6 Replies Latest reply on Jul 25, 2014 3:45 AM by Deepak Gupta

    Companies Offering Training?

    David Luzader



      I'm new to this forum and new to Solidworks. I have some CAD experience in software such as Alibre Design, Inventor, and NX 8. I am looking to learn Solidworks however. My question is, does anyone know of any companies in the U.S. that offer something like an apprenticeship in Solidworks design? I have taken some machining and CAD classes at technical school, and find plenty of companies offering training/apprenticeships on the machining/manufacturing end. But very few who offer anything like that in the CAD/design end of the process. Most of the jobs I see for CAD are geared for those who are already established with years of experience.


      Thanks for any information.



        • Re: Companies Offering Training?
          Mike Agan

          Have you looked at community colleges?

            • Re: Companies Offering Training?
              David Luzader

              Thank you for your response.


              Yes I have. The one I attended had a basic CAD program, but the most of the school's resources were on the machining / manufacturing programs. They did not use Solidworks software either. It left a lot to be desired, but I didn't know what to look for in a program when I signed up. There are a couple of other community colleges nearby that may offer a better experience and more business contacts. I have worked in the industry in a co-op position for a year, where I did some CAD work. Though the company did not use Solidworks, I learned there that it was the industry standard.

            • Re: Companies Offering Training?
              John Burrill

              When I wanted to learn SolidWorks, I went to work for a VAR as an AutoCAD support tech.  I had a good ammount of experience in CAD but my employer didn't show any indications of using more sophisticated design tools.  So I was at an impasse.

              Our AutoCAD dealer was also a SolidWorks reseller and they needed someone to field support calls and keep the architects happy.  Even though I wasn't put directly in SolidWorks, I had access to the software, courseware and the people from SolidWorks.  I took my certification exams there, started supporting the software and and demonstrating it to new clients for the sales team.

              While some may argue that working for a dealer doesn't prepare you for the problem solving environment you'll find in the actual manufacturing, I found the opposite to be true.  not only did I gain inside technical insights directly from SolidWorks employees, I dealt with people from many different industries and in explaining how to use the  software for their specific circumstances, I gained understanding of manufacturing priorities and pipelines.  The pay wasn't great, but it was certainly better than what interns make.

              After a couple of years, I went back to engineering and I did struggle on a couple of things like GD&T and molded part design but if you have one form of valuable expertise, people will usually help you level up.

              The reasons you don't see a lot of internship programs for CAD are varied, complex and sometimes infuriating.  The worst of it comes from the assumption that CAD is a commodity skill like working a paperclip and that you should have learned it in the womb.  Usually the people who take this view don't use CAD themselves but figure it can't be too different from Photoshop.  There's the economic reality: engineering is under pressure to downsize, eliminate support positions and operate as part of sales and manufacturing so CAD and documentation are no longer a seperate department with their own budgets and training programs. There's the reality that a lot of companies are using internships as free labor, bringing in college students and making them do physical inventory until  they get thrown a box of CAD software and a set of design specs.

              There's an inaccurate assumption that you can go from one CAD system to another without much difficulty-which ignores the fact that no two organizations implement CAD the same way, have the same stake-holders or priorities and no two companies have the same level of integration among CAD, manufacturing and ERP.  Saying you can go from one CAD platform to another without training and guidance is like saying if you have good manners, you can move from Dallas to Tehran with only YouTube videos to guide you.  Finally, companies aren't offering formal internships for CAD because institutional knowledge has erroded from the last 10 years of turnover and business mergers and just-in-time talent aquisition.

              Look, here's the thing.  It's going to cost a company $3K to train you up at a reseller.  Even today, that's not a whole lot of money in terms of an engineers value and salary and CAD is really a pretty small part of your job description.  Having identical CAD version and brand experience as the company is a convenience bordering on a nicety. If you're interviewing with someone who bickers at the training cost when you're otherwise the best one for the job, then these people don't know what they're doing.

                • Re: Companies Offering Training?
                  David Luzader

                  Thanks a lot for the reponse. That is good information. The situation at my last job was similar. It was meant to be a learning/work experience where I could get some solid one-to-one training in design and using CAD software, among other things. In many ways it was this, just not so much in CAD. I had specified that was what I wanted to focus on, and it seemed like it would work out well at first. But I soon realized CAD was not a big part of what they did in house. The software they had was out of date, and there was hardly anyone still with the company that even knew anything about the software. There didn't seem to be much of a push to upgrade to anything better either. I had a few subpar tutorials to work from (nothing like the wealth of information the Solidworks community offers) and various requests to draw this or that. I got through most of the projects handed to me, but didn't come away feeling as though I had learned much about the software without any real guidance in it. Sometimes there would be no application for what I was doing in the tutorials, and drawing ended up being a rather small part of my job. (It ended up being more of a quality support role, marking up prints in Discus software and generating reports. Good to know that end of the process, but not what I signed up to do.)


                  I know what you mean with people thinking you can go from one CAD system to another without difficulty. I even had people at school and work tell me that. They seemed to think that because I had some limited experience with Inventor and Bobcad that I could sit for two weeks with tutorials for Alibre Design and Esprit and be good to go. Clearly not the case. But at the time I didn't know any better so I gave it a shot.


                  The reseller route sounds interesting. I can see how that would give you insight into how the software is used in different industries. There is a local reseller I've looked at in the past, though when I checked I was mostly checking out their training classes. I didn't go for those, as I figured without a job or some other outlet where I'm dealing with the software daily, a four day class would have little lasting impact. I am looking at getting a student version of Solidworks however, which would provide that access.


                  Thanks again for all the information and tips. Very informative.

                • Re: Companies Offering Training?
                  Tom Schrei

                  Hawk Ridge Sytems specialzies in SOlidworks training. Completed a course in a week. It will get you started with the basics, then just You Tube.