Additive manufacturing has been in a constant state of growth since its creation nearly thirty years ago. With this state of expansion, more jobs within additive manufacturing have been created across various industries like automotive, aerospace, medical, and consumer goods.
Even independent 3D printing bureaus and service companies have been cropping up across the world. Global 3D printing products and markets are expected to grow roughly by 17 percent year over year.
The only real stumbling block to this blossoming establishment is where to start or if there are any tools needed to excel once in the job. Here are some ways you can prepare yourself for a career in additive manufacturing.
Take the Right Courses
There are many additive manufacturing positions available that run the gamut from high specialization in a particular industry like research and developer, to software centric occupations like a CAD designer which has many applications within additive manufacturing.
This wide scale use of additive manufacturing, creation of new types of jobs, and even a push to include additive manufacturing as part of high school or university curriculums has opened up new opportunities for prospective individuals to pursue.
Having the educational background and degree to back you up will easily pay for itself once you know what you are doing. If you are a student going into college or currently pursuing a degree, identifying your goal or aspiration will dictate the types of courses you will take.
There are many universities that not only offer additive manufacturing programs but 3D printing university degrees. These same universities also have access to state of the art 3D printing facilities and labs. Working within these institutions can get you in touch with professionals who might be doing the job you might want to have in the future.
Attend Additive Manufacturing Conferences and Events
Another valuable way to prepare yourself for a career in additive manufacturing is by attending events like Rapid, AMUG, and Formnext. From stunning 3D printed exhibits built by giants in the manufacturing world like Stratasys, these events are fantastic places to stay on the pulse of the latest developments, problems, and solutions in the manufacturing world.
These same events can be attended either in person or virtually, along with being held in places all over the world. Even if you were unable to attend these large yearly events, certain universities, companies, and technology enthusiasts hold their own independent conferences and meetups. Our very own GrabCAD community is nearing 10,000,000 members who all have varying levels of expertise across every manufacturing discipline.
It is also immensely valuable to meet and interact with these industry experts, business owners, and technology providers who all want to move additive manufacturing forward.
Awareness of the Latest 3D Printing Software
Regardless if you are preparing for a career in additive manufacturing or already being in the job. Software is becoming more important to additive manufacturing than ever before. Designers for example use computer aided design (CAD) software like SOLIDWORKS, or Rhino to create 3D designs that could be 3D printed. Print prep software allows for the further editing and customized printing of 3D designed parts.
Lately on the factory floor, engineering managers use manufacturing execution software (MES), or workflow management software to manage their fleets of 3D printers. Having a software that is just as advanced as the physical hardware of the 3D printers used can not only prepare you for your additive manufacturing centric job but also make it significantly easier to do.
Large enough companies need technicians, print operators, and print managers who are well versed in additive manufacturing software.
Additive manufacturing is quickly becoming one of the most lucrative and fastest growing industries. Educational curriculums and job opportunities within additive manufacturing are being developed at just as fast of a rate. While we cannot tell you the exact courses to take (only you know what you want to pursue), one thing we can speak on is software; if you are looking for a software solution that is used by industry professionals to meet their additive manufacturing needs, then GrabCAD Shop is a good first step.
There are many of those that exist for traditional manufacturing however there are few that are made for both additive manufacturing and traditional. If you would like to learn more about work order management software, GrabCAD Shop, request a demo!