Elliott Bay Design Group's Jacob Bossler uses 3-D design software to create detailed computer models of ships.

Share story

strong>What do you do? I use several kinds of 3-D design software to create detailed computer models of ships [for Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group]. These models are used by architects to tell how fast the boat will go, for example. However, my favorite are “lofted” projects, where the entire vessel is modeled piece by piece — imagine, like huge complex steel Lego, and it’s your job to make the assembly instructions!

What made you choose this career? Choosing the career was simple: I love boats and also the technicality and artistry of 3-D computer-aided design. Humans seem to be most content when they are creating something, and this career allows me to do that.

What’s a typical day like? Ingredients for a good day include news that a design has been approved and modeling or drawing can commence. A good day also includes happy software, good music and good progress working on that design!

What’s the best part of the job? Best part of the job is, after spending months (maybe even a year) designing something and constantly seeing it on your screen or a 22″ x 34″ sheet of paper, to finally see it built full size — all 300 feet of it! Then the reality of your work hits you.

What surprises people about your job? People are typically surprised at the variety of projects — not only in size of the projects but also in the nature of the tasks. Truly, every single boat is different, and even two different boats owned by the same customer require different treatment. One day we may work on a Navy destroyer, the next on a wildlife-conservation vessel. Certainly it keeps things interesting!