Autodesk University 2015 in Las Vegas is right around the corner. Where did the year go??? If you haven't signed up to attend Autodesk University, there is still time to save your company money. Register for Autodesk University by September 24th and you'll save $500 on the price of the conference pass.
You've done your research, you've made your case to the boss, and hooray! The boss accepted and has agreed to send you to Autodesk University. What do you do next?
Get your travel accommodations set up as soon as possible. Hotel rooms in the host hotel can fill up quickly. If that happens, you can find a different hotel to stay at but it will make your life much less convenient. Don't underestimate how much you will walk while at AU. Staying at a hotel other than the host hotel will compound the amount of walking you will do. You can also probably get a better rate on airfare by booking sooner rather than later.
Classes generally run from 8 am to around 6 pm each day (see schedule for exact times). Your company is paying for you to attend this conference and I recommend you try to get your money's worth. Schedule as many classes as your schedule will allow, or as many classes as you can handle in a day.
Use the class list filter to your advantage. You can sort by industry, software title, day of the week, time of day, speaker, or any combination of those filters. When I choose the classes I want to attend, I usually start by looking through the class catalog filtered by the software that I use. I add any classes to my favorites list that sound interesting to me based on their description. I don't worry about the day or the time, I just add the classes to my favorites. You will end up adding more classes to your favorites list than you could possibly attend and that's OK. The hard part is deciding which classes to keep and which classes you will have to pass on.
Think about the things in your daily job that you wish you could improve. Look for classes related to those topics first. Imagine how impressed management will be when you come back with something to show for the money that has been invested in you. You can also use this next year as one of the reasons they should send you back.
Extend your skills
Next think about things that are included with your software that you aren't currently using. For instance, an Inventor user may see a class on Positional Representations. Maybe they don't currently utilize Positional Representations. Is that because it doesn't pertain to the work they do or because they don't know what Positional Representations are or how to use them? Now is your chance to go see what that subject is all about.......and from an expert no less!
Learn something new
If I still have gaps in my schedule I try fill those gaps with classes for products I don't use. What is VRED? How does Revit work? What is this Autodesk 360 all about? Maybe you will come away with an idea for a more efficient workflow. Worst case scenario is that you spend an hour learning about something completely new. That wouldn't be so bad would it?
As Autodesk University gets closer, look for more posts from Mechanical Advantage about making your AU experience more enjoyable. Things we learned the hard way.