Over Half the US Population Is Unsure of What CAD is Used For

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In a poll we conducted to measure how familiar Americans are with Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), we found that less than half of the US population actually knows how CAD is used. We asked 1,022 Americans, “Do you know what Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) is used for?” Of those responses, 55.7% answered no. With the answers weighted to more accurately reflect the national demographic profile, we still found that 56.1% of Americans didn’t know what CAD was used for.

CAD by Gender

Men and women have the most dramatic differences regarding the CAD question. Across nearly all age groups, income levels, and location demographics, more men are aware of how CAD is used than women. In total, 62.0% of women to 49.9% of men don’t know how CAD is used. While a greater percentage of 18-24 year old women are more familiar with CAD than the same age group of men (43.9% of women to 58.1% of men answered no), the most profound gender difference is found in the 45-54 age group, in which 72.8% of women don’t know what CAD is used for opposed to 42.6% of men.

CAD by Location

The second most profound differences between the “Yes” group and the “No” group stemmed from location. In urban areas, 60.5% of the population reported not knowing what CAD was, but in rural areas, 50.2% didn’t know. While this still means that over half of the respondents for both areas were unfamiliar with CAD, the difference is significant. (Suburban populations were in between.)

By region, the group that answered “No” the least was the Midwest (50.3%) and the group who answered it the most was the South (58.6%). However, the differences between locations were not significant.

Uses for Computer Aided Drafting

Computer Aided Drafting is used in design work across an increasing number of industries. CAD software allows designers to create 2D and 3D renderings of:

  • Architectural structures
  • Machines and machine components
  • Electrical systems
  • Ships
  • Aircraft
  • Prosthetics and other medical devices
  • Security systems
  • HVAC systems
  • Oil and natural gas pumps
  • Nuclear power plant equipment
  • Robotics
  • And more

These drawings can be easily manipulated and changed in order to adjust or even “test” the functionality of the design. Similar to how computer word processing was an advancement from the typewriter, CAD allows designers to find and correct errors without having to scrap a finished sketch or model in order to make improvements.

PTI offers Computer Aided Drafting programs where students can choose to focus in either architectural drafting or mechanical drafting. For more information about the program curriculum for CAD training in Pittsburgh and possible career options, contact an Admissions Counselor at PTI.


we were once a society of engineers - we were practical people who designed and built things. Now, we’re a society of social workers, performance artists, security workers, bureaucrats, social-media experts, arbitrage traders, drug dealers, and victims. In America as it should be, 95% should know what CAD is.


CAD is a vast improvement between conceptual sketch and prototype. However, the prototype (“model”) is still an absolute necessity before sending anything to production. There are just too many variables to be written in to a computer program. I’ve seen things that worked perfectly but were hideous to look at. Others that were beautiful & worked great on CAD but required the human elbow to bend the wrong direction. Tell your company to spend a half million to tool up directly from a CAD drawing, but update your resume before you do.

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