Posts in category: ‘Career Development’

Unsolicited advice for the new engineer: GD&T & design software

Learning GD&T is just as important as learning trigonometry.
After spending 20 years designing advanced hardware, I have some unsolicited advice for new engineers. Although you may be a most innovative thinker and may be able to create fantastic widgets, understanding how your part will be manufactured is just as important (perhaps moreso) than that new idea. Even if 2D drawings go away, you will still need to communicate key dimensions for inspection and allowable tolerances for manufacturing.

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Why co-ops are rocket fuel for your early engineering career

What if you had a dollar for every time someone grumbled about a young engineering grad creating impossible to manufacture designs due to lack of practical experience? And what if you also had a dollar for every engineering grad that wished their degree program gave them more job relevant skills and/or some viable experience? You'd probably have something like two times infinity dollars, and I'd be writing your biography for a perfectly reasonable six-figure retainer. If you're in engineering school now, there's no reason to wait for a miracle in education reform. Take matters into your own hands and be part of your school's cooperative education (co-op) engineering program.

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Want an entry-level engineering Job? Learn the right software

When I was 18 years old, I got my first job as an entry-level engineer. I started working for a point-of-purchase manufacturing company that specialized in sheet metal. While working there, I obtained a lot of valuable information about how sheet metal is manufactured, how to design around sheet metal, and how the point-of-purchase industry works. Additionally, the company funded much of my college education, as well as a respectable steady paycheck. I didn’t know a thing about injection molding, vacuum forming, cutting wood, or even sheet metal when I started at that job. I had no idea what an ERP system was, and I sure as hell didn’t know how powder coating worked. I was just some geeky kid who went to a vocational school to learn how to render a dragon and discovered my love for solid modeling and drafting in SolidWorks.

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Leveling up your CAD presentation skills: large projects and design reviews

So perhaps you've mastered the often challenging and sometimes humbling task of presenting your engineering design to others, whether they be your peers, your metric-obsessed, but overall supportive manager, or even an inquisitive buyer. But now replace your design with something much larger, involving dozens or even hundreds of other engineers. And replace your firm, but well-meaning manager with a hard-nosed VIP customer with a contract for millions, an unhealthy penchant for detail, and a severe case of jet lag from hopping over the pond for the third time this month. You're going to need a whole different kind of plan.

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What to consider when presenting your CAD model

I remember the first time I was asked to make a presentation to explain the CAD model of a mechanical system and give a concise yet technical account of its features. I couldn’t help but reply instantly: “But the 3D model is self-explanatory.” My manager at that time thought I was trying to get away from a boring task and I thought that the guy was trying to imprint every last bit of his general project management training on my specific (and maybe unorthodox) design processes.

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Why working for the man makes all the difference in an engineering career

With all the attention on the gig economy these days, you might think the whole world has gone freelance in a collective uprising against evil corporate overlords who ruined everything. Perhaps Starbucks will eventually create an orbital ring of linked coffee shops encircling the planet, and we'll all work from up there, occasionally taking a space elevator to check on our freelancing pets. As a degreed engineer, however, there's huge benefit to working for the man. At least for awhile.

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Does every engineer have a right to a portfolio?

Some of you may be quite proud to display your engineering portfolio right here on GrabCAD. Portfolios serve as a valuable asset to your engineering career, increasing the reach of your design work, making you stand apart from peers in job interviews, and even helping land new clients. Given the obvious benefit, you would think that every engineer should have the right to do the same with their cumulative design work. While the natural reaction is to shout "Hell, yes!" It's not quite so simple depending on where and for whom you work for; the question reveals some subtle complexities.

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