How I Got From There to Here

Working in the design/drafting industry was not my first choice in career, more something I fell into after a shoulder accident left me out of work for more than a year and in need of surgery. It was one of the darkest periods of my life, not knowing what I could do next or where I could turn to.

Lucky for me my brother suggested I get a copy of MicroStation, version 4 in those days, and have a play. Well, I was hooked. As a fiddler by nature I found it easy to work my way through the GUI and be able to draw in 2D. As with most people, I used 2D house plans as a way of improving my skills and seeing just what I could do.

In those days, the early 90’s, there wasn’t a lot of material or websites where you could go to find tutorials, drawings aids and so on. For a lot of us, all there was available was the old comp.cad.microstation RSS feeds. Funny how a lot of the old faces then, are still active today. Myself, Inga Morozoff, Phil Chouinard just to name a few. The great thing about the forum is that was a ‘no holds barred’ interaction between users from all backgrounds who came together to share thoughts, ask for help and share experiences. Back then we didn’t have YouTube videos, Bentley Communities or even the websites that we have out there today.

Pic: BEusers ANZ Website from 2005

It’s that quest to know more and share what I had learnt that drove me to set up my own website with tip and hints, tutorials with decent screen captures and more. It was not only a great way to connect with other MicroStation users, but also a great opportunity to gather all the information that was out there to share. It’s what drove me to want to learn even more and, after a number of years, how I ended up going down the path of CAD Administrator and CAD Manager. A chance to show others how to use the software better, faster and more accurately than before.

The one area that still disturbs me more than ever, is the lack of formal training being offered by firms in this day and age. More than ever before we have a large pool of very good designers all waiting to be snatched up, only to be told that a lack in software experience means a designer with 2 years experience has a better chance at a job than one with 20 years experience. What a waste of a great resource, but that’s a subject for another blog.

Now, more than ever before, we have an ever expanding list of sites, videos and communities available that we can access to improve our knowledge of both the software and design cycle. The only thing holding us back is our willingness to put in some hard yards and extra hours to put ourselves ahead of the game in this ever expanding global market.

It’s great to see Bentley also engaging with users to form the Knowledge Executives program, a chance for all to learn from some amazing super users from all over the world and all sections of engineering. A resource I would have died to have access to 20 years ago…… Wow, where has that gone.