If you've been to a previous Solid Edge University, you know what kind of value it represents to you, your career, and your employer. You come back energized, excited, full of information and the ability to apply that to the task at hand. It's not a vacation, but you'll find a lot of excitement.
If you've never been to a Solid Edge University event, your time will be packed with technical sessions, keynote addresses, and social time for meeting Solid Edge insiders, fellow users, community members, and folks just like you. You will build relationships that will last for years, and help you professionally.
The keynote addresses always include a first look at what's new in the new version, and we've changed the dates of the conference so that the sessions you attend will be relevant to software you actually have installed.
Keynote addresses always turn out to be much more powerful than I imagine beforehand. We have had presentations from the Mars lander team, toy-of-the-year developer, and an artist who uses Solid Edge to develop robots with insect-like ability to move in any environment. It's always inspiring in a way you don't expect.
Solid Edge certification is still young, so you can be some of the first users to be benefitting from this user performance standard. Employers can use it to look for new candidates, candidates can use it on the resume, and everyone who passes gets bragging rights that you were one of the early adopters of the certification. And of course, if you get certified on ST9, you'll get a special badge here in the community that will set you apart.
The community is a big part of SEU. You will find that you are constantly running into people you've met on-line, maybe people who have answered some of your questions. Last year we made sure community stars like Tushar Suradkar and Sean Cresswell were here (from India and New Zealand, respectively). And of course many other community pillars such as Ken Grundey, Matt Johnson, Bob Mileti, Imre Szucs, Craig Hall, Bruce Shandy, and others have been there as well. This is really the one Solid Edge event you need to plan to come to.
The technical sessions get most of the limelight, but the round table sessions may be the even more important for some companies. Round tables are sessions where users get to speak directly to Solid Edge development people about problems they have with the software. This is not tech support, it's for the mutual benefit of users and Solid Edge to make sure high priority problems are dealt with in a way that really benefits users. They also talk about some of the details of how new features are implemented for the maximum benefit.
Many users find the hands-on sessions to be the most beneficial. You have to sign up for these sessions, and they fill up quickly, so this might be your motivation for registering for SEU16 today. There are generally sessions for beginners and advanced users, led by experts.
One of my favorite parts of the whole event is the Welcome Reception on Tuesday evening. This is a couple hours of food, drinks, and vendors, with all the attendees milling around in a big ballroom. It's a great chance to talk to people you know from the community, or from other events. The connections I've made at the welcome reception turn out to be with people I keep in touch with throughout the year. They help me with projects, or come to me with special requests. We share information and Solid Edge techniques. They get involved with other areas of the company such as Beta testing, or user groups.
SEU16 is also preceded by Developer Day and a Teamcenter workshop for people interested in those topics. The big announcement this year, though is the New Built-in Data Management Capabilities in Solid Edge ST9, a special 4 hour workshop on this new functionality. Current and aspiring CAD Admins really need to make this a priority, especially if you don't already have a data management system in place.
Another way you can participate in SEU16 is to tell your story at your own session. ...with the additional benefit of getting in to the event for free! Most of the sessions at SEU are given by SE employees or partners. One of the growing trends is to have users give presentations. Although it's great to hear from the internal experts, users pay special attention to other users. There's some extra credibility in having been there and done it. If you have some expertise, or a special technique that you would like to share, submit an abstract. There is a lot to gain from giving presentation as a "layman" - if you are a contractor, it is a great way to attract attention to your skills. It is a great way to build confidence, and public speaking skills. It is also a great way to meet a lot of people. You might even gain special access to SE insiders.
There's definitely something to be said about being able to meet with the legends and super stars associated with this software. The event is not so insanely huge that you can't just walk up to Dan Staples or Art Patrick or Dan Vinson or Aditya, Jeff Walker, Laura Watson, Kevin Riggs and just introduce yourself and say "Hey, I really loved Feature X, but if you added automatic widgets to the radial menu, that would be freaking awesome!!" These guys love enthusiasm.
And finally.... congratulations. If you've read this far, you're a true trooper. I'm obviously smitten with this event, as I've rambled on so long about it. People who have come will come back, and people who have yet to experience SEU really need to see for themselves what it's all about.