Careers in Architectural Drafting

By 16th October 2018Career Advice
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What are the Skills and Qualifications You Need for Success?

An architectural drafter helps bring the architect’s visions to life. If you have a flair for design and technical drawing, it could be the perfect career for you.

The need for extra housing across the UK is something that has attracted no shortage of media discussion over the past 12 months, especially following Phillip Hammond’s budget commitment at the end of last year to build 300,000 new homes. While the debate continues as to where all these new homes will be built, one thing is certain. The housing crisis means that those involved in every aspect of the design, planning and construction of residential properties will be in greater demand than ever over the coming years.

For those with a flair for technical drawing and an interest in architectural design, this represents a great opportunity. Companies that deliver architectural drafting services are always on the lookout for new talent. Do you have what it takes?

What’s in a name?

You might see the UK term draughtsman, the increasingly widespread Americanised  version, draftsman, or the gender-neutral drafter, but all three words mean the same thing. A drafter creates the drawings and blueprints for construction projects, bringing the data they receive from engineers and architects to life using a combination of manual and digital tools.

Today, most of the drawings they produce are delivered using computer-aided design (CAD) software, so basic proficiency in using computer programmes, and an ability to pick up new ones is a prerequisite. Drafters also need to incorporate their own knowledge and skill into making the architect’s vision into an on-screen reality.

Academic requirements

One of the benefits of a career in architectural drafting is that you can approach it from multiple angles. Most drafters have a background in design and artistic disciplines, but others have qualifications in engineering, or are even from an IT background. A post-graduate qualification in architectural drawing is a bonus, and demonstrates to potential employers that you are serious about following this as a career path.

Professional qualifications

On the job training is just as important as academic qualifications, so this is a career in which it pays to start from the bottom rung. Most employers will offer career progression opportunities and will help their junior employees attain the necessary professional qualifications.

Personal skills

Experience and qualifications can be accumulated over time, but there are some inherent attributes you will need that cannot be learned. These include creative flair, an eye for design and the ability to work as part of a team. This latter quality cannot be overstated. Core to success is understanding what the designer or architect is seeking to achieve, and this requires an ability to listen and interpret.

It also means a drafter sometimes needs the patience of a saint. It is impossible to capture the architect’s vision perfectly first time, every time, so a degree of rework is always going to be necessary.

Career progression

Drafters have a range of career paths they can follow. These include following the project engineering path, the design engineering route, or perhaps choosing to specialise in CAD. Ultimately, these are all roles that offer a career that is rewarding and lucrative for those who show flair and dedication.