. If the CAD (or other computer based system) will do it for us, we will use it.

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#10
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Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/14/2017 3:44 PM

I recall a secret satellite program I worked on in 1979.

In one room there were 40 or so draftsmen, each one laboring over a drafting table using T squares and mechanical drawing pencils on D size Vellum.

It was a laborious task when things went well. Then when the engineer came into the room and said he needs to revise that drawing you'd been working on for two days, out comes the electric eraser as the designer then proceeded to erase the last day's work and start over.

Doing a tolerance stack-up for a single piece of the puzzle could take hours.

Now a keystroke will do the erasing in a millisecond. Another keystroke will perform the tolerance study.

No more ammonia smell coming from the blueprint room. "What's a blueprint?

Lazy? Mabye. Smart? You bet it is.

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#12
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Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/15/2017 12:30 AM

"Now a keystroke will do the erasing in a millisecond. Another keystroke will perform the tolerance study."

Right! I think the function that I most appreciate in modern computers, and especially in CAD, is the Multiple Undo! Sooo many times I've been working on a design, when I do a few steps, and suddenly discover that I forgot something, or that one part I just designed interferes with another, so I have to go back a few steps and do it over.

Likewise the ability to save multiple versions of the same basic document is wonderful, for the same reasons.

To the OP: I do most of my design work in CAD, but there is no way I could do that design work without knowing the mathematical principles behind each CAD tool I use. This is especially true regarding trigonometry. I almost never actually calculate a sine or tangent value, except for those in a 3-4-5 right triangle, but without a clear understanding of trig, I wouldn't know where to start.

As I've gotten older, I've pretty much lost the ability to do any but the simplest math in my head, but again, If I didn't know the principles behind the math, I couldn't even do it on the computer.

Finally, and most importantly, know your own strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. It took me well over 50 years to fully realize that different people's brains function in totally different ways. Whatever is easy for you may be extremely difficult for another (similarly intelligent) person. If you are good at thinking in abstract terms, then go for the pure math. I happen to be very strongly visually oriented; I need an image for almost everything. I can't design anything significant without either a sketch, a printed image, or an image on a screen. For me, a mental image works only for very simple things. Similarly, I can't really hear a new word until I've seen it written.

Find out how YOUR brain works, and proceed accordingly.

Happy career!

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#15
In reply to #12

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/15/2017 11:37 AM

On the otherside of it. Some people feared that we will lost the language and skill in writing and drawing. So, my professor instruct us, he would only accept a hand written homework of which comes 17 pages homework. With it are the manual computations and tables. I was a little bit irritated for such inconvenience. I could not believe he can deal reading 15 students 17 pages work with different styles and strokes. I pity him, he choose the hard stuff. But, we were fortunate he does not require us solving the problems using slide rule.

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#16
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Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/15/2017 11:52 AM

"...he would only accept a hand written homework..."

That's entirely understandable. That's the only way he/she can tell whether you did it yourself or simply copied someone else's work. I retired from teaching well over 20 years ago, but I always required my students to show their work, and that was before the internet made it possible for them to find answers done by others.

He/she does not need to read all 17 pages; he/she can just pick one or two critical points somewhere in the latter half of the assignment, and be able to tell pretty accurately whether you did it.

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#13
In reply to #10

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/15/2017 7:53 AM

Now a few keystrokes....

Back in the 90's, Then the managers say to the customers,.. hey we can have that to you by the end of the week... a few keystroke and it's done.

Limited Knowledge in the hands of the wrong people is not good.

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#11

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/14/2017 3:53 PM

Design CAD systems.

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#14

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/15/2017 8:37 AM

Some engineers not only use cad, but are cads - a double whammy. To wit:

cad (n) - A rogue, a bounder. A cad is a man who is aware of the codes of conduct which separate a gentleman from a ruffian, but finds himself unable to quite live up to them. Cads are quite capable of disguising themselves as good chaps for some time, only revealing their true nature in circumstances of particular stress or temptation. Others embrace their caddishness whole-heartedly, continually reread back issues of VIZ magazine for inspiration and delight in behaving in a manner which is, to be quite frank, not cricket. xPres Bill Clinton and his spurious relationship with 'The President's Humidor,' for example.

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#17

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/16/2017 7:35 AM

CAD stands for 'Computer Assisted Design'. Not for 'Career Advice'.

You cannot assign a different meaning to a well established abbreviation. You are on your own on that conversion.

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#18
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Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/16/2017 8:16 AM

Say say, "You cannot assign a different meaning to a well established abbreviation."

I agree.

"Computer-aided design"

Computer-aided design is the use of computer systems to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. Wikipedia

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#19
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Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

01/16/2017 8:34 AM

I believe the subject matter was Career advice on CAD was the intent.

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#20

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

02/16/2017 5:11 AM

As little as possible. Engineers should be delegating CAD to a skilled CAD-Jockey Draughter. It is an Engineer's job to find productive work for other people to carry out in pursuit of providing equipment and facilities that satisfy business goals.

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#21
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Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

02/16/2017 5:21 AM

Depends on the company personnel structure, if it's large enough to pigeon hole and isolate job responsibility to individuals, sure, I agree.

the company's where had I worked, for the most part the engineers would take projects cradle to grave near 100%.. and depending on workload, may require to delegate to a designer, if the designer was freed up. Sometimes do a complete handoff to the designer. It all depend on the situations.

The company where I work now, the projects is almost totally handle by the engineer. On top of CAD/CADD, the work also requires FEA, CFD, and Thermals.

its both interesting and not so much.

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#22

Re: How Much Do Engineers Use CAD? (Career Advice)

07/12/2017 2:18 AM

Well big time. Every civil engineer should know CAD software as well as there are many softwares civil engineer should use you should check out this link http://crbtech.in/civil-training/ for more information on civil engineering.Thank you.

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