In some engineering organizations, not that long ago, there was a clear distinction between those responsible for design and those responsible for documentation. You see, engineers were the ones that made design decisions. Draftsmen were the ones that created engineering drawings. One told the other what to do.
Since the emergence of CAD applications, that line has started to blur. And as more capabilities were developed that enabled associativity between a 3D model and 2D drawing were available, I believe that old split between roles went away. The most critical capability is the one to make a change to a 3D model and have the 2D drawing update automatically. When the economic recession of 2008 hit us, and product development roles were cut dramatically, pushing all that responsibility to engineers was a logical move.
So, where do we stand today? Well, per findings from the 2015 Hardware Design Engineer study, nearly 6 in 10 individuals with design decision making responsibility are using CAD applications very frequently and very consistently today.
— Lifecycle Insights (@LC_Insights) April 19, 2016
Now, does that mean that they are using it for design? This finding really doesn’t answer that question. However, it does definitively answer the question: how much do engineers use CAD applications today.