Getting the Most out of a SOLIDWORKS Certification
I am a firm believer in the value of certifications. I am also unquestionably convinced that a SOLIDWORKS certification makes it easier to convince someone that you are more qualified than a non-certified competitor. What am I getting at? I’m an engineer licensed by the state of Michigan, and even though Michigan doesn’t require a license for an engineer working under an industrial exemption, it gives the assurance that I at least met the minimum requirements of the State of Michigan for obtaining a PE license.
Having a PE license and being a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert made getting hired much easier than it would have been without those qualifications. So if you’re a recent college grad, looking for a first job, or looking for a career change, you likely won’t have much experience. A SOLIDWORKS certification can make all the difference – here’s why.
Your skills won’t be second-guessed
Because I have a SOLIDWORKS Expert certification, I didn’t need to take a skills test before I was hired for my current position – my company trusted that because I obtained this certification, that my skills met their requirements (I like to think they were right).
You’ll be more desirable to your interviewer
When I give the CSWA and CSWP Certification Exams to my students at Grand Rapids Community College, I remind them that having a certification won’t get you a job, but that it’s a tool they can use to help them get a job.
These along with dressing appropriately, making eye contact during your interview, listening more than you talk, etc – if you do all of these things, as well as the next best candidate, plus have a certification – there is good chance your SOLIDWORKS certification will help tip the scales in your favor.
Giving your future manager an easy way to report “I think we should go with choice #1 because they have all the same qualifications as choice #2 but we don’t have to worry about SOLIDWORKS training”, will make their job easier. Basically, if it’s easier for the hiring manager to explain why you’re the best pick, it’s easier to get hired.
Review time? It may get you a raise
Oftentimes managers dislike the yearly review process more than those being reviewed. A year can easily go by where designs have come and gone, but little measurable data has emerged to judge an employee or department by.
Imagine you’re a machine designer who has drastically improved your skills – say you can now design a machine in ⅓ the amount of time than you could during your last review. You watched a few tips and tricks presentations, moved the company towards Model Based Design, and learned how to run static simulations on all parts before sending them to manufacturing. Imagine you’ve done all of those things plus got a CSWP-MBD certification and a CSWP-Simulation certification. You can attach those certificates to your self-review form. Not only does it prove that you’ve been bettering yourself and the company, but you can also use it as supporting evidence as to why you should be getting the raise you’ve asked for.
It’s important to remember that your manager also has annual reviews (often around the same time) so having certified proof that a team has improved is a great talking point in a review.
Standing out in the digital resume pile
Finally, sometimes the day comes when it’s time to move on. Maybe you’ve just outgrown the position or perhaps what was a strong company has weakened. Whatever the case may be, as you begin to interview for your next position, you’ll no longer need to cover the experience deficit. The time you’ve been working accounts for that, but you still need to differentiate yourself and convince your next employer that, to poorly paraphrase Steve Jobs, they are hiring a smart person who can tell them what to do, not hiring a person they have to tell what to do.
Perhaps you’ve become a master of PDM and the new company doesn’t have a data management system. Because you’re a Certified PDM Professional Administrator (CPPA) your future employer can trust that you can shepherd them through the PDM implementation process in addition to your day to day duties of designing.
How to print your SOLIDWORKS Certification
If you’re looking for a first job, a raise, or a new job, being certified and attaching a certificate or two to the email containing your resume is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Below are a few screen captures and five easy steps to printing out your certificate from the SOLIDWORKS Certification Center.
About the Author
Nathan Sneller is a mechanical engineer, entrepreneur, and adjunct professor. Before joining Fisher Unitech, Nathan graduated from Michigan State University, taught Mechanical Design at Grand Rapids Community College and ran an engineering firm where he specialized in the development of electro-mechanical products. In his current role, Nathan advocates for incorporating simulation software into the design process to shorten the development cycle, improve product performance and maximum profitability.