CAD Manager's Newsletter (#334)10 Dec, 2014 By: Robert Green
How are CAD managers faring this year — and what can they expect in 2015?
The end of the year is near, and that means that thousands of CAD managers have just returned from Autodesk University (AU), an annual training and networking conference held in Las Vegas. During my time at AU, I taught classes ranging from CAD management concepts to programming and training technology, and I was able to directly interact with more than 700 CAD managers. I greatly enjoy the time I spend with CAD managers, and I find the exchange of experiences and ideas invaluable.
While I realize not all CAD managers work with Autodesk software, AU is the largest gathering of CAD managers I know of, so I always like to examine the mood and trends there to draw conclusions about how CAD managers are doing in general. What follows are some impressions from this year's event. Here goes.
Who Attended AU?
With almost 10,000 attendees, AU is back up to the size it was before the 2008 recession, which tells us that the finances of Autodesk's user base are on the upswing. As usual, the audience demographics include all manner of engineers, architects, designers, technicians, IT professionals, and media specialists, representing a plethora of disciplines and industries from a total of 84 countries.
CAD and building information modeling (BIM) managers were widely represented in 39 separate classes with more than 3,700 total students enrolled.
Initial CAD Manager Observations
During my class sessions I always do some informal polling by a show of hands, followed by individual conversations, to take the pulse of the CAD manager community. I try not to have any preconceived notions about trends going into the discussions, so I can draw accurate conclusions about the problems facing CAD managers. This year it was easy to observe these trends:
- CAD managers are pressured like never before. They have more projects, more software, and less time — all while supporting more users.
- CAD managers are project managers. CAD managers are no longer expected only to keep the technology working; now they must keep the project moving as well. The technology is now seen as a part of the project rather than an independent job responsibility.
Get Your Own Autodesk University Account
I'd like to point out what a great resource an Autodesk University (AU) online account can be. Simply register at www.autodesk.com/au and you can access a vast library of resources — both text and video — for free. You don't have to attend AU or purchase any Autodesk products to use these resources, which include keynote addresses, technology previews, and classes.
Even if you don't use Autodesk software products, you can still find useful information on a variety of topics such as IT management, business and project management, building information modeling (BIM) management, interoperability of tools, and more. Given that there's no charge, there's no reason not to register and explore the resources available!
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