Earning software certifications has long been touted as a way to advance your career and show off your skillset as a designer. For SolidWorks users, there are three different software certifications you can achieve:
- The Certified SolidWorks Associate (CSWA) is designed for new users to show that they have the foundational skills and knowledge required to successfully navigate the SolidWorks software.
- The Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP) is the next level up from the CSWA, designed for more advanced users who’ve used SolidWorks within a professional setting. Passing the CSWP indicates that you’ve gone above the basic skills in SolidWorks and have a higher understanding of how to navigate the software.
- The Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE) is the highest level of certification. You must have a high level of competence in four of five of the advanced exams to pass the CSWE. You’re required to have successfully completed the CSWP certification prior to taking the CSWE.
In this article, we’re going to focus exclusively on the CSWP. Why is this certification important and who should take it? Can it really impact your career or is it “just another certification”? Keep reading for answers to these questions – and more!
The CSWP exam is more difficult than the CSWA exam, testing a user’s ability to quickly design and update models according to drawings. To pass it, you need to be able to model efficiently and in a way that allows your model to be updated; the models you create for the CSWP should be much more robust than those you would design for the CSWA. The CSWP goes a long way to show you have the competence to drive the software in an efficient manner and that you have a well-rounded understanding of the SolidWorks tool.
There aren’t any prerequisites for taking the CSWP exam. However, because the CSWP exam is significantly more challenging than the CSWA, you might want to take the CSWA first to see how you do before you take the CSWP.
DOWNLOAD NOW: Free CSWP Exam Preparation Guide
There are three main reasons why SolidWorks users earn their CSWP:
- You can prove to potential employers that you have a certain level of knowledge about the functionality of SolidWorks software. By having the CSWP on your resume, you’re showing employers that you can handle most SolidWorks challenges thrown your way, which is incredibly valuable. Earning the CSWP also indicates that you’re committed to your craft and you’re willing to put in the time and effort to better your skills. Importantly, the CSWP is a difference-maker that can give you a competitive edge over someone who doesn’t have it. For example, if a job comes down to a CSWP holder and another candidate who doesn’t have a CSWP, the person with the CSWP will have the edge they need to win that position.
- Companies with internal training programs might consider a certification part of a professional development plan or even tie the certification to pay raises and promotions. If you’re not looking to use your CSWP to find a new job, it can help you move up the ranks at your current organization. You can use your CSWP to negotiate for salary increases or promotions.
- Earning the CSWP can give you the personal satisfaction that comes from achieving a recognized level of competence as a designer. Passing the CSWP exam is not easy! You have to be a very skilled, knowledgeable designer in order to complete the exam quickly and accurately. Many designers are motivated to take the CSWP to prove to themselves that they have advanced SolidWorks skills.
Sometimes, the CSWP is the difference between getting called in for an interview and having your resume placed on the rejection pile. For others, it’s that necessary boost to spark a new wave of salary negotiations. Whatever your reason, you can make the CSWP work for you!
START TRAINING: SolidProfessor’s CSWP Learning Path
The CSWP is designed for professionals who have hands-on experience in the workforce, which is why it’s significantly more difficult than the CSWA. In fact, professional users who take the CSWP have a higher passing rate than CSWA examinees. That said, inexperienced designers who have great study habits and a strong certification prep program can get to the CSWP level if they put in the time and work.
BRUSH UP YOUR SKILLS: SolidWorks Essentials for Parts & Assemblies
Patrick Ehrhardt, CSWP, SolidProfessor Applications Engineer, frequently hires designers to help create SolidProfessor’s online SolidWorks training courses. When he’s looking through job applications, a CSWP is something that always catches his eye.
“Having a CSWP on your resume can be a really big door opener because it sets the expectation that you really know what you’re doing. Professionals with a CSWP can typically jump right into a design job and start making an impact. In many cases, the CSWP can even replace experience. If you have a college grad with a CSWP and someone who’s been working in design for 20 years, you might still call the college grad with the CSWP in for an interview when otherwise you wouldn’t have,” explains Ehrhardt.
He adds, “I hire a lot of engineering designers and seeing a CSWA or CSWP on their resume really stands out to me. It shows that they’re comfortable with the software and can focus their time on the task instead of figuring out how to use the tool. For what they do here, we want them to concentrate on designing, so the less time they spend fighting against the tool, the better off we are as a company. Ultimately, I know I don’t have to spend a lot of time training them on how to use the software if they have a CSWP, which is really valuable to me.”
Ultimately, the CSWP can only benefit your career. If you have the time and put in the effort, you can be a proud CSWP holder and start reaping the benefits. And don’t forget that bragging rights come with the CSWP, too!
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