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Wondering if it is worth learning to use CNC machines? Do you need to take specialized studies to use the CNC machine program? The answer to such questions is not clear. However, the good news is that you don’t have to study engineering at university to start learning CNC and develop as a competent CNC specialist. The fact is, however, that CNC machines require you to have certain skills and aptitudes that will help you succeed on this equipment.

CNC (numerically controlled) machine tooling – what does it consist of?

As of today, a lot of people claim that CNC machining consists of CNC programming. This is a misconception. CNC programming (or G-code programming) refers to the basic language used by CNC machines to perform material handling operations using just the machine tool. CNC programming is a skill you must have. No matter what industry you will later develop into as a CNC professional. Simply put, if you are going to learn CNC for a profession or as a hobby, then the programs you learn for machining will increase your productivity and help you get the results you want. Moreover, using and having knowledge about CNC machine programs and machine tools is used in many different fields including aerospace, bioengineering, new technologies, etc. A CNC programmer must have not only theoretical knowledge but also practical knowledge. Do you want to know if a CNC programmer or CNC machine operator is the job for you? Read on!

How become a cnc machinist?

Using a CNC machining program is not a job for everyone. Many young people plan to start their career in CNC, but over time they find that the machines, machining, using machine tools, or CNC (computer numerical control)or CAM programs are too much responsibility. A CNC operator is not an office job. Performing assigned tasks on a CNC machine does not mean that you will work lightly and behind a desk. You have to learn the structure of the CNC machine, get familiar with it and learn how to use it properly. Practice is the most important thing for someone who wants to learn how CNC machines work and how to operate machine tools. The qualities that prove in your favor are creativity and willingness to create things from scratch. Can you make good use of a hand tool for everyday work? That’s a good harbinger. A CNC machine and machine tool operator should look for alternatives and solutions when a component is not performing its function. CNC machining is about the creativity and passion involved in creating new things. CNC technology is constantly evolving. As such, you should set your sights on gaining more and more knowledge and experience. A course on machine operation, another experienced machine tool operator, work experience, and passion – this is more important than any college. This is a job where you should not count down the time until it is finished. You have to be interested in numerically controlled machines, otherwise, this job will become boring after some time. Remember also that teamwork counts. You will not get any further on your own. A course on how to operate a machine tool and knowing if there is numerical programming on the equipment are hard skills. A good equipment operator can get along with a team and has a range of soft skills. How become a cnc machinist? You need to know how to solve a problem, understand the people who work with you, and apply a variety of solutions to difficult situations together.

CNC machine is a passion

Proper education has never hurt anyone. Having theoretical knowledge of metalworking, knowing how to control a CNC machine, and analytical information that is useful for a programmer – are a few elements that will broaden your opportunities on the job. Most colleges offer their students to learn about machine components, learn about manufacturing processes, create technical drawings, or take a material cutting apprenticeship. An apprenticeship in science is very rare. Going to a college that allows you to learn how to operate a machine tool? That’s great. Relevant documents are the basis of a job interview for a given company. However, when creating a research paper, focus on a CNC topic that interests you. If your lecturer gives you the opportunity, that’s great. You will see if expanding your knowledge in this field interests you in any way. Think of academic work as a way of learning to develop knowledge and skills in a specific area of interest. Do you like welding? Show your lecturer the material you welded and discuss the topic with them.

How do you get a CNC education?

If you have decided that working with CNC machines is what you want to do, and be CNC operator, then the next step is to think about where you can get the relevant knowledge in this field. There are several solutions to this situation:


As already mentioned, you can enroll in a polytechnic or college to study engineering. It is important to remember that the education of an engineer is acquired for 3 to 5 years. It is best to start this type of study right after the matriculation exam. Studies are preferred for people who know mathematics and physics.

Vocational training

This is a great option to help you develop your CNC knowledge. Instead of a mainly theoretical template curriculum, vocational training mainly applies practical solutions that every machine tool operator should know. Such a course will prepare you well for the beginning of your work. This kind of training is the best as it brings together enthusiasts of the field and allows them to gain practical and immediate knowledge of operating a machine tool, or of material processing in general. Good training offers practice on CNC machine tools (with a mentor present). The leader in training in this area is the HAAS Technical Education Center. You can find an offer in this area here.

Online training

In recent years, online training has been developed as one of the top three sectors for acquiring knowledge. You can find machine tool operator courses and various programs on dedicated e-learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, etc. However, keep in mind that these are designed to show you the theory of a machine tool, explaining the importance of coordinates, direction, and various theoretical options to solve problems. No online course will show you the practice, and you should know that in this field, this practical experience is extremely important.

In-house training and workshops

This is an interesting concept that is related to your practice in a particular company. If the company has the capacity, it organizes CNC professional training that allows its employees to gain even more knowledge and experience. Moreover, this kind of training is not only good for the employees, but also for the company itself. They are usually attended by the entire group at one time, and the knowledge they gain will be used for the benefit of the entity. Sometimes, company training is accompanied by workshops with real-life demonstrations of certain methods and techniques. This way, not only will you be trained in CNC, but you will also see the theories you may be taught put into practice. 

CNC – what areas are worth knowing?

CNC is a broad technical area that requires the operator to have a wide range of knowledge in different subjects on the job. One course may not be enough to educate an operator. 

A CNC professional must know the following areas:

  • Technical drawing – This is the best and most reliable form of communication that serves as the language between engineers and manufacturing teams around the world. This is where you should start. It is the primary source of knowledge about the product being machined. Being aware of a technical drawing will help you define the shape of the part being machined, its dimensions, and all the existing relationships between its features. Technical drawing will make you more accurate, increase productivity and maintain safety.
  • Manufacturing Technologies – you will need to know how to select materials and cutting tools for machining the part. It will be your responsibility to match the cutting conditions and tools to the fixture. If you learn about the part manufacturing technology itself, you will understand how it can be combined with the final product. A good course will provide you with basic knowledge in this area.
  • CNC machine tool technology – work, work, and more work. The more hands-on experience you have with CNC, the better you will understand machine tool technology, the systems behind them, the tools, and the many technologies. The right program set up, the right coordinate alignment in the right direction, the knowledge of all the technology – these are the elements that will form the basis of your success.
  • CNC Programming and Operations – A programmer will most often use coordinates in their work and implement controls using manual machining. A programmer with a good programming skills will come in handy in CAD/CAM styles because that’s where it’s used. In addition, manual programming makes you need to understand the techniques of the field in minute detail, which teaches discipline and organization.

Improve your skills

CNC machining and CNC mill are constantly innovating. This means that you need to keep up with them if you want to learn the latest control methods. There are courses for the operator who already has experience in their field and wants to further their education. You cannot afford to lag behind the latest trends. Keep an eye on new developments and implement course and program content to new technologies accordingly. The Internet offers many solutions to gain knowledge about CNC programs. Topical social networking groups, YouTube, blogs, and educational websites are a few ways to know more. CNC machining is also very related to other topics of tooling, speeds, feeds, jigs and fixtures, work setting practices, automation and machining fluids, and much more. A great option for gaining knowledge about CNC machining and tools is a trade show. This is the place where you can not only stay up to date with the latest developments but also have the opportunity to attend workshops and seminars. You can also meet potential customers or specialists in your industry who can help you realize your orders. It is an ideal place for business and knowledge development. It is also an opportunity to meet company executives, co-founders, course vendors, products, merchandise, and many other aspects of the business. Get contacts and make them after the event. Friendships are useful in any field.


Want to work in CNC milling and learn about automation principles and different types of software to help you gain experience and your dream profession? Enroll in college or hands-on vocational courses. Remember that theory in software and mechanical engineering are only the basic elements of working in this profession. You need to take an interest in the profession and continue your education. If you have an aptitude for science and have the opportunity to obtain a programmer’s course and learn about CNC lathe construction, this profession could make you happy.