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Great question, there are so many 3D printing careers to consider. We meet with a lot of people in business with very successful companies. When these companies get together and discuss market research and projections about the future of business, there is so much discussion right now about how traditional manufacturing businesses are going to fundamentally change in the next 15 years because of 3D printing.
They don’t all know which way it’s going to go or how quickly it’s going to happen, but what they do know is with 3D printing and more localized manufacturing, the one thing everybody is going to need is to know is what the heck to print.
3D Printing Careers – Design, Engineering, & Technicians
In addition to knowing what to print, you need bodies to design that stuff. There is a skilled labor shortage, without a lot of product designers out there. I can’t even believe it, but I went to a business meet-up recently with about 50-60 people there, and about 10-15 of them didn’t even know what a product designer did. I thought, In this day and age, that’s crazy. It is so critical. As consumers we all buy so much stuff, and people don’t know that just about everything they buy is designed in some way.
Beyond design, there are numerous 3d jobs for engineers to work on the development of new 3d printers, the materials they use, software to make them run better, and to engineer parts to be printed. There are increasing needs for technicians to operate a commercial Stratasys 3d printer at over 60 UPS stores that offer 3D printing services. There are other Stratasys careers for people who want to help develop, market, or service their commercial line of 3d printers. Similar jobs are available with other companies including 3D Systems, and numerous others. There are 3D printing jobs all across the United States, as well as many other countries. Companies are hiring in NYC, LA, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Dallas, and every major metropolitan area.
The whole world revolves around manufacturing of products. We all need to buy products, and somebody has to engineer and design those products. There is 3D modeling, 3D engineering, 3D design; all of those things together are the premium jobs of the future. They are going to be the highest paying jobs out there.
At one time, it was coders were the thing. But 3D modeling is exploding. And you have to be able to do it right. In the interest of full disclosure, you have to understand that we are designers. We went through Rhode Island School of Design. So we’re pushing design. But we honestly believe, it’s the future, it’s where a huge amount of jobs are going to be waiting to be filled.
We hear a lot of people advocating STEAM and STEM education, especially for girls. I always say STEAM, you should not forget the art. If you don’t leave in the art and design part of the equation, the world would just be engineered, and that would be so boring. We need all of it combined.
Think about it: If you’re a manufacturer or a consumer, you’re going to go into a store and have several different products to choose from. What is the most obvious thing about a product? How it looks! You’re going to make an emotional connection with that product. Which one do you want to buy? You’re probably going to look at the one that is coolest first, and then you’re going to think about its specs or capabilities or whatever. Its color, too.
That’s another thing. Color sells. I spent my whole career dealing with how consumers respond to color. It’s also one of those things. Not that you shouldn’t be studying modeling and engineering, you absolutely should, but you have to have a bit of both. Find a way to fit that in. Take some of those art classes if you are in the engineering department, and if you’re in the design department, take some engineering and modeling classes. Make sure you have that good cross training, because that will make you so valuable.
3D printing careers start with education.
Certainly check your local community colleges. There are a lot of very inexpensive ways to get exposure and training. Many colleges now have 3D printing integrated into their curriculum. Even if they do not have 3D printing classes, they most likely have CAD classes of some kind. You better make sure your CAD skills are high on your list of priorities. If you already have the CAD skills, great. If you don’t have them, go to your local community college. Start there because you have to know the CAD software before you run a 3D printer, even if you‘re not going to be a designer. In order to create 3D models to print, or even manipulate models, you are going to need to be able to operate a CAD program to do that.