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I'm thinking about a career move towards becoming a cad/bim technician. It's in a context where I can assist in different sustainable projects but generally speaking it's project support to whomever needs it.
I have helped a bim manager in the past. It's largely working in the software and helping a team move along meaning you do almost no design. The position can be frustrating at times but you get a lot of exposure to different projects. In my case I can learn about MEP systems and sustainable solutions including calculations.
Any advice for someone who might work in this capacity for a while? Will it pigeon hole you in the future or will it open up opportunities into many fields? I'm still young so I am interested in a lot of different aspects of design and technology.
I started out in the role of BIM technician - but then I was needed on a design team and have worked in production ever since - the BIM technician role can be very limiting -1.small offices don't have BIM/CAD coordinators 2. The designers over the last 5 years have become increasingly sophisticated - esp with Revit's 2013 and 2014 - Unlss you want to work in a big office and end up doing cleanup until midnight - it gets old. My advice is for you to make it happen in design - I know too many people who have been sidelined.
Revit makes people think funny. Those who use it for design only use it as they would expect without delving into the nuts of bolts of the software to explore new possibilities. The people who support the designers understand the deeper system capabilities but don't apply them in any meaningful way because they are trying to get the teams humming along with their aid.
What I was thinking about doing was using the experience and knowledge I gained from the bim tech role to enhance my ability and transition into a designer who can accomplish novel projects with that skill set. I figure a regular drafter at an office would only be as good as their experience. So a way to get ahead is to use technology to your advantage. At the least that can open up some unexpected opportunities.
As for the toil, at least it's predictable. I've been in offices where your workflow is out of whack because the day to day assignments are anybody's guess. That can be just as exhausting. I would like to end up with the design role eventually but not one without real skills in technology.
Think in terms of both design process and construction process as your informant - then possibilities open up - this is what I did and it works. Don't get trapped into the RevitRooter role - fixing clogged project files. "Tuck, can you you go through the 66 1st street file and get rid of the 3D views the team left last night"
Good point Xenakis. If you can't envision the entirety of your project as you work then it doesn't matter what the tools are. Design isn't just about appearances or cool effects, it has a lot to do with the nuts and bolts of the built environment. I wanted to use BIM to my advantage in that regard. If you have a poor method developing your project then you would just end up with a glorified hack of a project.
That last line basically sums up the work I expect to be doing soon. In the mean time I'll develop all my other skills to the fullest. I hope I can develop many specialties which are critical in the AEC world; facade optimization, building energy analysis, adaptive design and integrated project development.
Btw, how long would it be acceptable to be out of the architecture/design loop? I figure after two years of drafting I might be tempted to go back to architecture. I expect the transition wouldn't be smooth but employers ought to be interested if they expect someone who is primarily drafting construction documents like most young professionals.
I have been in the BIM production role for 4.5 years - I do some design - unless I step up my game and make sure everyone knows it, I could be doing this permanently - provided I keep up with technology and make sure everyone knows it - I am on Revit 2013.5 and moving into 2014 - I would say 6 months - you need to get on to IDP and make progress towards licensure and make sure everyone knows it.
I don't know about licensure. I will be at an engineering firm where there might be some hours towards IDP but won't cover everything. I intend to involve myself in the design process as much as possible and not just sit on the sidelines updating drawings. If that happens I'll move on.
I intend to create projects for design competitions and become involved with a few organizations to move me along.
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