Dave, I know that I won't come across as credible because I'm the Product Manager for SolidWorks, but I did have 10 years of experience with ProE CDRS and ISDX especially in advanced modeling.
David Janes wrote: BTW, one other thing I learned while taking the SW course: a.. Since this is the "easy, intuitive" design software, there are few educational resources for it. SW Corp has saved itself some time, trouble and money by developing and updating none
MAB - I'm not sure why you say this - we have extensive courses and training available and we update it yearly in the form of printed manuals and tutorials that are offered by our VAR's. For instance: Essential part modeling and Assemblies, Advance part modeling, Advanced Assemblies, Sheetmetal and Weldments only to name a few and updated yearly.
b.. SW Corp accepts NO responsibility for support; this all devolves to resellers, including training. Suffice to say, this makes support and training a crap shoot
MAB - Again, I don't know how you can say this since we have a QA and Development staff doing this on a daily basis. VAR's are a formal channel for submitting issues and they either resolve the issue themselves or escalate it to us, and yes, they are quite often escalated to us.
c.. There aren't even many books on the subject and the one by the Planchards, widely used and highly praised, that this course also used, was the most awful, badly written technical training material I've ever encountered. So, lacking a discerning user base, there's not much hope for it's improvement.
MAB - On the other hand, there is "SolidWorks for Dummies" the ONLY 3D MCAD dummies book on the market that can be found at your local Barnes and Noble. Also, we have many online tutorials built right into our software which are self-guided and easy to understand on a range of subjects from Assemblies to Master model approach.
d.. Companies who fall for the "easy, intuitive" crap also refuse to support their users by sending them for training; not many companies would try that with Pro/e, although, since WF, that same line may be undermining Pro/e training. However, even that is mollified by the availability of online training like PTC university, CAD Train and Cadquest, training resources that get delivered to the users computer (or in the case of Cadquest, as a series of books, one on each Pro/e module). e.. These conditions make online help much more important Just some stuff to think about, beyond those first couple of tutorials. IOW, make fast friends with usenet if you plan on going to SW. Your VAR may be able to help, but that's a shot in the dark. Don't call SW Corp, they'll just send you back to your VAR; or you could get a book and see if that helps. And, as to online resources, beyond newsgroups? haven't heard of any, but CAD Train was bought out by PTC, maybe Cadquest has expanded into Solidworks training. And some community colleges do offer classes. But what about Alibre, SolidEdge, Think 3? What support for them? Looks like you'd be jumping out of the hatch without the space suit, deepspaced.
MAB - again, many colleges are teaching SolidWorks now, we have extensive courses offered through our VAR's, and if you check job postings on Monster or others sites you will discover that SolidWorks experience is in high demand. Comp.cad.solidworks is a very active (as well as the official SW forum) because the software is very actively used.
Mark Biasotti SolidWorks