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A professional computer-aided design (CAD) portfolio can help you showcase your skills, show off your best work, and secure your next position. In fact, employers often ask to see the portfolios of potential new employees, so that they can get a good sense of their expert training and hands-on skills.

But, while your career as a CAD technician will involve creating many portfolio-worthy projects, it’s also possible that you might not be able to include all of them in your professional portfolio.

If you work as an engineering CAD technician at a cutting-edge engineering firm, for example, you might be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to make sure that you don’t accidentally leak important information on product designs. Even after you stop working for that employer, a project you worked on might still be confidential and showing any designs you worked on could get you into hot water.

How can you build a portfolio that respects employer privacy and still showcases your CAD skills? Read on to find out.

Use Examples Created During Your CAD College Courses or In Your Spare Time

Enrolling in a CAD college provides you with the specialized training you need to break into the industry. On top of the CAD training you’ll receive, any projects you complete during school will likely belong to you. That means that you can use these designs in your portfolio without worrying about upsetting an employer or breaching a non-disclosure agreement.

And, as you progress through your career, you can also use projects that you create during your spare time to update your portfolio. Practicing your CAD skills outside of work is a great way to continue your professional development. And, if it produces excellent examples for your portfolio, then all the better!

CAD students complete projects that help them build hands-on skills.

CAD students complete projects that help them build hands-on skills.

Read Non-Disclosure Agreements Very Carefully

If you’re asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement when you begin a new job, make sure to take the time to read over the agreement carefully, so that you know exactly what information you can and can’t share. Even seasoned professionals who are used to signing non-disclosure agreements benefit from looking over a new contract carefully. That way, you can rest assured that you won’t accidentally break any company privacy policies if you decide to update your portfolio.

Talk About Alternative Ways to Showcase Your CAD Training

If you worked on a stellar project that was a success, being able to include your work in your portfolio can be a huge advantage. It’ll help demonstrate how you’ve applied the knowledge you learned in your CAD college courses as well as how you can be a valuable asset to a new employer.

In some cases, you can ask an employer for permission to use your work in your portfolio. While not all companies can accommodate such a request, sometimes they can work with an employee to find a solution. Occasionally, an employee can be granted permission to showcase his or her work if names, descriptions, and other confidential information are carefully blocked out.

When accepting a job offer, make sure to look over NDA and privacy policies.

When accepting a job offer, make sure to look over NDA and privacy policies.

If you can’t include your work in a portfolio, there are sometimes other ways to demonstrate the quality of your work to future employers. For example, applicants can include client recommendations. While client recommendations don’t replace the advantage of seeing a design first-hand, they can help demonstrate that you are a good employee that produces high-quality work.

Of course, in each case, it’s important to review your NDA first, just in case your employer doesn’t feel comfortable with you listing client names or including other information.

Are you interested in obtaining CAD certification?

Visit Digital School to find out how in a year or less, you can complete the training you need to start a rewarding new career.