As in any other specialization, for CAD certification there are plenty of options when studying additional studies, from the oldest and most traditional universities, to the newest and most innovative institutes. But there are, without a doubt, parameters that we cannot put aside when it comes to choosing the best option when it comes to certification in the use of CAD.
Because, while it is true that the ingenuity of each person largely determines their job success, it is also true that the academic tools one receives will be decisive. Below we present a set of considerations that must be taken into account when choosing the right place to conduct CAD studies.
What is the CAD?
The first thing to know is what the CAD program is, what its application is and the labor fields in which it is used. Basically, it is a computer program that allows you to design any two-dimensional or three-dimensional object.
CAD stands for Computer-Aided Design (computer-aided design), this software allows the design of parts (prototype), through 2D and 3D modeling that will then be elaborated (manufactured) and included in the market of the construction, mechanical equipment and design tools, among many other uses.
Architects, engineers, designers and animators, are some of the professionals for whom this program is of vital help. CAD tools allow you to conceive and capture the characteristics of an element, either for a design with specific characteristics or for the preparation of an original object.
The CAD revolution
Before the appearance of AutoCAD design software in 1999 – when Autodesk launched it to the market – all architectural and engineering designs were made 100% by hand, from a screw to a skyscraper. This way of working in addition to requiring a large investment of time, was not without errors, although the calculations were millimetric and checked again and again, the development of structures could take weeks.
The work rooms were large and they had large drawing tables where architects, engineers and designers drew their ideas on blueprints (large sheets of paper), using pencils, rulers, erasers, a firm pulse and much dedication.
The massification of computers was as revolutionary in the field of offices with the Word program, as in the field of design with AutoCAD software. The offices with a battery of giant tables disappeared and gave way to computers.
With the CAD the design time was reduced to levels that were previously impossible to imagine, the margin of error became null, that is, there are no calculation errors, and additionally, it is possible to experiment several versions before deciding which model to choose.
The revolution of this program in the world of design was radical. CAD users have templates, figures, molds, previous designs and even a library at hand, in which to search for reference images of previously executed models.
These libraries are an information bank where designs are already finished and can be personal, business and freely accessible, according to the style of each professional or company. In general, designers often review and group those images that are more faithful to their style or to the branch in which they specialize, to serve as a database for future work.
For their part, companies usually do the same and this information is available to staff to help with new personal or collaborative projects. Here they are saved from small pieces, which are necessary for the development of new projects, to finished designs. The institutions that offer CAD certification studies make available to their students the necessary software for the execution of this program and a CAD library.
Different levels of certification
As if it were a question of learning a new language, there is a basic, intermediate and advanced level when looking for a CAD certification and this will be determined by previous knowledge about this program.
There are studies that are planned in the long term, which begin with a basic education and progress is made as the different educational levels are exceeded until reaching the higher goal, which already simulates field work at a competitive work level.
Similarly, there are shorter courses in duration, but these are usually more specific. They usually focus on teaching very specific objectives. These serve to receive a basic or intensive knowledge on a given topic on which you want to further expand the knowledge.
Why learn CAD?
There is no other competitive way to design today than through a computerized program. People who work by hand are artists with an innate quality; however, that does not make them competitive. Having a CAD certificate is a guarantee that you are able to produce in the workplace equally with the rest of designers, architects and engineers.
It is not just about helping to create, since an important aspect of this program is that it allows to show other people, mainly to potential clients, in a clear and really three-dimensional way, true images of the final result of the work, which It would be an incomplete experience if you see the design on a plane.
The field of work when you have a CAD certification is very wide. The industry requires creative, ingenious and qualified designers to innovate, develop and create from a screw, an engine, a skyscraper, a bridge, to a spaceship, the universe is the limit.
Online courses vs. Face-to-face courses
Since the appearance of the internet, the use of computers in most trades and professions, if not all, has become the norm. Not only for the globalization of the information, the speed in the execution of the works, but also for the massification of the teaching.
That is why distance studies, through the web, are common, practical and in great demand, since they allow access to education in remote places around the planet which are reached with a click.
Among the main advantages of these online studies is access to institutions far from our residence. However, you should have a good equipment at home and an optimal internet connection. And you should never ignore the issue of the schedule, in addition to having an email and an online payment method at hand.
If you choose to study at a distance, you must also have your own CAD software, such as SolidFace design and modeling software, although it is very likely that this software is suggested or even sold by the same institution that offers the course, since that there should be uniformity when teaching students online.
It is crucial to possess or have access to a workstation where Computer Aided Design is feasible. This means, a computer or laptop of great power, since these programs demand great capacity. They also require a good internet connection, with access to a broadband that has a download capacity of not less than 10 Mbps, for optimal performance.
As for face-to-face education, it is the traditional way of doing it. Be able to go to the classroom, use the equipment and accessories for CAD, programs and libraries of the institute; interact with classmates and have first-hand teacher instructions, still relevant to some students.
In fact, when online courses are offered, emphasis is placed on ‘contact’ with both teachers and other classmates, virtually and the provision to live chats to clarify doubts and exchanges of opinions and experiences.
What does the future hold for us after CAD?
The race towards the sharpness of the images and the precision of calculation is vertiginous. There is a growing demand from the consumer to see the increasingly realistic design ideas embodied. No doubt there are new studies and programs that seek to displace Computer Aided Design from the market, but the fact is that AutoCAD has been leading the market for 20 years, since it revolutionized the design in 1999 and has continued to improve and update its version every more time
However, dozens of free alternative AutoCAD programs are available on the market. Despite this, what the person seeking CAD certification really pays is the knowledge of how to handle it optimally and the recognition that they can do it. Throughout these two decades of CAD life, there have been as many programs as there are needs in the market, that is, there are dozens of software, one for each requirement.
We find CAD programs for facades, industrial engineering parts, mechanical engineering equipment and even aerospace. Each design need achieves its own specialized program, in addition to the more general or broad ones.
How much does a CAD certification cost?
Most of the institutions that offer certification studies present different payment plans, in order to offer a greater amount of options to the students. The course can be paid in full or in a fractional way, with pre-set fees. Either option is agreed between the parties before starting the classes.
There are long-term and shorter certificates, this time will define the cost. However, it also influences the total amount to be paid, the reputation of the institute and the academic burden. On average a certified CAD course can be quoted in the market around 3 thousand dollars.
Choosing the best certification for me
The first step in deciding which course to choose is, without a doubt, the research process. It is necessary to review the actual options according to the requirements, capacity and disposition of each individual.
Having clear that the decision is absolutely personal, we recommend you to inquire on the web, since there the options are unlimited. Group, face-to-face, online, private classes are obtained, preparatory courses for an exam, evaluative tests to determine your level of knowledge and even certification exams that allow you to opt directly for a diploma.
The important thing in these cases is that you review the most visited pages and carefully read the options presented. Locate subject matter experts and review user comments on the respective course with CAD certification.
Through the website you can request registration forms, buy textbooks, purchase the software of your choice, request exams and pay for courses. Reimbursement policies should be carefully reviewed, if there are any read agreements before accepting the conditions for certification.