SOLIDWORKS certifications are a great way to showcase and advertise your skill in SOLIDWORKS. They are also a good marker to gauge your personal development. Most companies now operate a skill development program – and this could include a certain number of these exams.
At Innova Systems, we put a huge amount of emphasis on the SOLIDWORKS certification – as it is our job to know the software inside out. All our technical support staff have a large number of certifications. We find that it is a great measure of skill and the preparation is also a really good way to learn the software.
There are 12 individual exams that SOLIDWORKS users can take, ranging from specific exams in Sheet Metal to a generic one for the creation of drawings. The most recognised of these is the Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (or CSWP) exam. This has been split into 3 1 hour exams – the first section covers part modelling, the second is on configurations, and the third covers assembly creation. All the SOLIDWORKS exams are done online through virtual tester (an online testing facility) most answers are multiple choice, or ask you to fill in specific values from the model.
The CSWP is well recognised in the USA, and seems to be getting a bit more traction in the UK of late. We have seen some employers specifying this as a requirement now on job postings, so why is it important? Firstly, it shows that you can use the software to a good level – this exam is fairly taxing for the general SOLIDWORKS user, and they are structured in such a way that you need to build a good model with design intent included from the start. Secondly, if you have the CSWP and another candidate doesn’t, then you stand out. In today’s job market, it is important to have an edge – and the CSWP or similar can give you that edge. To give you an idea of what a differentiator the CSWP and CSWE can be on your CV, there are 4450 CSWPs in the UK, and 472 CSWEs.
Innova Systems’ Technical Manager, Ed Hawkins said: “In the early days of my learning, I found them a good challenge and a great way to develop your speed (as they are timed) in the software. They also gave me a desire to learn more about different areas too. The CSWE (Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert) exam requires you to have passed 4 out of 5 specific area exams. So if you want to get to this level, you will need to know more about different areas of the software. These areas may not be relevant to your current job role, or any future career aspirations you have, but I have always found that many areas of SOLIDWORKS functionality can cross over and become relevant in ways you never thought possible”.
To show you what exams are available, and the level of skill you require to pass each exam, see our handy table below:
|Exam Name||Time using SOLIDWORKS||Software Specific Area||Command knowledge required|
|CSWA||2 – 3 months||SOLIDWORKS||Sketching, extrudes, revolves, sweeps, assemblies, reference geometry|
|CSWP||4 – 6 months||SOLIDWORKS||Part modelling, linked dimensions, equations, complex part creation, configurations, design tables, assemblies, collision detection, co-ordinates systems,|
|CSWE||1 year plus||SOLIDWORKS||Lofts, sweeps, in-context assemblies, import part geometry, belt and chain, sketch blocks, multi bodies, spring modelling, split tool|
|CEPA||N/A||Enterprise PDM||Vault creation, configuration, permissions, add user, data cards, variables, workflow manipulation, general troubleshooting|
|CSDA||N/A||Sustainability||Multiple choice exam. Sustainable design concepts, environmental assessment studies, Life Cycle Assessment|
|CSWSA-FEA||1 year plus||Simulation||Engineering mechanics, strength of materials, finite element analysis, creating studies in simulation, mesh creation, fixtures, loads, connections, contact sets|
|CSWP – Sheet Metal||3 – 6 months||Sheet Metal||Edge flange, curved edge flange, mitre flange, closed corners, bend tables, bend specification, hem, jog, forming tools, unfold, fold, flat pattern|
|CSWP – Weldments||3 – 6 months||Weldments||Profile creation, library management, corner modification, end caps, gussets, trim/extend, 3d sketch creation, cut list folder management|
|CSWP – Surfacing||3 – 6 months||Surfacing||Spline creation, 3d curves, boundary surface, filled surface, swept surface, planar surface, knit command, trim/untrim, move face, fillet, thicken|
|CSWP – Mold Tools||3 – 6 months||Mold Tools||Parting line creation, parting surface, draft analysis, shut off surfaces, imported part repair, cavity tool, split face|
|CSWP – Drawing Tools||3 – 6 months||Drawings||Basic view creation, section views, auxiliary views, alternate position view, relative to model, BOM creation, hide/show, transferring sketches|
|CSWSP – FEA||1 year plus||Simulation||FEA theory, and practical hands-on questions. Static, buckling, thermal, motion, frequency|
If you are on active subscription, and have a customer portal account, you can access a number of free exams every 6 months. You can have:
- One free CSWP or CSWA exam
- One free CSWP-Sheet Metal, Weldments, Surfacing, Mold Tools, Drawing Tools or CSWP-FEA exam
- One free CSDA or CEPA exam
To access the discount codes to take these exams, log in to the customer portal and go to the certification page. Click the link on the right hand side called “Certification offers for subscription service customers”
So, in summary, Certifications are a great way to get noticed by potential employers and stand out, but they can also help you develop your skill in the software and work at a faster pace.