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what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

(OP)
Got asked by a student today if I would consider myself a skilled CAD user. Not really related to the subject at hand and they've never seen any of my CAD work... My answer was that yes, I would consider myself a skilled CAD user. But it got me thinking. What makes one a "skilled" or "expert" CAD user? Myself I'm fairly skilled when it comes to using CAD for mechanical design but I've never seriously tried modelling a car from 2D views so wouldn't say I'm very skilled when it comes to the more artistic use of surfaces which can sometimes be seen at sites such as grabcad.com.
So not sure if I would say I'm an "expert", at least not in absolute terms. But really, what makes one an "expert"? What does it take to be able to say you're "skilled"? Can it be expressed in absolute terms or is it all relative by nature?

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

I would be inclined to say it's a relative term. There must be a mixture of accuracy and speed, with accuracy holding a lot of the weight.

In our office, there are designers, and there are CAD techs. The best CAD guys are the ones that think the details through while they're creating them instead of blindly following markups.

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

Skilled that you can use the software efficiently and able to figure out stuff on your own.
Expert is you know most, if not all, features and commands and can train other users.
IMO

Chris, CSWP
SolidWorks '16
ctophers home
SolidWorks Legion

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

Experience! Experience! Experience!

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Digital Factory
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

One old timer always told me an "ExPert" is a drip under pressure.

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

I thought an "Exspurt" was a person who used to have a skill (ex-) but is still willing to tell you all about it (-spurt).

I would take little pride in being a "CAD expert". That could mean I have tried every command in one software package, or that can train people to use a variety of CAD interfaces. That's too vague.
That said I have 12,000 hours experience using AutoCAD and about 3000 in Inventor - but what I am really proud of are the complete design packages I can produce. The color of the pixels doesn't matter as much.

STF

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

I have 38+ years using UG/NX, back from when CAD was still 'steam-powered' (to see what it was like back then, check out the 'museum' link in my signature below).

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Digital Factory
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

PerKr,

My crude rule of thumb about any high end computer application is that you learn and use about ten percent of its capability. Someone else on this forum, claiming to be an expert, also will learn and use ten percent of the application's capability, but not necessarily the same ten percent you did. They have a different job to do.

I have been on SolidWorks for the last fifteen years. Mostly, I design machined and sheet metal parts, and I prepare all the drawings. I am good at this. I have done some weldments and some cool looking, curved mouldings, but I am not as good at this.

I have no certificates that indicate I am anything other than trained by a VAR.

You don't get very far in SolidWorks without having to interact with the outside world, particularly your fabricators and your end users. If it were me running the job interviews, I would not be looking for a CAD expert. I would look for a design expert with good communication, reading and comprehension skills. CAD is user friendly, and a person with the above qualifications should no problems figuring it out.

--
JHG

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

CAD is a visual language used to communicate a concept. An expert in a spoken or written language is very good at communicating in that format, they have excellent vocabulary and use proper spelling, grammar, sentence structure, inflection, overall structure, etc to communicate their concepts in the simplest, clearest, un-ambiguous, elegant and convincing manner possible - leaving no doubt as to their skill level and understanding of the subject matter as well as the details of their concept. An person expert CAD person does the same with another tool.

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

CAD is not a language, it is a tool.

The rules & practices of drafting are arguably a language.

There are plenty of people that are great with the tool but can't create a good drawing/MBD package or a fundamentally good design. They may be expert CAD users but they are of limited use in most companies unless you are perhaps selling CAD or have enough folks that you have your own in house experts.

What students should be learning is good drafting (including MBD if appropriate) and an example of a CAD tool used to achieve that end goal.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?


Kenat is correct - CAD is a tool, nothing more.

An "Expert CAD User" is NOT one who can wiz through producing a virtual model using all of the available methods provided by the software.

An "Expert CAD User" IS one who can produce a virtual model AND clearly convey its description to those who are tasked with producing the real physical end product.

I have worked with AutoCAD since 1985. I have seen the evolution of CAD in the construction industry and witnessed the creation of virtual models of buildings and the like. I have worked with folks who can produce that model in short order, yet their end product falls flat when conveying the information needed to actually construct it. I work from drawings produced by A/E firms with mega-million dollar IT budgets putting out beautiful drawings. Yet the information needed to construct is poorly conveyed. Too often the CAD user has no clue what information/dimensions are most useful to the person with the tape measure & hammer. Which it turn spawns literally hundreds of RFIs and ASIs over the course of a project.

The "Expert CAD User" must be able to see the end result of his/her labors through the eyes of the craftsmen who make it a reality.

Just MNTBHO.

Ralph
Structures Consulting
Northeast USA

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

I am CAD expert comparing to some of my colleagues, but I am not even close comparing to JohnRBaker... so am I CAD expert or not?

_____________________________
Enjoy your work and have fun!

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

Most companies have their own expert.
If you want to see if you are an expert, take the CSWE test. thumbsup2

Chris, CSWP
SolidWorks '16
ctophers home
SolidWorks Legion

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?


Quote (IvanNX)


I am CAD expert comparing to some of my colleagues, but I am not even close comparing to JohnRBaker... so am I CAD expert or not?

If what you design/detail/draw/model gets assembled/built with the output you produce without any questions as to intent or dimensions, then in my book you're an "Expert".

Ralph
Structures Consulting
Northeast USA

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

Quote (RTHPE)

If what you design/detail/draw/model gets assembled/built with the output you produce without any questions as to intent or dimensions, then in my book you're an "Expert".
On that side, I was working in wind tunnel model design/technology lab/prototype workshop for almost 12 years, and in these 12 years almost all I designed, detailed, modeled and draw was produced, assembled and used. But I am not working there any more...
And it is always somebody who is more expert in something than you, like there is people who know more about materials, more about stress, more about product, more about CAD tool... point of being expert in my humble opinion is that you are almost know-it-all in your current workplace, so you can understand processes and improve them without making too much mistakes on that road. So being expert in just a CAD tool is not important if you are not CAD administrator, then you are expert, but if you work in production, being great in CAD and poor in engineering will not make you expert.
So I think that talking about knowledge and skills in meaning of expertise is important only if you are effectively using them in your work, otherwise being expert is too subjective.

_____________________________
Enjoy your work and have fun!

RE: what makes one an "expert" CAD user?

The person in your organization that knows more about your CAD software than anyone else in that organization. That will be the expert/guru.

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