Autodesk University Beginners Guide

Autodesk University 2015 is just around the corner. This will be my fifth Autodesk University and I look forward to it each year. It's a great place to expand your skills, meet new people, and catch the latest industry trends. I wasn't sure quite what to expect the first time I attended Autodesk University and I learned some lessons along the way. I thought I would pass on some of the things I learned to speed up the learning curve for new attendees.

Register ASAP

After you get checked into your room and settled, it's time to head to the registration area. Pick up your badge and any other related AU material that you will receive. Doing this the morning of the conference is not a good idea. This is also a good opportunity to gauge how long it will take to walk from your hotel room to the conference area. 

AU Badge – Bring it everywhere

You will need your AU badge for anything related to AU. To eat breakfast or lunch. To gain access to the classes. To get into the exhibit hall. To attend any after-hours functions. To attend any offsite functions. If you ever ask yourself “Do I need my badge?”, the answer is always yes. It’s a long walk back to your hotel room when you realize you forgot it.


It isn’t uncommon to walk many miles in a day, or to stand for long periods of time. Wear shoes that are comfortable so you can make it through an entire day’s activities without focusing on sore feet.

Miles I walked on the final day of AU 2014

Freshman Orientation

Plan on attending Freshman Orientation. This session doesn’t take that long and it will be well worth your time. Lynn Allen will give you a rundown of events at AU as well as her own AU tips and tricks. And pay attention to what she has to say, I believe she has attended every AU that has ever been held.

11904 - AU Freshman Orientation 2015
Monday November 30th - 5:00 - 6:30 PM

There’s an app for that

There is an Autodesk University app available for iOS and Android. You can do different things with the app such as look at your class schedule, Social Media engagement, and message other AU attendees. The app requires you to be connected to the internet. There is free WiFi available in the conference area, but if you can’t access the WiFi, you can’t access your schedule.

Import your class schedule to your mobile device

From the 'My Schedule' view, you can export a file that can be imported into your mobile device’s calendar. Now you won’t be dependent on WiFi and will at least be able to see your class schedule. Be sure to review all the information for these calendar entries as sometimes the class location doesn't get added. 

Important Note – When you export your calendar, choose the Pacific Time Zone. If you choose a different time zone, your calendar will display the wrong times when you arrive in the PST time zone.

Export your calendar in the Pacific Time Zone so the times display properly while you are in Las Vegas.

Export your calendar in the Pacific Time Zone so the times display properly while you are in Las Vegas.

Power up

Bring a charger and cable to recharge your mobile device. You should be able to find outlets in the conference area. I prefer to carry a portable charger in my pocket. These portable chargers are handy in many other places as well, such as in the airport or on an airplane. Here are two of my favorite portable chargers, a 6,000 mAh and a 3,200 mAh. Both of these will easily fit in your pocket.


You will need to consume fluids (And no, beer and drinks don’t count), and I would also recommend lip balm or chap stick. This was the biggest rookie mistake I made for my first AU, and my lips paid the price for it. You can also contact the front desk and request a humidifier for your room if you are really sensitive to the lack of moisture.

Say Hi

You walk in to have breakfast or lunch and sit down at a table with other people you don’t know. Don’t just sit there like a stiff, say hi and make a little conversation. You never know who you are sitting with or what you have in common with them until you ask. It’s actually a great way to meet new people.

Go Outside

These strip hotels are massive places designed to keep you in their facility. Don’t forget to go outside. My personal record for not going outside is 3 days. 3 DAYS! For 3 days I didn’t go outside, and didn’t notice I hadn’t gone outside.  Make an effort to get outside.

Other useful tips for AU

Mike Thomas (Design and Motion) - Autodesk University 2015

Paul Munford (The Cad Setter Out) - The ultimate rookies survival guide to Autodesk University