How to get a job in CAD design with no formal degree?

I graduated from college about 5 years ago with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology (I know, COMPLETELY unrelated to design) but I’ve discovered my true interest and passion is in design. Over the past 3-4 years, I 've taught myself Solidworks and Autodesk Inventor. I would consider myself fairly proficient and have done several complex projects - a Lamborghini Aventador, planes, etc. What would be the best way to go about getting a job doing CAD design with no formal degree/training? Are design firms even willing to hire someone in my position? Thanks a lot.

do you have a portfolio you can share?

Apply for a job and include a sample of your best work and hope you get a call back.

Just keep in mind that complexity is subjective. A Lamborghini Avendator is actually a rather simple car to model in the grand scheme. Mostly facets in single directions, not a lot of complex G2/G3 blends, etc. So while it’s impressive to build a car, it’s not necessarily a big indication of anything. It won’t be precise enough to get a job doing automotive modelling unless you are a master of Class A modelling, and it won’t be relevant for a company who needs dimensioned drawings of architecture plans.

With CAD jobs they typically end up looking for someone who is expert and very deep in a specific set of skills. Generalists are great as freelancers, but sometimes you really want to pay someone who will do the exact job you want perfectly the first time, and that makes it tough.

Thanks for the feedback. I agree completely as far as the difficulty being subjective. What is an example of something that would be considered a “difficult” project? I’m trying to challenge myself and don’t really know what to learn next. Also, what specific skill sets would the most useful as far as what employers are looking for?

I’m in the process of building a portfolio. I’ll get together some samples I can share though.

I guess the point I was making earlier is that different companies will want different things. There are a lot of non ID CAD jobs that are much more around drafting, technical/dimensioned drawings, or visualization.

As far as ID goes, it’s a much thinner field because most designers know CAD well enough to do it themselves, it’s really an integral part of the job. The main industries that still use CAD jockeys are those like the transportation business where the ID guy is only taking the concept to a point, and then it’s up to a surface modeller to take point cloud data from a clay model, and properly patch it into a Class A surface model, only to have the designers modify the clay and you repeat your job again, sometimes from scratch.

Other cad guys are specifically technical, working on things like programming CAM for CNC machines.

Try taking a look on Coroflot, there are some CAD specific jobs listed to give you an idea of the type of work and skillsets needed.

Thanks for the advice.