Can AutoCAD Training Make You a Better Engineer?
We usually talk about software and hardware when looking at ways to optimize AutoCAD performance, but what about us designers and engineers? At some point, we need to take responsibility for the skills we bring to our technology.
Part of that responsibility is taking the right amount of training to keep up with new features and functions in AutoCAD. There are several options available, and I’ll attempt to outline the pros and cons of each one.
Tools for Self-starters
A great place to start are the short “getting started” videos that are posted online with each new version of AutoCAD. There are 11 videos available for AutoCAD 2012, for example, totaling a little over 30 minutes. While these are a good quick-hit, they assume proficient knowledge in older versions of AutoCAD.
The same is true for AutoCAD tutorials, which cover more getting started topics, specific AutoCAD features, and 3D modeling with AutoCAD. The tutorials are archived for a couple of years, so you can ramp up on older versions if necessary.
If you want more depth and don’t need video to see what’s going on, Autodesk works with two publishing partners — ASCENT and Sybex, an imprint of Wiley Publishing — to produce Official Training Guides for current and recent product versions.
For more focused training with live instructors, Autodesk offers 216 Authorized Training Centers (ATC) in 42 states, and many more worldwide. You can choose specific classes at the right skill level to meet your specific needs. This can be great for companies located close to the ATCs, but there’s obviously an added expense for businesses that have to send employees and put them up in a hotel.
Another benefit of studying at an ATC is that you can earn credits for mandatory Continuing Education classes and other professional development programs. Many professional associations, like American Institute of Architects (AIA), accept ATC courses.
You might also want to consider attending Autodesk University this year, live in Las Vegas or online from November 29 through December 1. You can choose from more than 650 classes on topics ranging from innovation strategies, web, cloud, and mobile technologies, workflows and process, visualization, sustainability, change management, and design leadership, plus intermediate and advanced classes on the latest Autodesk products and suites. (We’ll share more about this event in coming posts).
For companies with multiple offices, multiple Autodesk products, or other complex training requirements, Autodesk offers custom training programs. Fill out this form to see if custom training is right for your business.
While I always like to go directly to the source for CAD/CAM training, there’s one big exception: the people in your office. Designers and engineers who work together can often be the best teachers, especially when your company has specific ways of doing things. Make an effort to create and maintain an AutoCAD knowledge base within your company, so veteran employees can pass along valuable information to new hires and younger workers. This is a good idea no matter what kind of external training you get.
With so many AutoCAD training options available to you, there’s no excuse not to perform at your best. Let me know what training resources you’ve used or plan to use to stay proficient in AutoCAD. I want to hear about all your experiences!