In a world where advanced knowledge is widespread and low-cost labor is readily available, America’s advantages in the marketplace of engineering and science technology have begun to erode. There’s a way for students to enhance their math skills while still in high school. I suggest every high school student interested in upgrading their math skills to enroll in a drafting class. Curriculum advisers should encourage more high schools to offer drafting classes, with emphasis on designing small projects and constructing the design. In my opinion, this is a sure fire way to get students interested in engineering and understanding math. Speaking from self experience, enrolling in a drafting course made math easier to understand. After finishing a drafting course, I highly encourage the student to take a Computer Aided Drafting Design (CADD) course. Most colleges and technical institutions offer drafting and CADD together as one course. The student will be introduced to 3D modeling, 3D animation, desktop publishing, ADA codes and guidelines, and much more. The avenues to engineering knowledge goes on and on.
This is my driving force for writing this article; when I witnessed Mr. Bill Gates of MicroSoft Inc. (www.microsoft.com) testifying to the U.S. Congress stating, “we need to import engineers from third world countries, because there’s a shortage of qualified engineers in America”, hit me in the gut like a ton of bricks. Before I go any further, I want to make it crystal clear I view Mr. Gates with the utmost of respect in regards to his generosity to underprivileged people, and his computer business savvy to grow MicroSoft into one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world. With that said, we all know, or we all should know, importing engineers from third world countries will drive the salary down for engineers graduating from prestigious engineering institutions like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (www.mit.edu) and Virginia Tech (www.vt.edu), that’s a fact.
A brief history about CADD, CADD was originally introduced as a replacement for the traditional drafting board. I was introduced to CADD in 1980, using a CADD system by the name of Auto-Trol (www.auto-trol.com); the system I used was a DOS based system, no pull down menus and no color. All commands had to be typed in from your keyboard, if you wanted to draw a line or circle, you had to manually type it in, and make sure your spelling was correct. Later I worked on a CADD system by Sun Micro Systems (www.sun.com), which enhanced my knowledge in regards to 3D capability. Then along came AutoCAD!!! (www.autodesk.com), which in my opinion blew the lid off of Computer Aided Drafting. All of a sudden you had pull down menus, short cuts, and color. AutoCAD (www.autodesk.com) simplified CADD to the point where an idiot could understand it, and be proficient at it. I have to say, I don’t believe I would’ve been able to hit the ground running when I was introduced to AutoCAD (www.autodesk.com), without having the privilege of being introduced to Auto-Trol (www.auto-trol.com) beforehand.