New 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS for Students Gives “Cloud Power” to Young Engineers

Over the years since its inception, SOLIDWORKS has become one of the industry standard engineering design tools, no matter which industry you’re talking about. The addition of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform enhances SOLIDWORKS by adding collaboration, the convenience of the cloud and a slew of additional capabilities. The whole package lets new engineering grads enter the workforce with their familiar design tools as well as modern ones.

Most universities have long supplied students with access to top engineering software programs and platforms through campus license agreements, computer labs and discounted software purchases. But the world has changed both professionally and academically, moving increasingly toward online collaboration, remote work and multi-platform multi-device experiences. Many commercial platform and software offerings have moved to cloud and SaaS models, which provide flexibility and accessibility to engineers no matter where or when they work.

“We are on this journey toward having everything on one system with various levels. We all know that’s where the world will be,” said Suchit Jain, VP of Strategy and Business Development at Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS. “But we know customers are at different stages of adoption. Some have a cloud or digital adoption strategy for data management, in the sense that they want their data on the cloud, on whatever servers they have. Some are even saying, ‘All these editing tools we’re using—what do we do with that?’ Some companies have the philosophy of, ‘Don’t even bring your work laptop, just bring whatever laptop you have,’ because the data is always on the cloud and all the company work is being done that way.”

There are different phases of this adoption everywhere and in the commercial world, Dassault Systèmes offers users the flexibility they need. “If you want to run products on Windows, we have those. If you want to procure them in a SaaS environment as a term license, you can do that. You can lease the car, or you can buy the car if you want,” Jain said.

“We also said, ‘Let’s invest in cloud technology. Let’s invest in data being managed on the cloud,” he continued. “This is where the 3DEXPERIENCE platform comes into play. We have created commercial offers with 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS, which essentially connects the SOLIDWORKS desktop application to cloud data management in a SaaS environment with its own admin.”

It turns out, students want the same things.

When the Dassault Systèmes team looked into education, the same questions kept coming up. Universities have been at one stage, where they want SOLIDWORKS and some cloud-based capabilities, so they have focused on portfolios of software available on desktop. These are in some ways connected, as in doing calculations on the computer but storing the data on your laptop or on the cloud. But on the other side of this, you have students who are looking for purely cloud-based and browser-based design software.

“Pretty much every university out there is using SOLIDWORKS inside the classroom to teach the curriculum,” said Jain. “And they [universities] provide lab access, they provide software access to the purchased licenses they have available through the university. But we also knew a lot of students need to do homework at home, or especially with COVID-19, a lot of times learning needed to be remote. So students need access to SOLIDWORKS now that they can’t go to a physical lab.” 

The need for students to work with SOLIDWORKS remotely meant an increased demand for the student version. Dassault Systèmes has offered a student version for a number of years, which provided access to students through a standard desktop version for $99 and could be purchased through SOLIDWORKS websites and resellers. But the new drive toward remote work and cloud collaboration means students are keen to work with cloud-based platforms.

“Of course, a lot of people will use competitive software as well, but students kept on coming back and saying, ‘I would rather have SOLIDWORKS, because SOLIDWORKS gets me a job,’” Jain added. 

Giving Students “Cloud Power”

To that end, Dassault Systèmes has launched three new 3DEXPERIENCE offers geared toward students. These offers are designed to help engineering students build their skills and prepare for their future careers, and are affordably priced at $60 to $72 USD.

“What the 3DEXPERIENCE for Students offers are saying is that we want to give students cloud power,” said Jain. And it is this “cloud power” that makes the new 3DEXPERIENCE Student offers different from the previous student editions.

The new offers are built on the same SaaS model already used for 3DEXPERIENCE in the industrial and commercial spheres, which means that students can access and work on their projects, and collaborate with their peers, from any device and at any time—no longer dependent on access to campus labs or licenses.

But it’s not just cloud power that makes these offers unique. It’s the other parts of the package: device independence, a path to certification and a strong support community.

“These new 3DEXPERIENCE for Students offers are not just about a response to COVID-19,” said Jain. “This is a response to a few things happening. One is the ability to provide device-independent CAD design software to students in the same way as we are doing for commercial partners. We also wanted to include certification, so this is a career-based thing for the students besides just having the software available. Besides that, what we did not have for students was the cloud-based software; in the same way, certification was not included. We also inherently created this platform as a community-based platform with the means to helps students showcase their projects.” 

These are the three key elements packaged together in the new 3DEXPERIENCE for Students offers—so not only do students have access to the same software that they had before, but now they also have these three additional tools.

“Device independence; the cloud and a device independent in the cloud. Certification and career growth. And the community collaboration, a way to showcase your things. These are the three elements now combined in the 3DEXPERIENCE Student offers,” Jain said. “At the Dassault Systèmes level, they have introduced three products for students: one is SOLIDWORKS centric, one is CATIA centric and then we have 3DEXPERIENCE Engineer for Students which includes things beyond design, such as simulation.”

Device Independence

The value that device independence offers students is something that can’t be understated, especially with the prevalence of devices being placed into the hands of students at ever younger demographics.

“Students, you know, they have tablets,” said Marie Planchard, Senior Director, Education and Early Engagement at SOLIDWORKS. “Whether it’s given to them starting at primary school, or they are given a tablet of some sort by middle school. In high school, tablets have become very prevalent for many subjects.”

“In high school you’re going to see a Chromebook; they had iPads and now they have Chromebooks, if they’ve made an investment,” Planchard continued. “When you get to engineering school, there are Windows-based laptops. There are a lot of high schools with older computers that aren’t so powerful, now, to run the latest version of SOLIDWORKS. That hardware situation, and trying to make sure that every student has an opportunity, is why—in my opinion—students like to use Chromebooks in high school, because it wasn’t as strict an investment. You get to take the device home with you; it’s not tied to a lab. So now your work with this technology can be propagated to the home, even if you couldn’t afford a computer.”

Jain added, “The tablets are there, but also you have the MacBooks and the Chromebooks. And if you look at the competition, some may have browser-based CAD and some may have connected CAD. The beauty of what we do is that students have the choice, depending on whether it’s related to SOLIDWORKS being used in the university or their career. If they are interested in powerful technology but want to be able to run it from a tablet, Chromebook or Microsoft laptop, they can do that.”

This device-agnostic access also means that students can take advantage of valuable opportunities for collaboration and communication through whichever device they have at hand. While you may not be able to run a full simulation on a tablet or smartphone, for example, having the ability to share or access your projects when and where you want is still a valuable tool.

Path to Certification

In many cases, it was difficult for students to access and pursue certification processes and exams while they were still in school. These difficulties were one of the driving forces for including a path to certification with each of the new 3DEXPERIENCE for Students offers.

“Students actually came to us because, unless they were in a specific class where a professor or instructor gave the certification exam, they did not have access to it. You had to be in that special class,” said Planchard. “But there are lots of students who use SOLIDWORKS on a campus or at an institution. So, this way, if they truly want that certification, they have a way to prepare for it and to take it.”

“And those certifications are exactly the same as what we offer on the commercial side. It’s not watered down; it’s not something special,” she added. 

Completing the 3DEXPERIENCE certifications are a defined way for students to make their resume more attractive to employers when coming out of school into the workforce, by proving that the student already possesses the right knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the cloud-based, collaborative workplace of the future.

Community Support

No one can succeed entirely in isolation; engineers especially work best when in an environment of collaboration and support. The new 3DEXPERIENCE Students offers bring young engineers into the active Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE community filled with industry experts, innovators and educators.

The 3DEXPERIENCE community also offers a vast supply of educational resources, including webinars, collaboration and communication opportunities, as well as real-life examples from industry and experts around the world.

But the new collaboration tools are perhaps the most crucial—and most useful. 

“One of my favorite apps on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, is all about task scheduling and task management,” said Planchard. “It has nothing to do with the creation of the model or the analysis. But when you’re able to have a project and see what you have to do and when do you have to do it. To be able to see what you have done. The wonderful feeling when you slide something over to your teammates to say, ‘This is complete.’ All those things that you would put out a little yellow sticky note somewhere around your office. You can keep track of those ideas and what you have to do, and you can do it in a method that ties it back to what you’re working on in this computer-assisted or computer-aided design. It gives this all to students, and that to me is one of the areas that I find revolutionary.”

What’s Inside the Box?

SOLIDWORKS Education has expanded its portfolio with the three new 3DEXPERIENCE for Students offers, which include access to SOLIDWORKS, CATIA and a host of other Dassault Systèmes apps. Depending on what a student needs for their education or prospective career path, they can choose the package that offers them the best mix of software and certifications.

All three offers include certification paths, as well as access to the peer and expert communities of SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE. This includes learning materials, webinars and thousands of other students and Dassault Systèmes experts sharing their knowledge, projects and more.


The new 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS for Students offer helps engineering students take their designs to the next level with the advantages of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. This enables students to leverage the platform’s artificial intelligence and design guidance.

Included in this offer are seven apps covering everything students need for their designs:

The SOLIDWORKS app is cloud connected, and requires a Windows computer.  All the other apps, including xDesign, xShape and xSheetMetal can be run from any browser and any device.

The roles included in this offer are:

  • 3D Designer Student
  • Collaborative Industry Innovator
  • Collaborative Business Innovator

Students who master their SOLIDWORKS skills can pursue three certification exams through this offer:

  • 3DEXPERIENCE 3D Creator – Associate
  • 3DEXPERIENCE Collaborative Business & Industry Innovator – Associate

Passing all three exams earns students the “Be a SOLIDWORKS Collaborative Mechanical Designer” certification with a digital recognition badge.


The 3DEXPERIENCE CATIA for Students offer targets students working on mechanical design projects and gives them access to cutting-edge 3D design right in their browser. The certification path with this offer also includes the opportunity to upgrade skills for students who are currently CATIA V5 users and helps them transition to CATIA V6.

Apps in the CATIA Student offer focus on the needs of mechanical engineering:

The roles included in this offer are:

  • 3D Innovator Student
  • Collaborative Industry Innovator
  • Collaborative Business Innovator

The three certification paths available through this offer include:

  • 3DEXPERIENCE Mechanical Designer (hands-on) – Associate
  • 3DEXPERIENCE 3D Innovator – Associate
  • 3DEXPERIENCE Collaborative Business & Industry – Associate

Passing all three exams earns students the “Be a CATIA Collaborative Mechanical Designer” certification with a digital recognition badge.

3DEXPERIENCE Engineer for Students

The 3DEXPERIENCE Engineer for Students offer helps students stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the tools they need to succeed in the workplace. This offer contains a suite of connected tools specifically aimed at fulfilling the broader toolkit needs of designers and engineers, including part design, surface design, sheet metal, assembly creation, mechanism motion and drawing generation.  Generative design tools are also available, as well as a complete set of simulation and analysis solutions including SIMULIA, multi-axis machining tools and photorealistic and virtual reality design review.

Apps included in this offer:

Roles included in this offer are:

  • 3DEXPERIENCE Engineer Student
  • Collaborative 3DEXPERIENCE Engineer Student
  • Collaborative Industry Innovator
  • Collaborative Business Innovator

 Four certification paths are available to students who master the skills:

  • 3DEXPERIENCE Mechanical Designer (hands-on) – Associate
  • 3DEXPERIENCE Structural Designer – Associate
  • 3DEXPERIENCE NC Prismatic Machine Programmer – Associate
  • 3DEXPERIENCE Collaborative Business & Industry Innovator – Associate

Passing all four exams earns students the “Be a 3DEXPERIENCE Collaborative Cross-Discipline Engineer” certification and digital recognition badge.

All three of these offers also include access to the 3DEXPERIENCE Edu hub for community interaction and project sharing in the Showroom, as well as the Job Place where students can find job opportunities from all industries looking for engineers with the right skills in the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform programs and apps.

These three offers are available at an affordable price point, to ensure that students can get the access they need:

  • 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS for Students – $60 USD
  • 3DEXPERIENCE CATIA for Students – $60 USD
  • 3DEXPERIENCE Engineer for Students – $72 USD

To learn more, visit the 3DEXPERIENCE for Students page at Dassault Systèmes.

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