42 Replies Latest reply on Apr 20, 2017 6:30 PM by David Nelson

    How long does it take to get good at solidworks?

    Eric Eubanks

      I know this is a very vague question, but I'll try to explain it as best as I can.


      I started using SW about 6 months ago. I have a 3 hour college class on weekdays. There's no lecturing you just grab a textbook and follow the instructions. There's a teacher there if I have questions, but I got tired of always bothering him so I just use the forums instead.


      I'm sure some of you have noticed I'm always asking questions on the forums. Mostly very basic things that I feel like I should know already. How long does it take before you can do almost anything in solidworks without getting stuck multiple times a day and not knowing what to do? I just feel like I'm not very good at SW for doing it for 6 months now.

        • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
          Jim Steinmeyer

          I couldn't tell you I learn something new every day, sometimes several things. But then I have only been using it for 12 years.


          Honestly using it a only couple of hours a week makes it hard to remember how you did something. Use the student version at home a couple of times a week as well and it will help. Or was that 3 hours a day 5 days a week? If that is the case you need to stop working on new features and focus on a set of features for several different models until you get the hang of that then add something new until you have that.

          • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
            Dave Dinius

            You sure you want to open this can of worms?? Most of the power users here have been using SW for  over 10 years easy and I'm sure they will tell you they are constantly learning new things in the tool (myself included). The learning curve depends on the student. Keep following the forum, lots of good advise here. Keep pushing buttons, I've learned more by asking "what does this do?"

            • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
              Craig Schultz

              Always learning.....18+ years. 


              I just hammered through real world projects and learned the ins and outs of the software.  As you can guess, that long ago there wasn't even an "official" SW forum.  I learn better through trial and error rather than having someone tell me anyway. 


              Don't be afraid to ask the questions, but make a solid effort of figuring it out on your own.  It's only going to help you in the end.  If you can use the license at home, try modelling some basic stuff laying around.  Then try approaching it from a different set up/approach.  If you can't use it at home, see if you can put in more time in the lab during non-class hours.

              • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                Jeff Holliday

                That's a great question that unfortunately has no great answer.


                I certainly would not want to pay money for a college-level class that relied heavily on following a book. That being said, you're certainly making a better attempt than someone who just starts playing with the software and manages to make something. One of the big time wastes is to have to relearn something and break bad habits that need not to have been made in the first place.


                This forum is a great place to ask questions - many knowledgeable people willing to help others. One of the best ways to get a good answer is to frame a question in a way that shows you are looking to learn something instead of just trying to get a problem solved immediately for a grade or to deliver a product the easiest way possible. Do not be afraid of asking the questions.


                6 months can give a great deal of knowledge. I would suggest trying the sample test for the CSWA certification test. It should not cost anything to do that and it can be downloaded from the Certification area of the SW Customer Portal.


                A shameless plug from a User Group Leader - look for a SW User Group to attend. A lot of us are SW-geeks who are willing to share anything we have learned.

                • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                  Ryan Dark

                  I think this might answer your question:

                  • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                    Jim Steinmeyer

                    As Craig  said, the best way to learn is to try different things. If you can't figure something out after a few attempts you can ask and when you get the answer it will stick with you better.

                    • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                      William Irvine

                      Hello Eric

                      I have been using SW for just 4 + 1/2 months and I use it 8+hrs a day, when i started i used a lot of online tutorials, you will find tutorials to cover every aspect of SW possible. One great resource that i still use a lot is lynda.com.

                      This link could potentially be useful: SOLIDWORKS 2016 Essential Training

                      Having said that, i have also completed the InterCAD SW approved training course (https://intercad.com.au/trainings-sessions/3d-cad/solidworks-foundations/ and i found that this gave me a solid structure or foundation to follow when modelling. This is crucial i think if you intend to use the software a lot.
                      Hope this helps, and start with the basics, make sure you have them down properly before you go more advanced.




                      • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                        Steven Mills

                        My own answer to that - about 40% of the time it would take to learn ProE/Cleo/Wildfire to the same skill level. Once had an employer ask what the difference between them were, and I answered, "Solidworks take more computer hardware, but ProE takes 2 or even 3 times as much to learn. It depends on which you want to invest in more, computer hardware or training."


                        Honestly, look ahead in the text book and do the exercises ahead of the class. Then help the teacher teach others who have not caught up, it's what I did. And when your done with the class courses, do real projects and even doodle in SW. You can learn quick. May even find things that SW was not really made to do. And even after you do all that, remember this fact, "Most people only use about 10 percent of any programs functions." If your actually using 15%, your doing more than most everyone else is. SolidWorks is a big program with a lot of tools and functions.


                        Heh, sorry for long tangent. Just started answering the question and kept going.

                        • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                          David Nelson

                          Last 3 years everyday all day at work.  Did have a college class but was taught more bad habits than good.  I have learned a lot just reading the Forums here.  I also have done all the tutorials Solid works has or should say all I have found.  Cause I constantly find more.


                          As has been said I learn something new each and every day.



                          Still feel like a rookie.

                          • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                            Tony Cantrell

                            Honestly it depends on you and your instructions, either from a teacher or text books or you tube or websites. I could say that in 1 month you would be proficient or maybe 6 months, but as others have said we all are still learning. (started using it in 1999)

                            • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                              Roland Schwarz

                              Like my old guitar sensei Vic would say: It's not the years of playing; it's the hours of practice.

                              • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                Jim Paige

                                I'm a big fan of learning by doing. Formal training is good but it's tough to retain all that is presented over such a short period of time.  Use the tutorials, online resources, SWX forums, local user groups.  I've been using SWX since 2004 and learn new stuff all the time which helps to keep it fresh and interesting.  Get out of your comfort zone and keep learning.  Good luck!

                                • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                  Michael Lord

                                  I'm a great believer in the 10,000 rule!

                                  The principle holds that 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice" are needed to become world-class in any field

                                  Lets say we take an average of people employed working with SOLIDWORKS

                                  6hours a day x 5days a week=30hours

                                  10,000/ by 30=333 week

                                  333/ by 4=83months


                                  That sounds about right.  Like most I'm 12years in and there are still things to learn.

                                  Nothing beats persistence.  Sitting in front of your computer working away in SOLIDWORKS.  

                                  Never give up!  You will get there.

                                  • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                    John Stoltzfus

                                    (1997) and still realizing that I don't know a whole lot about SW, I know almost nothing in Plastics, Electrical, API, Simulation, however a little bit in Surfacing etc...


                                    Set an item on my desk, I would be able to get it really close realistically, but don't look at my feature tree


                                    So how long to learn depends on your comprehension and ability to learn.  I will always suggest to figure out on your own why things don't work, long before you come to the forum and have someone do it for you, there are help files and most likely there are answers to every question on the forum.  But do yourself a huge favor, something goes wrong, figure it out, sometimes it's best to walk away and re-visit later, that is the quickest way to learn.


                                    Figure out how SW works for the industry you're in.  I was in fabrication for many years 1985-2014 and now I'm designing furniture, different animal, same tools. So in the last 3 years I had to pick up a lot of different stuff that works for our company, the models I produced in the past were most static models very little need for parametric changes, but now my design intent must be parametric and easy to change, which created an entirely different approach and a different working model (design intent)


                                    Wish you the best

                                    • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                      Fraser Port

                                      After using it for 21 years I still find ways to do things better and quicker.

                                      I like to checkout parts modeled by others (those with some good experience) and then go down the tree step by step to see how it was done.

                                      • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                        S. Casale

                                        It took me half a day an I was amazing.

                                        • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                          Paul Risley



                                          What is your criteria for "Good"?


                                          Are you basing this on model parts, assemblies, sheet metal, weldments, surfacing?


                                          College is intended to give you broad stroke of cad and then hone your skills by which field you actually go into. We work occasionally with our local college and the thing that I stress is understanding more than "skill". If you understand how mechanisms work that is better than being the fastest crayola in the box.


                                          My overall question to you would be if you are working the software 3 hours a day 5 days a week where do you think you are not getting to where you think you should be?


                                          As others have stated after years you still learn new things.


                                          As far as"bothering" your teacher, do it, bother them until you get the answer that satisfies the question. This is a skill that is required in the design field no matter where you go. Asking questions from the veteran designer in your office is going to be a mainstay for you wherever you go, so get used to and comfortable asking your teacher.(Their job is to answer your question). Also the teacher can only gauge your progression based on the work you turn in AND by the questions you are asking.(We hire interns from our local college, and this is one of the areas of conversation that comes up with the instructor for the program.)

                                          • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                            Dennis Dohogne

                                            Class = Can be very good (depending on the teacher)

                                            Forums = Very good (depending on the information supplied and tone of the question)

                                            Built-in Tutorials (go to SWX Help then find the tutorials) = Very good


                                            A lot of the things that will affect how quickly to "get it" are decided by you:

                                              Are you "mechanically minded"?

                                              Do you have any experience with a mill or a lathe?

                                              Do you have any experience with other CAD systems?

                                              Are you open-minded and curious?

                                              Are you willing to do the work?


                                            I cannot answer these for you and they are not all requirements, but I suspect from your interactions here on the forum that the answer to the last two questions, which are the most important ones, is yes.  Good for you!


                                            Nobody has stressed the tutorials so I will.  These are actually perfect to do on your home computer since speed isn't required.  You will be doing some reading and thinking so even if you have to wait on the computer you'll hardly notice.


                                            Also, make liberal use of the SWX Help.  If you cannot find what you are looking for then try a synonym.

                                              • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                                Dan Golthing

                                                Good point, if one is not "mechanically minded" this may never click.


                                                Another good point, sometimes learning for learning's sake IS NOT the way to go.


                                                It may be better to have a project that you do in SWX and the need to complete the project forces you to learn the software as a "secondary" objective.

                                                  • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                                    Bjorn Sorenson

                                                    "It may be better to have a project that you do in SWX and the need to complete the project forces you to learn the software as a "secondary" objective."

                                                    This.  Being "good at SolidWorks" is a hollow objective.  Being able to model the kinds of things you are interested in because it is a path to turning your ideas into physical reality is what it's really all about (SW and SW models are merely a means to an end).

                                                    From books and tutorials, you will learn what the software can do.  From creating your own projects and solving your own problems you will get "good" at making the software do what you want it to do.

                                                    Start with a simple object around the house that captures your interest for whatever reason and try to model it.  Could you make it even better somehow?  Then do the same for gradually more complex objects.

                                                • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                                  S. Casale

                                                  In a serious reply to the question. How long it takes seems to be a fairly vague question. I, as an example, am good (maybe) but haven't try certification- as I haven't time. I suppose that would be the best gauge.


                                                  It's really hard to gauge what is considered being good with SolidWorks. For me, I was schooled on ACAD, Revit, and Inventor (among some of the softwares I've used professionally) and became proficient fairly quickly. A step into SolidWorks was very easy, for me.


                                                  Everyone is going to be different depending on their occupational backgrounds, intelligence and all other Freudian or psychological dispositions. Don't be crazy - general rule everywhere.


                                                  Lastly, SolidWorks of all I have used seems to be the most user friendly and the best software to teach new users on.

                                                  • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                                    Christian Chu

                                                    Not sure how to judge the "good level" here.

                                                    once can be expert in plastic but knows nothing about sheet metal - how to judge this guy's SW skill?

                                                    I think it depends on your industry, if you'rel  comfortable (productive) to do your daily basic job with your SW skill, then you're good at this point - Anything beyond this point can push you up to "expert" level

                                                    Back to original question: be "good" on everything, I believe it'd take a long, long time !!! and it doesn't matter how good you are, still thing to learn !!!!

                                                    • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                                      Dan Golthing



                                                      The first thing that is a HUGE problem is that the student version is that of a newer version.  I understand they want you to learn with the latest software, but it is way more complicated than when many of us learned.


                                                      I learned on a bootleg copy of '98.  I taught myself and was productive in minutes.  That actually helped me get a very good job, having the basics of SolidWorks under my belt.  They asked if I knew SolidWorks, I said "yes".  I knew enough to get by.  Then a year or two down the road I looked at the stuff I did in my first year and couldn't believe all the stupid stuff I did.  Much of it, people with years and years of experience still do.


                                                      I would advise that you turn off all add-ons and try to avoid any advanced modeling until you have a firm grasp on the basics.  Advanced stuff like sheetmetal, weldments, in-context modeling, design tables and equations, etc. should be used once you have the basics mastered.  Don't let all the fluff distract you from the core functionality of the product.


                                                      When I teach somebody its:  PARTS, ASSEMBLIES, DRAWINGS  That's it.  The advanced stuff comes later.


                                                      Next, what's good?  Practically everybody that uses SolidWorks considers themselves to be experts.  But actually few are.  You're probably doing the right thing by coming here, getting a variety of advice, and choosing what's best for you.

                                                      • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                                        Deepak Gupta

                                                        In my opinion it's hard to get good on any software even after using for a long time. Rather one need to be good at his/her skills and ability to use the software (I prefer to call that as tool). I've been using SW for over 10 years now but I think I do not know more than 50% of it but I try to learn/experiments with different tools/options it has. So never kill your thoughts and learning process. Always ask when in trouble and share your skills with other when you can.

                                                        • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                                          John Stoltzfus

                                                          Can you find an experienced SW user in your area, always try to work with the best guy in your area, in your company etc... - don't mind their attitude or their demeanor, find out everything you possibly can and why it's important, don't just read SOP's, find out why. 

                                                          • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                                            Chris Dordoni

                                                            I would agree on all points listed already. I would reiterate that sketches are the basis for much of the work done in SolidWorks. In general I  would say learning the need for a 3D sketch vs a 2D sketch is somewhat critical, particularly if you are doing surfacing as opposed to box-like forms. In that case learning to set tangencies or curvature conditions from a 3D sketch to a surface is pretty essential. You can't do that with a 2D sketch (at least in my experience). But as others have said, you always can learn something new or that you've been doing it the "wrong" way for years.


                                                            Additionally, constraints or relations applied with sketches are the basis for making features parametric, essential if you want to be able create variations on size or hole placement in the future (ie. modular parts).

                                                            • Re: How long does it take to get good at solidworks?
                                                              David Nelson

                                                              Had to throw this out there.  It may not be you if you do not seem to be learning.  Many who teach at school just barely know the program themselves.  Mine was good at AutoCAD but also taught Solidworks..  Before the end of my 1st term with it he was asking me how I was doing stuff that I turned into him.  There were two of us that picked it up fast and we each taught the other.  I did a bunch of the tutorials cause I was getting the class work don ahead of time.  That helped me to get even faster.


                                                              I will say that instructor kept learning and now has most of the Solidworks certificates.