I’m in Design management, and run a user-centered practice, so the tools I use have changed over the years. I’m not an Alias Jockey anymore, and I don’t pump out Director prototypes. Today, what I use most by frequency of use:
IE, Outlook and Yahoo Messenger: research and communication
Word: design planning, research summaries, reports
Powerpoint: visual presentations (creating and giving), style-boards etc.
Excel: concept scoring, feature set analysis, research capture
Illustrator: 2D and 3D design concepts, UI, symbols, anthropometry
Photoshop: production, photo-compositing
Visio: work model diagramming
MS Project: planning (when word or powerpoint won’t cut it)
Sketchbook Pro: sketching
InDesign: when Powerpoint doesn’t cut it
I let my designers and engineers do the production work using higher fidelity tools like Rapid, Solidworks, Rhino etc.
Solidworks, Pro/e, Alias, Rhino…when it comes right down to it, they all do exactly the same thing. Whatever program you are using, learn how to understand and master the uses and differences between tangency and continuity. If you can create a robust, watertight surface model in Rhino it will not take you long to figure out how to do the same in another program. If you are worth hiring, I would train you in Pro/e. Any company worth their salt would invest the $1000 for training in one of the programs.
Over the years, I have found that a project that (hopefully) has a bit of a forgiving timeline is the best form of training on any program. You can do canned tutorials until the cows come home, but you won’t LEARN a program until you have struggled with the nuances.
My goal right now is to master SolidWorks … I agree canned tutorials are not what I try to show in my classroom…I mostly come up with my own examples…something I have to do so that I’m not just following step by step guides…
I keep up with real world design by dipping my hands in some jewelry design…but of course I hope to expand my design work as I go…
I really enjoyed the perspective of a Design Manager and the tools you need to get the job done…thanks!