Is 3D required as a prerequisite?

I am a recent graduate from ID. In my Bachelor’s program 3D was not taught as a subject. It was overridden because they teach the philosophy that there will be other designer or technicians to do the cad or alias work that I am unable to do. However, I feel that in my education it has been the one component I feel is lacking. Granted they said if your hired for a Jr. position I would end up working as a CAD monkey and it would lead nowhere, I can’t help but feel that I won’t get a job because I lack that skill.

I can visually communicate pretty well, and I can illustrate well, as well as work with my hands creating models. This, however is an industry standard that skill that I feel I am lacking in landing a good starting job. I know my portfolio of work is strong, but 3D work would guarantee me a job in this competitive industry.

Can someone help me with with my predicament?


Funny enough, even my thesis project 3D work was directed by me, but done by people I paid to do the work. Had they not been there I would have done it myself.

There are many industries that do not use 3D extensively. Footwear, eyewear, watch design, leather/accessories design do not normally rely on 3D CAD from designers. Some companies in ‘regular’ ID may have in-house engineers/modelers so they don’t require you to know them. Some places will train you.

My advice would be to put your best foot forward, apply to places that dont require extensive 3D skills or will train you, OR pick up a program and learn on your own (or take a 3D class at a college).

I think you can start looking for a job, while you learn 3D. In this economy, you may have plenty of time to get good at it :stuck_out_tongue:

Fascinating! This is the first time I’ve ever heard that. Is this representative of the philosophy of your instructors? How much did this cost?

I’ll be honest, now that I’m in design management, I “outsource” all of my 3D modelling too–even though I was once an in-demand Alias jockey. I wonder if this represents the future for all Industrial Designers?

Well, as far as the entire ID Dept. and instructors, they don’t all agree, but they are a united front, but for the most part the philosophy is let the CAD fiends do it, and do it better than you can ever do it. They believe that as long as you can interpret the overall idea and create the initial sketches, from the research, keep moving forward etc, etc…and keep that constant practice happening, then its not a big deal.

The big idea is create “Big Thinkers with strong understanding of the “NEEDS” and be able to design and implement that direction the user group”…Its all about keeping knowing how to interpret the user group and design the best outcome.

They really trained us to work towards design management, and project managers.

I’ll be honest: I think they’re right–but not for an undergrad program.

All Industrial Designers need some 3D CAD experience–even if you don’t end up using it directly as a manager. At some point in your life, you will use it. It will also teach you some 3D fundamentals about constructing objects and working with engineers.

CAD is a fundamental tool in every designers bag. A good designer can pick up the right tool at any given moment to achieve their goal.

Blemar: It’s difficult to know without seeing your portfolio. As stated earlier, there are many positions that don’t require any 3D computer modeling ability.

If you feel like those previously listed posts suit you, concentrate on pushing those skills. If not, steal yourself SolidWorks and go through the tutorials. Then do the modeling of one or your projects yourself. If you have one decent model that you can honestly claim as your own in your portfolio, no one will ask for more.

While I do agree it is possible to get sucked into a “CAD Jockey” position, and that when recruiters see CAD on your resume they generally only see that and discard all else, I don’t believe in specifically limiting your abilities or skill set.

Learn it, and never use it. Then if something comes up at work you “save the day” or maybe it gets you showing up at the company you want to be at everyday and they can see that you a: are a great employee regardless of your position and possess vast amounts of potential, and b: are actually a great designer that they may not have noticed because times are hard and they cannot be taking chances on untested people.

Times really are “hard” right now, ask anyone that isn’t wrapped in a cocoon and they will probably tell you this is a time for weathering the storm, building skill sets and excelling where you already are.

If you learn it, and hate it, don’t tell anyone you know it. If you like it, then do it, and if you are somewhere in between do it while something better comes along.

For what it’s worth, I LOVED learning 3D CAD along with sketching and model-making, and it helped me land my first job. (Of course back then, one CAD workstation and software cost double my salary…)

So far, everyone thank you for the comments. If there is anything anyone would like to add, or re-butt don’t hesitate. I appreciate all the experience being offered.

when it comes to getting a job everything helps. Most of the time its the 3d software that gets you the job … oh and she/he went to RISD.

To me, CAD skills are critical. All four of our designers (including me) build all the time. Learning CAD teaches you so many things that can help your design work later. The better I get at CAD, the more diverse my geometry library gets. Not for CAD, but for sketching. The more complex geometry I build and solve in CAD, the further I push my sketch work. The two compliment each other very well.

In addition, being able to model your own designs gives you more control.

As a consultant, sometimes people farm out CAD to us. Great for us. :smiley:

If you’re a design manager and you don’t know CAD…what happens if the person “doing your work for you” says they CAN’T do something? Do you smile and nod and say OK since you have NO idea whats going on?

CAD is so easy to learn that if you’re capable of graduating college theres no reason you can’t work hard for a few months and learn a CAD software.

Hey its not that I don’t agree. It’s mostly that since I don’t know CAD and I am trying to find a design job I believe that it has really hurt my opportunities. I believe that now after graduating and not having CAD skills anyone who is hiring, isn’t going to hire me because I don’t have that skill. I have found that even although some jobs don’t ask for it, it surely is being asked for. Hence my question revolving around this situation. I have become considerably more upset about my bachelor’s degree because this skill was not taught and it seems like such an essential skill in the professional world.

Bingo! …to add to this thought;

If you are a manager and know CAD, you can offer possible construction options to a designer doing the CAD work. Lead by example. :smiley:

The question really isn’t what your strengths are, the question is what do companies need? You could get a job in the industrial design field without knowledge of CAD, but you would be limited to fields like soft-goods and shoe design, perhaps toy design where 3D CAD doesn’t quite cut muster in the design process. Most entry level jobs you see list CAD of some sort as a plus. The department I work in used to list 3D CAD as a plus, but it is now a requirement. We even specify which software we need. Its not that CADless design is impossible, but annotating another designer’s CAD model takes a lot of time. This is a craft vs ideas discussion. As noted before, your ideas affect how you use the tools at your disposal and vice-versa. People who can do both ideating and implementation of those ideas would be hired in an instant. You dont want to limit yourself at this point in your career. Pick up a program like Rhino with an easy learning curve. That way you are not handicapping yourself too severely.

Thank you so much folks. Really I appreciate all this, You have been a super help in giving me some guidance. In leu of this discussion I posted I got my hands on a copy of Alias for mac. I also registered for the next SolidWorks course available, the winter. You have all been really positive about your comments and I can see that this sure is a belief that everyone has written strongly in favour of.

If anyone does still have something too add who is new to this discussion, please don’t hesitate to express something valuable.

Thanks again,
Ben.

As I mentioned, it’s fairly straightforward to learn CAD - especially if you can jump on a forum to ask questions since you won’t have classmates or professors to bounce questions off of.

Most schools only teach 1 semester of CAD then the rest you’re expected to learn yourself. Solidworks and Alias both come with a handful of fairly robust tutorials that you should be able to walk through on your own. Then take the skills you’ve learned and apply them to building 3D models of projects that are already in your portfolio.

Again, Bingo.