Just like any technology, 3D printing is evolving. This means that there will always be 3D job opportunities out there. In this episode, Steven Mohammed asks, “Where can I find affordable retraining and job opportunities in the 3D printing and rapid prototyping fields?” Tom and Tracy Hazzard give recommendation as to how you can have a career in the 3D print industry, highlight learning CAD and going to community colleges to start your journey.
Listen to the podcast here:
Affordable Re-Training And Job Opportunities
This is the Ask Us Anything segment.
Almost anything 3D. Our question is an email question. Steven Mohammed emailed in. He said, “Greetings, Tracy and Tom. I am an experienced on-demand production printer. With publishing and printing options generally disappearing, where can I find affordable retraining and job opportunities in the 3D printing and rapid prototyping fields?”
They say 3D printing is all about the next industrial revolution and technology is changing. Old types of businesses may not be doing as well as they used to. He’s looking at, “Can I pivot my business and participate in the 3D print economy?”
Steven, I applaud you for that because that’s a great direction to be doing it. You’re doing it at the right time. You’re going to be early. Designers and people with technical skills in 3D printing are going to be in demand. If you’re in a declining industry and you’re starting to give yourself skills in a growing industry, what better way to do that?
In our interview with Bridgette Mongeon, who’s a professional sculptor and uses 3D printing all the time, she made a good point in that interview that there are new opportunities and new jobs being created. She’s a sculpture who uses 3D printing. She creates some 3D CAD files but she does not do certain parts of the process. She said, “There’s a big job opportunity for somebody that will take my 3D CAD files, fix them and make them ready and practical for 3D printing.”
Taking some of the technical drudgery out of fixing scans or fixing 3D prints or whatever it is, it’s going to be a big opportunity. There are going to be a lot of people needed because I don’t want to do that on a daily basis. I’ve got enough work trying to keep up with all the designs we need to create.
If you’re a technical person and you’re interested in that sort of thing, there may be a lot of work for you. That may be a little different than 3D printing, but it points out that times are changing. Technology is changing and there are lots of opportunities, by all means, retrain and learn about 3D printing.
Where should Steven go?
Certainly, check your local community colleges. There are a lot of very inexpensive ways to get exposure and maybe some training.
I don’t think they have 3D printing classes yet, but they have CAD. You make sure your CAD skills are up there. If you already have the CAD skills, great, but if you don’t have them, go to your local community college. Some of those are $50, $80 for a course that is going to absolutely teach you how to use the software inside and out. Start there because you definitely have to know design. You have to know the CAD software anyway before you run a 3D printer, even if you’re not going to do the design side. There are some amount of manipulation and some number of things you have to do to the files. You better learn how to operate the software.
You’re going to need a CAD program to do that. Other than community colleges, there are some other places to learn.
You could go to trade shows. Trade shows have an education seminar that they offer. Those are sometimes a little more costly, but they’re also pretty hands-on and specific. You could take a course in a specific thing you want to learn about 3D printing. I’ve seen that a lot of school districts, colleges and other places are sending their educators to these kinds of seminars. That’s where they’re getting their continuing education to be able to learn how to operate 3D printers and implement them in their classrooms. That’s a good place as well if it’s got the subject you want. We have a list of trade shows on our website at HazzDesign.com and go to the 3D printing tab section. In there under the tips, tools and resources, you’ll find a list of trade shows. If you have a trade show and you’re offering educational seminars, let us know. We need to start an educational section in our resource page. We should start that up. We’ve got John Bokla, who does one for kids ages 5 to 15. I honestly think most adults could use it too. That’s what I’m finding.
He’s certainly gearing toward an audience that’s younger, but those skills that he’s teaching apply to all of us. The more we go on in 3D printing and in this show, the more software and CAD education is emerging as one of the biggest gaps to success in 3D printing.
If you buy a 3D printer before you understand CAD, your learning curve is going to be even bigger before you’re able to use that.
You may find that you bought the printer a little too soon.
Another great place to learn CAD and they are starting to offer more and more 3D printing courses. There are 3D printer companies that are sponsoring courses as we understand it is Lynda.com. It’s one of the biggest resources for educational videos and tutorials of all sorts of softwares and other things. It’s almost anything you want to learn. Even if you want to learn how to search in Google, there’s a course on that. It goes basic and it goes technical. That’s a great thing about it. All of those courses are quality courses from what I understand from a lot of people that have used them.
They’re very inexpensive also.
You become a member of Lynda.com. For $25 you can watch as many videos and learn as much as you want per month. That’s a great tool as well. It’s low cost and an easy way to get some training, get your feet wet and you can figure out where you want to learn some more advanced things. I’ve heard that some of the printer companies and other places are offering online tutorials, but there are also group events and things like that, training sessions which you could purchase. You did that with one printer.
We happen to be located fairly close to one 3D printer manufacturer. I was able to pay $100 or something for two people from our company to go in and get training on their printer. I wish I had done that before I even bought the printer, it would have been very useful. Even though you buy a printer, sometimes you have to pay for training like that because they don’t always include it. I understand coming from maybe on-demand production and printing company that’s more two-dimensional printing. There are a lot of technical things you’ve probably learned about different software programs and applications to printing. You are going to have to learn similar technical skills but just in a little bit different way.
With a little bit different language, the language of three-dimensional design is a little bit different.
There are plenty of opportunities to gain those skills and learn that, and make a good viable business and expand your business with it.
You’re poised because of the skillset you already have to make the transition a lot easier than other people. Go for it, Steven. Thanks for sending us an email about it and if anyone else wants to send us an email, send us a voicemail, ask us anything, they can do that.
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