Community-Built SOLIDWORKS Champion Uses Skills for Business
It takes a lot to become a SOLIDWORKS champion! It isn’t about all the certifications or applications experience, nor is it about how many times you’ve been to 3DEXPERIENCE WORLD (formerly known as SOLIDWORKS WORLD). While those things don’t hurt, a true SOLIDWORKS Champion is centered on community.
Folks outside the world of engineering may not know much about Dassault Systèmes or SOLIDWORKS, but if you’re design-inclined, you know the value of a community built around these tools. No matter how intuitive or straightforward a CAD/CAM/PDM/etc. interface might be, questions will still arise. That’s how Deepak Gupta found himself learning SOLIDWORKS back in the early 2000’s.
“I did a four-year college that was completely mechanical engineering. During the last year, we got just a glimpse of 3D,” Gupta explained. That glimpse was literally just a few minutes of exposure to 3D CAD before being thrust into the workforce.
His first job used AutoCAD and 2D drawings. The VP of the company wanted to present a machine concept to one of their customers, but they wanted more than a 2D drawing. That was Gupta’s first real exposure to 3D—in AutoCAD.
“Things were going fine, but then a friend introduced me to a SOLIDWORKS reseller in my region, telling me that these people do 3D, too.”
The owner of that company went to the same college as Gupta, and he quickly found himself as an application engineer with the organization. From then on, he was learning new things about SOLIDWORKS every day. Through solving customer problems, he learned the ins and outs of the software suite and built skills with the software.
Until one day when a customer presented a particular challenge that he couldn’t solve himself. That’s when he found the forums where he could connect and ask questions.
“I started getting lots of answers from there and then one day I thought, ‘I have some knowledge about SOLIDWORKS now, let’s share it back to the community.’ So, I started giving back with answers to problems that people were sharing on the forums,” he says.
In 2011, Gupta found himself being invited to his first SOLIDWORKS WORLD and saw the vast community that had been created around this software. As his expertise became better known, Gupta was approached to work on a project in SOLIDWORKS.
Since then, he’s built a business as a SOLIDWORKS Design Consultant, working with clients on their drawings, details and even automation by making macros or add-ins. He is also a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert, a SOLIDWORKS blogger and a user group aficionado.
Many of Gupta’s clients are organizations that have a lot of projects rolling at once. When they are unable to fit the work into their queues, they call him. He works as a team member on specific projects and has touched a range of different disciplines including 3D modeling, 2D drawings and animation projects.
Gupta remembers the early days of 3D CAD when many were afraid of adopting the newer technology for fear of breaking their drawings.
“Now, people are doing 3D modeling by touchscreen or with a stylus! You can just open up the software on your cell phone and you can draw a good 3D model. Things have changed drastically in the last 20 years.”
The emergence of CAD in the cloud has really inspired this SOLIDWORKS champion. Gupta touted the fact that having cloud access to CAD provides more liberty and power to the users, especially for someone who travels for business.
Being in India and working with worldwide clients, Gupta knows the potential challenge of accessing assets when you’re in a different time zone. But thanks to the cloud, you can just log in and show your customer, without having to rely on connecting with your team that might be out of the office.
“I personally feel it is giving you much more power than it used to. But looking at how users are taking to it, I still feel it’ll take another five to ten years for people to eventually adopt it completely,” he says.
Much like his beginnings with SOLIDWORKS, Gupta feels that there is a growing value in collaboration in CAD. In fact, he believes that in some circumstances, what used to take six months can be squeezed down to even a few days.
“One team member may be sitting in Japan, one may be sitting in America, one may be in Germany and one may be in India. We used to send samples to every team member to test on their end and share the reports but now everyone can look at what is going on through the collaborative software. They can immediately give their input, rather than wait for weeks to get the sample and testing. Fast feedback means a faster time to market.”
Most of us are well aware of how valuable the hive mind can be. Collaboration, whether that’s within CAD or throughout engineering in general, means that we are always finding ways to become more efficient and create better products.
Gupta invites aspiring community members and folks looking for project help to connect with him on LinkedIn.