7 Essential Steps to Mastering Civil 3D

17 January 2019All, Architecture and Engineering, Services & Support


7 Essential Steps to Mastering Civil 3D

Even if you don’t want to be regarded as a “master” at using AutoCAD Civil 3D, you may want to improve your performance with Civil 3D on projects. Maybe you want to get better at maintaining consistent data. Or you might want standard processes to become second nature. Perhaps you’d like to be able to respond more quickly when changes happen on a project. Whatever your motivation, there are 7 ways you can prepare yourself so you’ll be ready to tackle your next challenge.

1.) Spend time on Civil 3D forums

Read what’s being talked about. Explore the topics. Ask questions. Even answer questions if you can. As you peruse the answers others provide, you’ll get a more thorough understanding of the features of Civil 3D. This is an excellent way to learn more about using the software. Your best online source for Civil 3D forum discussions is forums.autodesk.com. This is part of the Autodesk Knowledge Network with forums for 90 Autodesk products. There are over 368,000 posts about Civil 3D alone. If you’re looking for something specific about Civil 3D, chances are it’s there.

2.) Attend classes

Can you learn Civil 3D on your own? Yes. World-renowned Civil 3D expert and Autodesk University instructor Brian J. Hailey, PE, transitioned from Land Desktop to Civil 3D in 2004 and learned the software on his own. But he doesn’t recommend it. “It takes a long time to do it that way,” he explains. After devoting countless hours over 14 years learning the software, Hailey is the recipient of numerous awards and certifications. You can trust him when he strongly recommends the training options below:

  • In-person custom – Get the exact workflow-based training you need quickly. In-person training is the most interactive type, so the content is tailor-made to your specific circumstances. A curriculum will be developed to meet your needs.
  • Online custom – Get the training you need efficiently and with more flexibility right from your desktop via the GoToTraining platform. Enjoy immediate improvement in your performance with better retention.
  • In-person standardized – Focus your attention on training without the distractions that go along with being “in the office.” Learning content meets the common needs of your industry, usually with an opportunity to ask limited questions specific to a project you’re currently working on. Hailey happens to teach at the Denver metro area’s award-winning Autodesk Authorized Training Center managed by Applied Software.
  • Online standardized – Classes meet the common needs of your industry, and some, like Applied Software LiveLab, are scheduled as half-day sessions so you can still move forward on your projects while getting educated. Check to see if the class is interactive with a live instructor – you’ll get the most out of the course that way. If you have trouble scheduling time out of the office, this is an ideal option.

3.) Participate in webinars

Many times I’ve heard webinars referred to as free training. They are exactly that. There are countless experts out there who are willing to share their knowledge on a subject, and Civil 3D is no exception. If you’re not familiar with Autodesk Knowledge Network  (AKN), check it out. When you do a search, you’ll find webinars between one minute and one hour. Another source for on demand webinars to hone your skills is https://www.asti.com/webinars/. Also visit the Autodesk Civil Engineering Community Center. A lot of the posts link back to the AKN, so this gives you another way to search for content you’re interested in.  

4.) Watch YouTube videos when you have a “how-to” question

If you’ve watched cat videos, you’re ready to watch snippets of Civil 3D instruction. Just don’t get distracted by eco-efficient dome homes or Clint Eastwood movie scenes. I did a search on “Civil 3D” and found videos in multiple languages in a list that just kept loading more and more pages. Let’s just say there are plenty to choose from.

5.) Take advantage of learning content

With the self-paced video content, you can learn Civil 3D on your schedule. Contact Applied Software and we’ll help you out.

6.) Read blogs

Just as webinars are a source of free training, blogs are a source of free tutorials.  You may want to check out Hailey’s personal blog, which has been helping Civil 3D users navigate the software for over ten years: https://civil3dplus.wordpress.com/. The Civil 3D Plus blog has thousands of views every month, with half a million views in the past decade. Hailey, an Autodesk Expert Elite, also writes articles for the Applied Software blog, where you’ll find blog articles from other Civil 3D experts too.

7.) Ask questions of team members

Your team may not be comprised of experts, but someone may know more about a particular topic than you do. Keeping the lines of communication open in your firm will save everyone’s time.

By following these steps, you may not end up mastering Civil 3D like Brian J. Hailey – although it’s not impossible. However, you are sure to improve your performance, your resilience and your contribution to projects.

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