9 Replies Latest reply on Jul 6, 2018 10:26 AM by Dan Golthing

    Student Licenses

    Gary Lucas

      When I started at this company a product had been started by a student using a student license and the owner did not know that the files he created would not be usable by a commercial version of SW because every file gets marked as being from a student version and watermarks any drawings it is used in.  We made converting the files to a usable version as a condition of us purchasing seats of SW as I would otherwise get SolidEdge which I had used for 10 years.  SW converted the files, and we now have 4 seats and soon to add a fifth.  Good decision.

       

      We have an engineering shortage I've heard.  Engineering schools are expensive and difficult.  I have 3 young engineers working under me, with a 4th starting soon.  Their SW are woeful at best from college.  I have to spend months of further training in the proper use of SW and they are quite slow.  Never having done real work, just student projects is simply not enough experience.  They don't learn about interfacing parts through BOMs, building libraries properly etc.

       

      So why can't we help these young engineers EARN their way through school actually using SolidWorks in an internship and summer jobs?  If a student license simply expired completely after a period covering classes and summer work and had to be renewed by the school they would learn a incredible amount more and might even be useful coming in our door instead of us having to drop $5000 to train them!

       

      Here's where this becomes interesting.  My grandson applied for a STEM program run by the county and was accepted into it instead of the regular High School.  As a freshman he learned AutoCAD, and since I use it most every day we connected over that.  Then they moved on to Inventor in the second semester.   All 3D programs are similar so again we were able to talk about how stuff gets done.  Next year he will be exposed to SolidWorks.  He's only 14 but quite mature and a straight A student.  He used his snow shoveling money to build a foosball table with an arduino scoring system for his robotics class project.  He did one heck of a job and learned about nominal sized materials, 3D printed the men and used our home CNC to cut out parts and make an enclosure for the electronics.

       

      I got my boss to agree to hire him as an intern for the summer.  He is to young to work in the shop but I actually live near him in NJ while I work in Baltimore and spend 3 days down there each week.  So I work from home each week too.  So he can work in my home office which has two desks.  I actually have a research project involving solar, plumbing, and the collecting of various data as a prelude to developing an actual product.  He will need to model the equipment and then help me purchase parts, then make some parts and build it under my supervision. Can you think of a better way for a potential engineer to spend the summer?

       

      So does he model it in Inventor which we can't use or SolidWorks, which we also won't be able to use?

        • Re: Student Licenses
          Christian Chu

          I too have a son who's going to highschool next year and he was accepted to STEM program. From the last few meetings, I haven't heard any CAD program will be used in the STEM program but for sure there will be one (the STEM building is still under  construction and next yr will be the first of the program) , The last couple yrs, my son involved heavily in the robotic class and did some 3D in Onshape and I also let him play with SW

          He's just 14  so I let him do fun thing in the summer (swim  and music which he started from the age of 3)  so he can have a fresh mind for the next 4 yrs in high school. What I did is encorage him work hard during school yrs but take big break in the summer

          • Re: Student Licenses
            Jeff Niederman

            Hi Gary,

            There is now the option of term licensing.  For example, your company can purchase a 3-month license of SOLIDWORKS Standard.  You'd have to check with your VAR for the pricing, but it will be much less investment than a perpetual seat of SOLIDWORKS..

            Thanks,

            Jeff

              • Re: Student Licenses
                Tom Gagnon

                That sounds like a win-win for both companies and interns.

                • Re: Student Licenses
                  Gary Lucas

                  The ability to get short term licenses is a good thing. I will have find out what that costs.

                   

                  I still think SolidWorks can do better.  The worry that a student using a SW student license to do paying work and thereby rducing income to SW is a baseless worry in my opinion.  In fact the engineering student doing that to pay his way through college is EXACTLY the guy I want hire!  When you are hiring you don’t want the people who can, you want the ones that do!

                  • Re: Student Licenses
                    Gary Lucas

                    I checked into this with our VAR.  Its about $850 for the 3 months of summer.  For a High School kid that is a non starter.  He has an Inventor student license that is not restricted so he is going to have to use that.  Gotta love (NOT) Autodesk, if you can't beat the competition give it away fro free!

                  • Re: Student Licenses
                    Dan Golthing

                    You kind of answered the question yourself.

                     

                    You hired engineers, not drafters.  And you hired young engineers, not experienced ones.  So you get to pay to train them.

                     

                    Many places, engineers don't ever touch CAD.  Some engineers run analysis software all day.  Others go into sales.  Many end up overseeing projects and supervising design staff.

                     

                    I'm glad I didn't learn a ton of drafting and CAD in college, because I paid for my own college and I would rather be paying for engineering courses, not drafting.

                     

                    Many students DO get some hands on during school.  But theres no way that even with that they will be ready for what you are looking for.

                     

                    Furthermore, you also answered your own question, why doesn't somebody hire these students...?  Because, they aren't worth much yet and hiring students for short time periods only means you are investing a lot of time and effort getting them up to speed and training them to meet your organization's standards.  It can be a mixed bag in doing so.  Sometimes it works out well, and also I've seen students come in and make a mess of things.

                      • Re: Student Licenses
                        Dan Golthing

                        Also, consider if your organization is organized, you will have well-defined policies and procedures including a drafting standard manual and a copy of 14.5 on the crapper just for some good reading.

                        • Re: Student Licenses
                          Gary Lucas

                          Dan,

                          I think you are missing the point here.  The student in question is my own grandson who is only 14!  I have 4 young engineers under me already, and training them is the high point of my day. My grandson was a freshman in high school this year in a STEM program.  He has had a class in AutoCAD, and in Inventor and had a Robotics class too.  Right now he is enrolled in a Pre-Calc summer class, and he will have a SolidWorks class next year.

                           

                          In 8th grade last year he got busted for what the Principal called Profiteering. At the start of the fidget spinner craze he came home from school all excited because he found something we could make on the CNC mill I built as a project to get him interested in manufacturing.  He bought cutting boards in several colors at Walmart and then wrote a CNC program using a Cam program called CamBam to cut them out.  He purchased the bearings on Ebay and deburred all the parts and pressed in the bearings.  He was spending $4 on materials and selling them for $10 and it was a lot of work.  When he realized he wasn't very good at selling he hired a popular kid to sell giving him a $1 commission on each one he sold, and the kid sold 30 in a couple of days!  When they got caught selling them in school, to some of the teachers too, my grandson got 2 days detention for good old  entrepreneurship, which I am sure the idiot principal could not spell!

                           

                          So for his robotics project as a freshman he designed a foosball table that pivots end for end to become table hockey.  He programmed an Arduino to do the scoring.  He designed the whole table as one part.  I told him it had to be modeled as an assembly like you would build it.  He redid the whole model and we went to Home Depot.  There he learned that 2x4s are not 2"x4"!  He also found out he wouldn't be able to lift it as designed and that plywood for a table isn't flat.  So he redesigned it again using a hollow core door for the table at my suggestion.  Then he cut all the parts himself, using a bandsaw, miter saw, and the CNC mill to make precision cutouts.  He wrote all the CNC code and ran the machine.  Then he printed all the foosball men on the 3D printer I got him for Christmas.  Oh yeah, he paid for the materials using his fidget profits!

                           

                          My own career has not been profitable to me.  I do turn out some damn fine engineers though!

                           

                          Gary H. Lucas

                            • Re: Student Licenses
                              Dan Golthing

                              Investing one's time in a loved-one is different from going out and looking for worthy students to mentor.  It's a noble cause, but it's difficult.  Schools are not always set up to assist in this process.  Some engineering programs have a "senior project" and they often welcome projects from industry sponsors.  I've taken advantage of this before, getting an inexpensive team to work on a small project and helping to add a little real-world experience to some student's portfolio.