My final week!
I am now in the final week of my placement at Innova Systems; the last 12 weeks have flown by. I have really enjoyed my summer placement and learnt so much that will be useful to me at University and future work. The environment at Innova Systems is hard working and enthusiastic, making it a great place to work. The technical team have been supportive and taken an interest in helping to develop my SOLIDWORKS skills. After the initial hesitation (possibly panic) I have enjoyed working alongside customers answering support queries. Responding to customers has shown me the diverse uses of SOLIDWORKS and taught me to be concise and clear when working under pressure.
For the past 12 weeks I followed the Expert level Certification process to develop my skill set, with the challenge of achieving Expert. Although I have covered many areas when following this process, there are areas which I have only had a brief introduction to (such as Simulation, Visualise and Routing). When going through each stage, the technical team were able to point out key tips for each topic. For example, when working with symmetry, it is best to mirror the feature rather than model both sides, as this reduces the design time.
The Expert certification uses knowledge from all of the previous certifications to test that you are well rounded in SOLIDWORKS. To prepare for the certification I refreshed my memory during the past few weeks using the Essentials manual and the individual specialised manuals. Working through the Assembly Modelling and Advanced Part modelling manuals was also very useful. Currently there are 2678 Expert Users worldwide with 444 of those being based in the UK. To put this in perspective 134,263 users have taken the associate exam, of these, under 2 percent of users have passed the Expert certification. Unlike the previous certification exams there is no sample exam provided, so it is a matter of being comfortable with the software and being able to answer any challenge that may arise. Before taking the exam the statistics were not encouraging!
I took the CSWE during the last week of my placement – it is a four hour exam, since it takes half the day I would recommend allocating time for it so you won’t be disturbed. The exam had at least one question on each area of the specialised topics and the passing grade was 80% – the highest of all the certifications! I found this certification more straightforward then some of the specialised exams but I had allowed myself -practice time to use the software so I felt comfortable with it. To anyone thinking of taking this certification I would recommend using SOLIDWORKS frequently so you are happy using all the tools. Using a variety of shortcut keys will help to speed up the modelling process so you have more time to think about the question.
I can now say I have managed to go from Associate to Expert in the space of 12 weeks! However, I am going to take away more than just the certifications, I have developed my customer skills and a different approach to modelling, thinking about design intent before beginning modelling.
A word from Mark Bradford – Managing Director
Chloe’s work placement has covered a broad range of disciplines with our technical team. First and foremost, we have seen a great appetite from Chloe to learn SOLIDWORKS Software and progress through all the Certifications that exist for all users. Secondly we have seen her integrate nicely with our team of experts – learning alongside them and understanding first-hand the pressure our customers are under to get their problem solved quickly and efficiently. Thirdly, she has seen the very diverse range of problems that are solved in a broad range of industries and products. Chloe is acutely aware of how serious we are about being an natural extension of our customers and providing exceptional service.
We are pleased that Chloe has enjoyed her very real work experience with us, and she can head back to University and easily be the most qualified SOLIDWORKS user there. We wish her all the best for her degree!