How to find work in SketchUp?

I don’t have many qualifications, and the college courses available are only for AutoCAD. I see a few job openings for SketchUp but they require you to have a lot of experience. I can create almost anything in SketchUp, the main difference between me and a professional is that they’d be able to do it a lot more efficiently. How do I go about finding a job? Is it essential that I create a portfolio even if the work wasn’t for a job? I would just like any insight really. Thanks.

Employers want to hire people who have skills. You gain skills through experience.

Time is money. Employers need to maximize what they get out of employees to recover the costs of having the employee and they are in business to make a profit for their owners and shareholders. If you aren’t efficient, you cost more than an employee who is efficient.

What would you expect? Do you think someone will just take your word that you can muddle through drawing projects with SketchUp? You need to have something to show prospective employers that you can do the work they need done.

It would be wise if you gain experience with more software packages than just SketchUp. If all you know is SketchUp, you’re a one trick pony. Not much to recommend you for hiring. Even with SketchUp, you should also be proficient with LayOut which means you need to get Pro. Consider it an investment in your future.

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You don’t mention which discipline you are studying, whether it is engineering, interior design, architecture, etc. This has a tremendous impact on the jobs you can seek. It is far more important to be able to produce the kinds of documents your potential employer usually develops than it would be to specialize in the use of any specific software. In the case of architectural firms, you will need to know how to develop construction details for working drawings that will be used to obtain building permits, to solicit bids from contractors and ultimately from which to construct a physical building on a real piece of land. You will be more marketable as a potential employee if you show greater strength in organizing technical drawings than in your ability to model in 3D.

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As one great leader once stated : ask yourself what you can do for a company, not the other way around. There is always someone else more experienced or better, faster etc. in drawing then you. With upcoming AI-technology it is most likely that a whole generation of design software puts the draughtsman on the side within the next 10~20 years.
What still be needed is a human based insight , whether original ideas, communication between other humans etc.
What can you provide?

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“Employers want to hire people who have skills. You gain skills through experience.”

I have lots of experience but only working on personal projects. Do you suggest I offer my skills for free so I can add that to a portfolio?

“What would you expect? Do you think someone will just take your word that you can muddle through drawing projects with SketchUp?”

No, what I meant is do I have to put a portfolio on a website or can’t I just email them it along with the CV.

You’re right I should have mentioned that. Any and all of them, I don’t mind. If I had to pick I’d choose naval architecture or aerospace. My plan right now is to model ships or satellites that already exist. So I don’t have to come up with a design myself. Thank you for the advice but where do I learn construction? I can’t afford college at the moment, are there any free online courses which a company might recognise?

Do your personal projects suit what prospective employers need?

If that’s what it takes to get paying work. Do something to prove you can do the job and do it efficiently and in a timely fashion.

You didn’t mention anything about putting a portfolio on a website. Are you submitting your CV in print or electronically?
What format are you going to use to present your portfolio with your CV? A zip file with a bunch of JPGs won’t look professional. Are you going to create a slide show that can handle being shown on a large screen? You need to find out what they want to look at to make sure they don’t send it to the recycle bin 30 seconds after it hits their in box. Remember, you are selling yourself and your skills.

Do you have any education in naval architecture/engineering or aerospace technology? That would be useful.

That would be nice but I wouldn’t put my hopes on that. Get some sort of paying work so you can get formal education.

Hello again @Alanay,

It would be helpful to know where you are located and perhaps where you intend to seek work. Different locales may favor distinct talents in various fields. In general, it is practical to develop a portfolio that is exemplary of your aggregate skills. Be mindful, though, most prospective employers will not painstakingly pore through your submittal, but typically will take a quick and cursory glance at your work. This means you must immediately grab their attention. Your presentation must be professionally crafted, but also be concise and should highlight your capabilities.

Assuming you are applying for a position with a ship building company or a marine engineering firm, your submittal should focus on how fluent you are in technical detailing. It is unlikely that an employer will offer you an opportunity to design a luxury yacht at an entry level job. In fact, you can improve your potential by volunteering or working as an intern for minimal salary until you are able to command a reasonable wage. Once your credibility is established, your career will advance.

Your initial objective should be identifying and contacting organizations that provide those services in which you wish to become involved. Just be sure that your technical competency can withstand a high level of scrutiny.

In my experience, people are asking for experience for a position that is less “managed”. By asking for someone who has experience, they know that they are talking about a new employee who has been working in a production environment without needing to have their hand held.

For example, I enjoy the software Z-brush, and I have made some really awesome looking models using it. However, I would be in trouble if I was to walk into a company that expected me to create highly detailed models from a list of assets.

In a case like this, and the situation you are in, is to look for an entry level job. In a lot of cases, this may mean taking a job where you learn the ins and outs of the industry and how SketchUp may be applied. It is great that you can model the exterior of a house in less than an hour, but if that model cannot be applied to a standard architectural workflow, then you are not ready to step into a production job, yet. As @jvleearchitects said, find an entry level job in the industry you are interested in, and learn about that job and advocate for the use of SketchUp!

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