If you’ve been thinking about becoming a welder, now’s the time to start learning the trade. Many welders are approaching retirement age and despite a declining manufacturing industry, there are still jobs in custom welding, construction, and maintenance/repair. Here are the essential skills you’ll need to succeed.
Like other people in the skilled trades, welders must be exceptional problem solvers who pay attention to details. They have to spot flaws in materials and designs, troubleshoot broken areas, and know how to fix worn parts and/or equipment. Welders working in more extreme conditions—underwater or outer space—must be able to find solutions even more quickly.
Math and science
Like plumbers and other tradespeople, welders constantly use their knowledge of fundamental science and math while working. Welders estimating costs, make calculations, determine which metals to use with what fuels and/or chemicals, et cetera. Sometimes welders are required to track their own hours, so you’ll want to make sure that you get those numbers right.
While not really a skill, physical and mental endurance is a must-have for welders. Welders work in many different environments, but they’re almost always standing or crouching, which can get uncomfortable. (Imagine how underwater and outer space welders feel after a while.) Additionally, welding requires a lot of attention over a long period of time, so you’ve got to be able to focus on the task at hand. Mistakes can not only be costly, but also painful. (Welders should also have very good eyesight.)
Even though welders usually spend a lot of time on their own, they often have to interact with clients, other tradespeople, and employers. In construction, welders frequently work with other welders and tradespeople to make sure projects are finished smoothly.