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A welder prepares and joins a range of metals and metallic alloys using mainly processes where an electric arc is the heat source. A welder needs to be able to interpret engineering drawings, standards and symbols and correctly translate these requirements into accurate structures and fabrications.

Welders need to have a thorough knowledge of a wide range of welding equipment and processes as well as an understanding of how welding will affect the structure of the material being welded well. They need to be familiar with electricity and how it is utilized for welding.

The modern welder may specialize in one or a number of welding processes and environments. He or she may also be asked to work in exotic alloys. A welder can work in a unit or factory which produces fabrications and/or structures for industries as diverse as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, transport, marine engineering, construction, service, and leisure industries. Welders also work on site preparation, construction, and the repair and maintenance of structures. A welder can work in many locations and situations, ranging from a bench in a factory, to shipyards, power stations and off-shore structures.