Upskilling from Home: 3 Ideas for Remote Engineering Design Professionals


In the midst of a global pandemic, many engineering, manufacturing, and architectural firms are operating remotely. Now is the time to upskill.

If it’s not part of your regular work schedule, it can be challenging to fit in time for training. But in this unprecedented situation, the normal way of operating is drastically changing, at least for the foreseeable future.

Many employers in the engineering industry are instructing their employees to work remotely. This poses some difficulties for many engineers and production workers that are typically hands-on with equipment, machines, and complex software in their daily work. But, it also opens up opportunities for training that might ordinarily get pushed to the backburner.

Now is a great time to focus on upskilling. Online training for CAD, CAM, BIM, and methods like FEA and GD&T can be easy and effective from home, and all it requires is an internet connection. Taking this time to focus on improving key skills and ramping up software proficiency will help ensure that you and your employees are ready to go when facilities open again, likely at an even greater productivity level than before.

Here are three effective ways to stay sharp and upskill from home as an engineering design professional.

1. Master the fundamental engineering methods and systems.

Do you have to check your GD&T symbols chart fairly often? Are you confident in your design validation skills? If you’re a professional engineer or machinist, it might seem unnecessary to train on fundamental methods like GD&T and finite element analysis (FEA). But a lack of knowledge of these fundamentals often contributes to delays, increased costs, and miscommunication between design and manufacturing.

Becoming an expert in these topics will put you in position to save time and be even more productive when everyone returns to the office or machine shop. Plus, these are great training topics if you don’t have remote access to your CAD, CAM, or BIM software.

Engineering Design Learning Paths:

READ MORE: Innovative Ways the Engineering Community is Coming Together During COVID-19

2. Train and earn an industry-recognized software certification.

Software certifications are a booster for your skills, your role, and your resume! Some engineering managers even challenge their entire design team to earn certifications as a measure of skill improvement, since passing the exams requires top-notch efficiency and a wide range of knowledge.

Many exam prep training courses are conveniently available online. Use your remote work time to start training for your first-ever software certification or practice more advanced skills to go after a higher-level achievement. And not only can you train remotely — in some cases you can even take the exam from home! For example, the SOLIDWORKS Certification exams are designed to be done independently online.

Online Training for Engineering Software Certifications

PLUS: Get a voucher to take your SOLIDWORKS Certification exam for free when you complete our Learning Paths! Learn more here.

3. Try a skills gap assessment and train on the topics that matter to you.

If you’re not sure where to begin your own training or online training for your employees, a skills gap assessment can point you in the right direction.

A skills gap assessment is a tool that can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses in a given skill area. Many assessment tools will give you an overall proficiency score and also break down your results by each skill. For example, you could score 85% overall in SOLIDWORKS Basics, but your Drawings score might only be 60%.

Completing these assessments as a group takes it a step further by providing an analysis of the whole team’s proficiency level. This is an easy way to identify hidden skill gaps, which will help you form a training plan.

As with our other tips for upskilling from home, the advantage of skills gap assessments is that many can be done online, including SolidProfessor’s Skills Analyzer! After you or your team completes a test, you’ll receive customized training recommendations from our Library based on your results. It’s that simple, and it’s free!

Test Your Design Knowledge with Skills Analyzer

Claire Juozitis
About the Author

SolidProfessor commercial content writer and unironic classic rock record collector