There are over 300,000 certified SOLIDWORKS users worldwide, and this summer two SOLIDWORKS interns in the Waltham office were added to their number.
Maxime Boyer and Marta Puig García-Capelo are international students who spent their summer in the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab. They are also two of the newest Certified SOLIDWORKS Associates (CSWA). During the year, Maxime attends Estaca in France, where he’s an engineering student specializing in aerospace and airplane construction. This summer, he helped the SOLIDWORKS xDesign team test their product. Marta is a fourth year student at Institut Químic de Sarrià (IQS) in Spain, where she’s majoring in industrial engineering and business management, and her internship focused on SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids. Both also worked in the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab in Waltham, assisting DASSAULT SYSTEMES employees with projects and working on their own.
Maxime and Marta learned about SOLIDWORKS certification from different sources: Maxime discovered certification during his internship, while Marta knew about it through school (the year below her recently implemented the CSWA as an optional exam). Both students are already well versed in SOLIDWORKS from their school work, so getting certified while working at the company was a no-brainer. They buckled down and started studying.
“I have at least one year’s experience using SOLIDWORKS. At my school, even though there is no CSWA, there are lessons that [correspond to] the same things you need to know for the CSWA,” explained Maxime. “Along with my previous knowledge, I think all together I spent ten hours studying for the CSWA.”
“I practiced with study guide books and video tutorials on the internet,” Marta said. “We also used tutorials within SOLIDWORKS.” Maxime and Marta were not allowed to use MySolidWorks to study for the exam—testing MySolidWorks was part of their internships, and they had very specific instructions for what to do and what not to do with its features—but they are both excited to utilize the MySolidWorks community and its 600+ tutorials in the future.
The next step Marta and Maxime took was taking the practice CSWA exam together. The practice exam mimics the conditions of the actual exam, but it’s much shorter at 45 minutes long. And, spoiler alert, both interns failed.
“It was like going into something we didn’t know about; we were lost inside the sample exam. The timing was quick, quick!” said Maxime, snapping his fingers. “The real test was easier [after taking the practice exam]. We were better prepared to answer questions and make parts.”
“We recommend taking the sample exam before the CSWA so you can see how it goes,” said Marta.
Marta and Maxime agreed that taking the practice exam was excellent preparation for the real one, and even made the actual CSWA exam less intimidating. While the practice exam is 45 minutes, the real exam is three hours, and both Maxime and Marta felt that with all their hours of practice they were better equipped to succeed. In fact, Maxime finished the exam with an hour to spare! And, spoiler alert again, they both passed.
“I was very excited; I was like ‘Whoo!’” laughed Marta. “It was very satisfying.”
Maxime echoed her, saying, “I was so happy, and proud too.”
Both of them now have plans to earn more SOLIDWORKS certifications. “[Certifications] are worth it,” said Marta. “If you’re an engineer, it’s a must.”
“A lot of people spend a lot of time in SOLIDWORKS, but they don’t have anything to prove they’re good at it. They just put ‘SOLIDWORKS, four stars out of five,’ on their resumes. But there is nothing official. With a certification, you have proof of your expertise,” said Maxime.
I asked them if they had any tips for other SOLIDWORKS users interested in getting certified. Their advice? “Practice, practice, practice!” exclaimed Maxime. “And be prepared. It’s a very long test, three hours on a computer. The blue light can be tiring.”
“Practice and be optimistic,” suggested Marta. “Be sure you’re familiar with the computer you’re using, your phone is off, and practice a lot and take the sample exam. Do as much as you can and when you feel ready, just take it.”
Thank you to Maxime Boyer and Marta Puig García-Capelo for taking the time to talk to me about SOLIDWORKS certifications. We wish them the best of luck in the new school year!