The Difference SOLIDWORKS Training Makes: From Zero to CSW-hEro

Article by Alaa Hosn updated January 26, 2024

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It is not easy to pick up a new skill but when we do, it takes practice and patience to become an expert in anything. SOLIDWORKS is no different. Sometimes users are lucky enough to go through a college course and get a basic understanding of SOLIDWORKS, but for others like me, I have had to figure out the fundamentals on my own. I was able to stumble my way through most times but I am certain I would not be a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert (CSWE) without the guidance from experienced, knowledgeable, SOLIDWORKS training instructors from TriMech.

SOLIDWORKS Training begins with tutorials

Tutorials window

I began my SOLIDWORKS journey using the basic SOLIDWORKS tutorials. This was a great place to get started for many reasons. The SOLIDWORKS tutorials include a wide range of topics from entry-level to more advanced lessons. Furthermore, to help users learn the user interface easier and faster, any icon in the tutorials window with an orange box around it can be selected to have SOLIDWORKS show where in the user interface that command icons exist. Another benefit of the built in tutorials is that I was able to learn and practice at my own pace.

It was not long until I hit my limits with a few of the SOLIDWORKS tutorials. This eventually led me to YouTube. While on YouTube, I was able to find what I needed for some topics after lots of searching, but this was not always the case. Most times I would find myself filtering through videos only to find that they are using a much older version of SOLIDWORKS, or even worse, they are not even speaking the same language! Whenever I had questions about the content, I was never able to get a response from the creator of the content.

SOLIDWORKS Training Gives You An Edge

After exhausting resources on SOLIDWORKS tutorials and YouTube, the only thing left for me was blogs. I enjoyed the different viewpoints provided in each blog and most times you can find additional information when reading multiple blogs about the same topic. I find blogs to be a great resource for advanced topics, but the lack of ability to ask questions has always hindered my ability to fully understand some topics.

This is where I hit my wall. Once I began taking SOLIDWORKS training courses at TriMech the difference was immediately noticeable. The things that stood out to me were the following:

Learning good habits: Looking back at previous designs, I see a lot of areas where I applied poor workflows or habits. From having under-defined sketches to excessive features in the tree that could have been reduced. I never realized all the bad habits I had built up along the way. While practice does make perfect, practice also makes habits. Practicing using the proper techniques I learned from training has improved my habits and has made me more efficient with my design intents.

The tips and tricks: I learned new shortcuts that I was able to use immediately. Whether it was while discussing sketches, parts, assemblies or drawings, the instructor was sharing a variety of tricks acquired from their years of experience. One tip I learned while discussing parts was to double-click on a surface when the extrude boss command is active, this will set an up-to-surface end condition without having to change it manually in the field within the PropertyManager tab.

Tip when extruding

Instructors have seen it all: This holds even more true for advanced classes like Flow Simulation. Instructors have taught students in many different industries that use tools in all sorts of ways. From the discussions with past students, instructors can give additional insight on certain techniques that work best or common pitfalls in workflows related to specific industries.

Other student questions: Another value to in-person training is the questions that other users come up with. I have heard a lot of great questions that I would have never considered. Being able to hear these questions, and the opportunity to piggyback off them helps better understand the capabilities and limitations of the software.

After piecing together all the things I learned from multiple resources, I finally felt ready to attempt my Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP) exam. Once my CSWP was completed, I then earned four out of five advanced exams to be eligible to take the CSWE exam. The advanced exams include sheet metal, weldments, surfacing, drawing tools, and mold making. I chose to skip mold making. The final step in preparing for the CSWE was to load up on exam guides and practice tests. Many good resources for the CSWE are available online, but without training, I would have never been ready to explore those resources.

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Alaa Hosn

Alaa is a Solutions Consultant who has been part of the TriMech team since 2018. He started in support and built a solid foundation on how to diagnose and troubleshoot SOLIDWORKS and Electrical issues covering all ranges of topics from installations to performance issues. Alaa is based in Richmond, VA and has a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech. He has earned his CSWE among other SOLIDWORKS certifications and continues to achieve more!