How to get into ID without schooling?

Solidworks can’t do half of what Pro/E can, but it is cheaper. Both will get you a job. I believe you can still get student versions of Pro/E for free to learn on. Any company you work for will have a licence already. You don’t need to buy it really.

from what I have experienced, Solidworks seems to have passed Pro/E a while ago…

He’s right, Pro does a hell of a lot more than anything else out there.
Only a fraction of which ID needs, so, with solidworks your paying for less capablity you wont use, and you get rendering.
I’ve never seen a model that could only be accomplished using Pro.

That said - not too long ago it was commonly held that an ID’r that could use Pro, could write thier own ticket.

It sounds like you’re judging designers as engineers. Consider the difference:

Mechanical Engineers solve problems and document their work through CAD with manufacturing methods at the center of their process. They spend time with vendors and manufacturers more than the average IDer.

Industrial Designers solve problems and document their work through sketching and rough modeling with users at the center of their process. They spend time with users and environments more than the average ME. If they use 3D CAD at all, it’s to communicate intent and to pass on to ME’s.

There’s gray area inbetween because ME’s frequently do ID and vice-versa. Be aware of this when critiquing an Industrial Designers portfolio.

Which best describes you or the people you’re hiring?

Remember that a good Industrial Designer adds value to the bottom line, so ‘how many will fit into a shipping container’ may be a moot point. Do you think the Herman Miller Aeron chair was designed with this in mind?

I’m doing the ME/ID thing now. I’ll actually end up with two degrees, but it has been extremely rough. In the long run, I feel that taking longer in undergrad to do both vs. going the masters route was a better decision, but undergrad has been hell. Don’t attempt it unless you are 100% committed to getting through. I have to work two to three times as hard as my purely ID classmates to remain competitive AND be an engineering student. This being your second go-round, I’m sure that you will be a great deal more focused. Just don’t expect to go out, have fun, and do all the other crap college kids do, because you will fail ME or suck at ID, or possibly even both. If you have any questions about the ME/ID undergrad route, shoot me a PM. Good luck.

Good to hear what you’re doing. I feel more committed in this direction than I ever have for anything else I have considered in the past. I would have never considered going back to school for a bachelor’s again unless I felt it would be to learn something absolutely necessary that I couldn’t make up for elsewhere.

I’m pretty sure going both ways at the same time is hard work. While I’d definitely be more focused during a second run at college, this may be offset by the fact that I’ll have to work around 20 hours/week to support my way through school (did the same before but without intense majors like engineering/design).

CG, fantastic comparison. That is a keeper!

I would also add that ID spends a lot more time on the business/brand side of the equation, helping to shape the brand based on the our user centered process.