CDI Department

Students Critique CDI Program:


I am a 35 yr old married man with 1 young child. I had 7 yrs experience in the petroleum industry, but my college degree was a bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering. I changed industries to pursue a position more in-line with my interests and degree and worked for 1 yr with a semiconductor equipment manufacturer before being laid-off. With the combination of limited Mechanical Engineering experience and very little 3D CAD experience, I was not having any success in finding a job.
I heard about the excellent 3D CAD training available at De Anza College through colleagues at the Sunnyvale ProMatch organization. I enrolled in the CDI CAD program and studied Pro/Engineer at De Anza for 1 full year, and with this training I gained the skills needed to find a Mechanical Engineering job, which I began in Dec. 2003. In addition to the standard classes, I gained exceptional training opportunities in the Pro/Engineer Surfacing Class and Pro/Mechanica Class. I use Pro/Engineer and AutoCAD everyday.
There is no comparable program in the area (nor in the state, I believe). The faculty and staff are fully engaged and expert sources recognized on the national level. The De Anza CDI CAD program is a phenomenal value. Training that would cost on the order of $1,500 or more for retail, corporate customers is available for the fees and tuition of one class. The point is that class fees and/or tuition could be raised and it would still be a great value. It is, of course, priceless to unemployed individuals (as I was) and to young men and women of modest means. At the end of the first week of classes, it is almost unheard of to not have several students turned away for lack of space - these classes are consistently filled and sought-after. Instead, invest in the program: upgrade the computers, add two more teaching assistants - one for each specialty of 3D CAD, add more lab times. It is utterly essential that engineers, designers and drafters receive training in Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks, Inventor, and AutoCAD. Do some benchmarking; contact other colleges - you will find that De Anza's CDI CAD program is phenomenal, world-class, and irreplaceable.

For individuals who don't have an employer to send them to CAD classes at the PROE Company, the costs of $1200 is very high for the unemployed - or self initiated. And if you are employed then taking the time off to attend 1 week long 40 hour corporate cad training is again very difficult, very expensive, and of very little learning benefit. To me this is what night classes are for.
With the CAD programs offered at De Anza, this is EXACTLY what community colleges are for. Regarding the English literature classes, the science classes, or history classes that most people associate as the heart of general education; these classes are completed cheaply at the discount rate of community colleges only to have these credits just transferred to much more costly schools. The CAD classes at De Anza are filled with those who are eager to gain specific skills needed to obtain valuable design jobs all throughout the Bay Area. Silicon Valley is known for continuously innovating new products. Granted most of their innovations come in the form of electronics or software, but all electronics products need some sort of physical housing. And that housing has a physical shape that needs to be designed and manufactured. And that is exactly what I gained from De Anza's CAD program, design-modeling skills for products to be manufactured and assembled.
I am impressed with the overall high tech facilities that De Anza has to offer in general. Specifically with the CAD program I am the most impressed. It's well run, efficient, and the staff seem to do everything to make it as much a learning experience on already stretched dollars. How has the CAD program affected your life- job- education it's kept me employed with readily applicable skills. It provides me a community to network with others and keep in touch with the latest buzz at other company's trends.

What has helped the most:
1. The quarter length duration helps the most. Being able to meet 2 class/labs a week for 11 weeks long.
2. The lab time associated with each lecture.
3. The lecture content as approved by Gary Lamit is far superior to that obtained elsewhere.
4. The lab time allowing interacting, help, and gain help from other lab participants.
5. The smoothness on how well the class and lab equipment work together through assistants like Max.

I am a mechanical engineer who has specialized in the art and science of electronics packaging. My start in this industry precedes the use of MCAD. Much of my experience has been at the manager's level. When I was laid off from my position of almost 20 years with HP, I quickly and painfully became aware of that my lack of MCAD skills was a huge negative in being rehired, even as a manager.
Thankfully, your program came to the rescue. Having completed the basic class, I could truthfully say that I had knowledge of Pro-E. Indeed this was an important point with many of the interviewers. They would ask, "What tool do you use to communicate?" Their meaning was clear, this was not about creating some Word document, this was about the fundamental tool used by mechanical engineers to communicate, MCAD, and more specifically Pro-E.
I’m currently a Senior Staff engineer at Sun Microsystems. I just started there after several months of unemployment. During that period of uncertainty, your MCAD program was a refreshing highpoint. It let me expand my skill base and land a great job. You provide a tremendous value and a great service to the community.

I am a Mechanical Engineer with a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology and an MS in Mechanical Engineering. I have 15 years of industrial experience. However, I spent a few years doing project management so my Cad skills did not develop in that time.
When the economic downturn hit, I became expendable while I watched companies keep the CAD engineers. I looked all over northern California for a program to retrain my skill level and De Anza is the only program available that extensively teaches Pro-E, SolidWorks and Inventor (the big three). Since I took the courses at De Anza, I have been contracting at a local company. I recently landed a position as a mechanical engineer and I will need to start taking classes in SolidWorks, and Inventor, and continue taking Pro-E classes. The program is very valuable to engineering students who want to be prepared prior to graduation, and it is very valuable to those working in industry who want to upgrade or learn a new skill. As Silicon Valley ramps up its industrial force, De Anza can be at the forefront with the CDI CAD program.

I have taken a number of classes in the De Anza CAD program over the years and have found them to be uniformly excellent. My background is:
· MS in Mechanical Engineering (Stanford)
· IBM (32 yrs management and technical roles) in design of disk drives, tape drives, laser printers, bar code scanners, optical memories, and manufacturing production lines.
· Managed first product program (tape drive) in IBM to use CAD for design. Influential in selling the merits of CAD to other Divisions within IBM
· 13 US Patents, 24 Invention Publications

In looking for ways to obtain CAD training, it became obvious early on that De Anza’s program completely outclassed the competition. I have taken a total of six AutoCAD classes (Release 12, 14 and 2002). They have been absolutely key in allowing my career to flourish after retiring from IBM. I have used AutoCAD to design a novel children’s educational product and experimental coating equipment for an optical start-up company. Without De Anza’s excellent facilities and instruction, this would have been virtually impossible. I have also taken your complete offering in Solid Works and Inventor. I am currently enrolled in the first Pro/E class and look forward to completing your full program.
It is rare to find such a rich offering of classes and facilities that allow an educational institution to return value directly to the community. CAD students can acquire training in skills, which allow them to obtain jobs that immediately and directly benefit the local economy. I strongly urge De Anza to continue this unique program.

I moved to California since Aug 1992. Even though I had BS (physics) degree in China, still had very hard time to find good job. From September 1994, I take CDI CAD program. I learned a lot. After four months, based I continuo my education, I promoted be an engineer assistant, late on became an engineer.
The instructors in CDI CAD program are not only teaching technology, but also pass the carry information. On 1997, I already had two CDI CAD certificates and got the info from Gary. I changed my job, became the mechanical design engineer. I worked at industry, design point of sale e-transaction products (used in Macy’s, Best Buy…) and health care products to reduce the drug error. From physics teacher to design engineer, looked my life change, I am very appreciate De Anza CDI CAD program and all of the instructors.
I got laid off on middle of last year. I started take class again to learn the new version of Pro/E, Mechanical analysis. I cannot mention, if De Anza cut CDI CAD program, where I can get the job skill training. The PTC will charge almost thousand dollars to take two days class. We have no job, no money. No body can afford this price. Only the rich people can take the expensive class, and pool people will still poor. Is the education only for rich people?

I have been a Mechanical Design professional for 25 years. With today's difficult job market I have discovered that it is mandatory that I update my CAD skills. Employers are no longer providing the training necessary for new hires, you posses the skills prior to becoming an employee. I have been searching for employment for over nine months, during that time I have been getting the same response from prospective employers, "Your CAD skills are out of date, you need to update your skills before we can consider hiring you."
De Anza's CDI program offers exactly what most employers are looking for; Training on the latest versions of the three most used software packages: Pro Engineer, Solidworks, and AutoCAD. I have searched the entire Bay Area, no other school offers this type of training on all three CAD systems. I am confident that by the time I complete the CDI program I will have acquired the skills most employers are seeking.
My name is xxxx. I currently work for xxxx Technologies. I've worked for xxx/HP for the past 30 years. I started taking courses from De Anza back in the mid-70's to complete a Calif. Journeyman Machinist program. I graduated in May of '81. I worked as a machinist/model maker until '93 when I was able to land a position doing 2D & 3D CAD work for some of our engineers. My current job title is Mechanical Designer. I do all of the CAD/PDM documentation for the Bioscience R&D engineering dept. here in Santa Clara. The CAD program that is supported by xxxx is Solid Designer.
Almost two years ago, I was going to be laid off from xxx, so I started to take some of the CAD courses offered @ De Anza in order to make myself more marketable. As of this semester, I've taken every CAD course offered at De Anza (beginning & intermediate) with the exception of Inventor. I plan to take this course next fall if is going to be offered. (Currently enrolled in SolidWorks 55B) I believe that because of taking these courses, I was able to keep my job here at xx. I have to deal with outside vendors that use the CAD packages that are taught at De Anza. It has been very helpful to be able to "speak the same language" that is being used in the community. Everyone else seems to be using something different. Without these courses, I would probably be another CAD-guy looking for work. I have found the courses taught at De Anza to be very helpful as well as very interesting.

I am a 60-plus-year-old mechanical engineer with 40 (intermittent) years of experience. Most of that time I have been a 'contract' engineer in the aerospace industry. I have a BSME '64 and incomplete MS Thermo sciences '65. For the last 30 years I have primarily done thermal analysis of satellite electronics.
I have taken 6 Pro/E modules and am currently enrolled in a 7th (Pro/Mechanica). I chose De Anza specifically because it offered Pro/E classes. I felt (and continue to feel) that specialty would most enhance my resume and resultant hire ability to industry. Especially the high tech industry that is predominant in Silicon Valley.
I anticipate the class I am taking at the moment (Pro/Mechanica) will help me the most in regard to my future employment as I am primarily an analyst and Mechanica is all about stress and thermal analysis. In fact, I am currently 'in line' for a contract position at Rocket Research (Aerojet) in Seattle based in no small measure on my Pro/E education.
I feel the current CAD faculty is barely sufficient to fulfill the need expressed by the number of bodies enrolled (and unsuccessfully trying to enroll) in De Anza's CAD program. I saw classes cancelled this winter quarter because the schedule was shuffled by De Anza administration at the last minute before the first day of class. Any attempt to reduce the classrooms available, number of workstations per classroom, number of faculty, or increase the number of students per classroom from the already overcrowded current situation would be disastrous to the current and future De Anza CAD students.
I have been very favorably impressed with the efficacy, thoroughness, professionalism, and dedication of the De Anza CAD faculty. They have consistently provided a challenging, inspiring, interesting, and effective teaching environment.

Im a Mechanical Engineer with a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology and an MS in Mechanical Engineering. I have 15 years of industrial experience. However, I spent a few years doing project management so my Cad skills did not develop in that time.
When the economic downturn hit, I became expendable while I watched companies keep the CAD engineers. I looked all over northern California for a program to retrain my skill level and De Anza is the only program available that extensively teaches Pro-E, Solidworks and Inventor (the big three). Since I took the courses at De Anza, I have been contracting at a local company.
I recently landed a position as a mechanical engineer and I will need to start taking classes in Solidworks, and Inventor, and continue taking Pro-E classes. The program is very valuable to engineering students who want to be prepared prior to graduation, and it is very valuable to those working in industry who want to upgrade or learn a new skill. As Silicon Valley ramps up its industrial force, De Anza can be at the forefront with the CDI CAD program.

My name is xxx, a mechanical engineer with over 15 years’ experience in aerospace R&D and defense industries. I am currently employed as a senior engineer for the xxxx division of General Dynamics. Mechanical engineering is a fairly diverse field requiring different skill sets for different applications, but for at least as long as I have been in the business there has been a steady trend towards requiring CAD capability, or at the very least CAD familiarity, in virtually every engineering discipline. Because of my inattention to the changing employment environment I had not kept up with CAD training as well as I should have, and as a result found myself at a severe disadvantage in the job market. Beginning in the fall of 2002 I took 16 units of Pro Engineer classes at De Anza, and can say without any exaggeration that without the experience I gained in those classes I would be virtually unemployable in today’s unbelievably tight job market. The Mechanica class I took last was in particular a watershed class for me, and after several years of marginal or no employment that drained our family savings down to nearly zero, I was able to land an excellent job as a stress analyst using Mechanica software. I am profoundly grateful to the staff and administration of De Anza for providing me with the opportunity to take these classes. I would enthusiastically recommend your courses to anyone in engineering or related fields, and can give my unqualified endorsement to your entire teaching staff as well. It may sound like hyperbole, but without the academic experience I was able to obtain at your college, I don’t know what would have happened to me and my family.

I have been utilizing De Anza CAD department since 1984. I started with Computer Vision software. Remember that? Then ACAD which was very beneficial as even though I had a bachelors degree by that time (circa 92') the ACAD skills helped become a better engineer and stay current with the newest technology being used at that time.
Recently, I spent 2 years unemployed, and again went back to De Anza's CAD department, this time for Pro E. I can honestly say the job I now have, was directly related to the Pro E training I received at De Anza. I was hoping to complete my Pro E certificate, but I now work out of the area, and just recently, due again to my taking Pro E, have had an opportunity to apply for a very lucrative sales position with a company that sells Pro E.
The program is the best program offered at ANY college/university in Northern California, probably Southern as well, AND even Nevada, where I currently work as an Industrial Engineer for Nevada's largest manufacturing company, International Game Technology. Despite IGT being a dedicated Pro E house (they use Wildfire edition) the ability to take a class at the local community college does not exist. This puts De Anza in a very unique position and it would be a travesty to lose the best program in learning the latest 3 D solid modeling software.
So to reiterate, I was unemployed for 2 years until taking classes in CAD at De Anza, where I learned such good Pro E skills, I was able to join a fortune 500 company and make a direct and immediate impact due to the training I received.


I am a professional mechanical engineer who has benefited from yourr CDI CAD program. After continuously working as a mechanical engineer a mechanical engineering manager, and a consultant for 30 years, during the last 2 years of severe job depression in the Silicon Valley, I was laid off from 2 separate jobs and was unemployed for about 12 months. I made use of the time that I was unemployed to take Pro/Engineer CAD design classes at De Anza College. I have taken Pro/Engineer Solid Modeling fundamentals, intermediate, sheet metal, Wild Fire updates, and surface classes given by Mr. Lamit and Mr. Gee. These are the essential CAD material for a mechanical engineer or designer to work in Silicon Valley today.

I would like to say that these classes have significantly prepared me to re-enter the work force doing mechanical engineering. Although I have B.S., M.S. and PhD degrees from the University of California at Berkeley in mechanical engineering, and I was exposed to CAD design and drafting at the University, CAD design program being used today are much more versatile and powerful than what I had learned at the University. These CAD programs change so often and so significantly over a few years, that the only ways to be skilled in them are to be constantly using them at work, taking classes like the ones being offered at De Anza, or go to very expensive training classes offered by commercial trainer at nearly $1,500. for a 5 day class. An unemployed technical person is unable to buy expensive software, training program, or have access to quality instructions. The CAD program being offered at De Anza College is, therefore, extremely important to technical engineer, designers, and drafters to gain the cutting edge CAD knowledge to re-enter the work force.

Mr. Lamit, Mr. Gee and Mr. Klingman were most helpful in teaching the CAD skills and answering the practical design and engineering questions that people encountered in using the programs to do design and engineering. I appreciate their help, and would urge the College administration to preserve this excellent CAD program. Without taking the importance away from other subjects and departments being offered at De Anza College, I can think of few classes that are so critical as CAD design knowledge to mechanical engineers, designers, and drafters in today's work environment. In the San Francisco Bay area, there are very few such CAD programs being offered. It would be a great loss to students at De Anza and the community if this program was to be further curtailed. I have attached my resume with this email to demonstrated that even an experienced, professional mechanical engineer, have gained useful new skills to be able to return to productive work in the depressed job market. I have also attached a job posting at New Wave Research, where I applied and am now working. If De Anza College takes preparing its students for working in the Silicon Valley as one of its goals, then this CAD program should be kept. I appreciate your time to consider my input in this matter.

I have been a practicing mechanical engineer at large and small companies in Silicon Valley for 25 years (Cornell University BSME ‘79). I am a Finite Element specialist and hold a PE license. I’ve served in functions from Senior Staff Engineer in R&D, managed Mechanical CAD & PCB Layout groups as well as Dynamic Testing labs. More recently, I have also joined a startup in electromagnetic devices as a founder. And I hold 4 US patents with several more pending, and have several publications in the IEEE Journals.

I have seen first hand and been involved in the now ubiquitous adoption of computer-aided design and analysis that forms the standard practice in any successful business enterprise today. The pertinent CAD software packages used in these engineering companies are one of the highest, if not the highest capital investment made in their engineering departments, often representing 100’s to millions of dollars of annual investments. And employers are required to get the maximum effective utilization out of these tools for their businesses. These all require well-trained designers and engineers. There simply is no room or time for untrained workers.
A unsatisfactory current way to train employees is to send them to 3-5 day intensive training classes at a cost of $700-$1250. But the size and complexity of modern CAD software simply does not allow anyone to achieve productive mastery in only 1 week, just like you wouldn’t expect anyone to complete 4 years of college in only 1 semester. This is where the De Anza 12 week CAD classes really shine. They offer a well thought out practical curriculum, with modern software already installed on modern computers, allowing their students to achieve proficiency rapidly.

A testament to the value of the De Anza program is its use by the many practicing engineers who have found that they needed to master CAD later in their careers for employment purposes. I personally know many engineers who have relied on the De Anza program to give them skills allowing them to find gainful employment. Flexible class hours (evening classes), and affordable access to latest revisions of the major CAD packages (Solidworks, Autocad, Proengineer, etc.) has been key to giving the general engineering community achievable access to essential training. Unlike many other academic courses, these skills obtained are immediately financially useful.
I personally have attended 3 classes (Solidworks, ProE), and tried to attend another (Inventor) but found it was cancelled. I shudder to think the damage that would occur if the technical community in Silicon Valley were to loose this economical and effective way to maintain and improve its CAD skills. Surely, the employee base will decline and the competitiveness of the local businesses suffer, not to mention the financial harm to the engineers themselves.

As a Mechanical Engineer in the telecom industry with a BSME from UC Berkeley, and 9 years of industry experience, I am always looking for ways to keep up with current technology and further develop my skill set. In Spring 2002, I decided that learning Pro-Engineer would soon be a requirement for my profession and began investigating various options for learning. Several of my co-workers in other departments had attended PTC training seminars, which were very expensive and compressed a significant amount of information into a relatively short period of time. Both of these factors made the intensive seminars an unacceptable option. I looked for course offerings through local institutions but found none that were offering anything above basic AutoCAD.

A co-worker recommended De Anza and a quick online search of their offerings impressed me greatly so I decided to enroll. It was the second week of class, and I was not currently registered at De Anza, but I was given a taste of the spirit that I was to find pervades the department. The instructor (Paul Klingman) quickly returned my e-mail inquiring about enrolling and told me there was room in the class and to come in the next morning. Upon arrival the next day, I was pleased to find a well-equipped classroom with an atmosphere very conducive to learning. In that first quarter I learned the basics of Pro-Engineer with a depth that would not have been possible crammed into a one-week course. The quarter long format allows students to absorb the information at a steady rate, and practice what they've learned with an instructor available to answer questions, rather than "drinking from a fire hose" and then trying to figure everything out on your own weeks down the line.

Over the next few quarters, I branched out taking SolidWorks, and Inventor as well as nearly all of the available Pro-Engineer classes. During this period I also learned that the department staff was dedicated to supporting those who don't fit the mold of the traditional junior college student. The staff understands that their students are there because they wish to improve specific skills and not are necessarily looking for a degree or working towards transferring to four-year school. They work within the rules to ensure that these more mature students get the necessary time in front of appropriate computers to learn these highly technical programs. I, personally, was able to sign up for an evening class which was full, attend the lectures, but do the work during a daytime lab I was also registered for. As a result of this support and flexibility I have been able to complete the requirements for a certificate, which I hope to receive in the fall, when the new program is in effect.

In order to meet the employer’s needs in the anticipated economic turnaround, it is essential that this type of program be available to train the workforce. While I am still currently looking for work, I believe that listing De Anza and the programs I am now familiar with on my resume have helped me get several interviews and will eventually result in a job offer where I can use and further develop the skills that I have learned in the CDI CAD department.     

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CDI Building: ATC 313
Contact: Max J. Gilleland


Last Updated: 5/30/13