Photo by Fleur Treurniet / Unsplash

Digital fabrication is a manufacturing process that’s dramatically impacting the job market. Also known as “DigiFab”, the term encompasses a wide range of methods including 3D printing, waterjet, laser cutting, and vinyl cutting. Because of its many forms, it plays a valuable role in the prototyping and product development stages. DigiFab is becoming increasingly accessible to professionals interested in a field that integrates both design and production.

Because of its diverse applications, digital fabrication is highly valued in different industries. The expansion of automation technology is opening up wide demand for related skills in computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM). By incorporating modern software such as 2D vector drawing and 3D modeling to assist the creative process, it’s distinguished as a powerful tool that’s making way for exciting career possibilities. Given its flexibility, DigiFab is also great for job seekers looking to reskill for an updated, progressive market.

If you’re wondering what jobs you can go into with experience in digital fabrication, consider exploring these career paths.

Civil & Mechanical Engineering

Advancements in fabrication technologies enable engineers to build safer and more resilient structures. With the design and construction stages so closely intertwined, it’s changing the way skyscrapers, bridges, and transportation projects are created. Computer-aided engineering (CAE) allows engineers to conduct virtual analyses before determining prototypes.

Software Programs: SolidWorks, Inventor, Fusion 360

Architectural Design

The attention to detail, knowledge of building materials, and design principles make digital fabrication especially suited for architecture design. Through DigiFab architects can ideate their building designs accurately from the initial stages in the design process. 3D printing software offers a much more streamlined process, and is powerful enough to produce models of larger, complex structures such as houses or public art installations.

Software Programs: AutoCAD, Rhino 3D, SketchUp, InDesign

Image by Joel Filipe / Unsplash

Special Effects Artistry

Many modern blockbuster films are favoring CGI spectacle to wow audiences, but built practical effects still bring authenticity to filmmaking. In addition to theatrical makeup and clothing, special effects (SFX) artists can add dramatic flair to their characters’ stage presence by incorporating fabricated props, such as weapons or the moving parts of a superhero suit.

Software Programs: Inventor, Slicer, Fusion 360, AutoCAD

Carpentry & Furniture Design

Though STEM careers might be the first thing people might associate with digital fabrication, it can also be applied to practices that traditionally have non-technical workflows such as woodworking or glass-blowing. Common designs include topological tables and chairs cut using CNC machinery. Supplementing a CAD component alongside traditional tools speeds production while maintaining quality and the hand-made aspect.

Software Programs: VCarve, AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Slicer

Devices such as water jets and CNC machinery can be used for creating sleek designs. Image by Sophia Baboolal / Unsplash


DigiFab has extensive applications in the robotics discipline. Industries such as auto and aerospace depend on efficient robotics required for product assembly, shipping, and manufacturing of a multitude of parts. Robotics also serve recreational use with the popularity of drones and “smart home” devices among consumers, while theme parks are constantly pushing the boundaries of entertainment technologies through animatronics.

Software Programs: Java, C/C++, ProE, SolidWorks, MATLAB

Medical Device Development

Other areas that are being radically changed by digital fabrication are the healthcare and medical industries. Medical device companies can develop additive technologies with 3D printing technology to produce detailed virtual models. In addition to medical imaging, doctors can use specialty software to produce precise, custom prosthetics and implants that are specific to patients’ anatomy.

Software Programs: Blender, Cinema 4D, Within Medical, OsiriX

3D-printed prosthetic hand. Image by M. R. Nuckels / CC BY-SA 4.0

Want to learn what else you can create with DigiFab? Enroll in our course Introduction to Digital Fabrication and Technical Design below or check out the first session here.

Introduction to Digital Fabrication and Technical Design

Kadenze Academy