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Three Rights Make a Left
It has been my experience that the majority of SOLIDWORKS users equate learning a software to connecting points on a map. Once you know how to get from Philadelphia to New York by memory you’ve mastered that route and, likely, will not deviate from this tried and true path. It is because of this approach that myself and other industry professionals witness companies suffer from roadblocks, accidents, swerving around known potholes, stopping to ask for directions, and traffic, lots and lots of traffic.
Are there other routes to take with different benefits? Most users assume that training is a toll just to learn what they already know but instead think of it as a chance to see your options more clearly to choose a better path. There’s always going to be information you already know but seeing each road helps you better understand when to take an exit or if you’re on the right track.
Time Behind the Wheel Doesn’t Earn You A License
I worked as a Design Engineer for a decade and I assumed that Gladwell’s “10,000 hours of practice to mastery” was how I needed to obtain all my SOLIDWORKS experience. That approach left me believing there was nothing new I could possibly see in the software. After observing one training lesson from DesignPoint I realized how much time I had wasted with inefficient assembly mating practices.
That lesson was critical to expanding my understanding of the software. I’ve come to realize that knowing the concepts behind the tools in SOLIDWORKS allows me to become more agile in how and when to apply them. Now that I teach classes, I’ve heard at least one student in each training mention “That one tip was worth the whole class. I’ve been using SOLIDWORKS for 5 years and I never knew that.”
*Full disclosure, if you’re still a member of Gladwell’s school of thought, research has proven that his recipe is not a guarantee for success. Everyone learns differently and mastery comes through many disciplines. If you want to get better, it may not happen strictly by repetition. Training could help!
Long Trips Cause Soreness
I hate repeating work. I just wanted to get that off my chest. If you’re like me then becoming more efficient or learning the right way to do things is typically the path I seek. Reducing a process that takes 1 day to complete down to 4 hours will help create less stress in your day and allow you to handle more challenges. Efficiency gains, individually, have little felt effects. When you couple many of them together and share that knowledge as a team, you are creating a network of side streets and alleys that get you around faster and more nimbly. I understand that the long route still gets you to the same destination, but it can become a sore and tedious practice when repeated. It’s good to continue to push yourself to learn new ways to do the same thing because there might be a time where that main road is blocked and you have to take a detour.
Dangers of the Road Well Traveled
Experience tends to be king in the hierarchy of SOLIDWORKS users. The one who knows the most typically dictates how the job is done. These veterans are typically well seasoned users with a firm grasp on how the software works and how to best use it for the company. When a process like this exists, the one pitfall is potentially entering a feedback loop. No new knowledge is gained, and new tasks that operate beyond the scope of their current level might be done inefficiently. Training can be the tool that arms daily users with the knowledge needed to venture out in order to gain the experience those veterans already have.
Explore with Confidence
The landscape of SOLIDWORKS is vast. There are hundreds of ways to approach any problem. Daily users of SOLIDWORKS face the same conditions daily drivers do. Both require a goal with a destination, both need to react to changes along the way, and both need to maintain their vehicle. Keeping your SOLIDWORKS knowledge maintained will make your daily use easier. Knowing the basics of the software, a good array of options how to perform your tasks, and the added agility to work around obstacles affords your journey with SOLIDWORKS to be confident and comfortable. If you haven’t spoken to someone about training yet, maybe think how your journey could improve and how DesignPoint might be able to help. Remember that with DesignPoint, More is Possible®.