Careers In Technology: What Is A Drafting Specialist?

With a good eye for detail and experience with design work, a career as a draft designer may be an employment oppurtunity.

With all the new technological developments over the past several decades, many new employment opportunities have opened up for individuals with technical and design ability. One such career choice is that of a drafting specialist. Here is all you need to know about this exciting career. In a manufacturing environment, drafting personnel play a key role in the overall development of a company's product. This department transforms conceptual ideas into working models from which production works to create the finished product. Drafting involves creating working drawings, plans, circuitry designs, product models and other industry specific documentation.

Drafting has been an important occupation for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Indeed, early blueprints are valued as historical documents. Mechanical engineers using pen and paper have been designing for centuries. But advances in modern technology have had a profound impact on this profession, and today's drafting department bears little resemblance to its predecessor. The drawing tables are gone; replaced by computers with sophisticated drafting programs capable of creating three-dimensional drawings and models that can be quickly transformed into working models.

Despite the changes in technology, however, the basic premise of the job has remained essentially unchanged. Today's drafting specialist works closely with hardware developers to translate complicated concepts into a tangible product. The best way to understand what a drafting specialist does is to examine some of the different types of drawings that he or she is responsible for creating and the different types of businesses where their skills may be utilized.

Computers have become instrumental in the operation of so many of today's products. Every computer operates using a variety of boards and drives, all of which translate code into action. These boards are designed conceptually and include different types of electronic components, cables, and circuitry. Designers build rough models for testing, and using these models, develop the final product. All through the process, drawings must be created showing the various arrangements and listing the components that are needed to build this board.

The drafting specialist creates the drawings and often is responsible for documenting the bills of materials for the boards. Using special software programs, the drafting department illustrates the layout of the board, location of the individual components and ultimate design. These drawings are then used in the creation of these boards. With computer assisted drafting programs, components can be swapped out when necessary and interactions documented.

Drafting specialists' responsibilities vary depending on the nature of the company for which they work. In larger organizations, there may be a team of drafters, while smaller companies may only employ one or two people in this capacity. Normally, a drafting specialist will work closely with design engineers and follow the process from start to finish.

A drafting specialist may have additional responsibilities such as quality or documentation control. Some drafting departments are responsible for a process for making changes in controlled documentation. In some cases, the drafting specialist actually selects some of the components and writes specifications for purchasing. Normally, drafting personnel will have a minimum of an Associate's degree but most companies require a Bachelor's degree. A drafting specialist must be attentive to detail and have an analytical mind. Conceptual design is key and this is something that can be developed on the job.

Salaries for drafting personnel range depending on the amount of experience, education, and level of responsibility. Drafting is also a skill that can be applied to freelance work, with an individual contracting out as an independent agent. The field is changing constantly due to improvements in drafting software and advances in technology. This is a job that offers challenge and experienced drafting specialists can be well compensated.

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