PTC University Senior Technical Instructor, Matt Kisamore, is a bit of a technical expert when it comes to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solutions. With over 7 years of experience with Windchill PLM and other PTC software, Matt started out working as a consultant, helping Windchill customers set up and configure their systems. Today, Matt uses that hands-on experience and software expertise to lead courses on Windchill, ThingWorx, and Windchill RV&S ALM.
Ever wonder what PTC University courses are like, who takes them, or what to expect when you sit down to take your first course? We recently blocked off some time on Matt’s Outlook calendar, so we could get the inside scoop on what someone can expect from a Windchill training course.
Keep reading to find out what we learned.
Sure, it’s important to recognize that Windchill, for example, is broken into several areas. For example, three of those areas are Fundamentals, Business Administration, and System Administration. In the Fundamentals courses, there might be predominantly engineers. These are people that are using Creo 3D CAD and then uploading Bills of Materials (BOMs). They’re taking courses to learn the system so they can do their job.
Then, in the Business Administration track, I tend to find more administrators, network administrators, and people from implementation teams—since their job as a business administrator is to configure and customize Windchill to meet their business use case. They're the ones writing the workflows, customizing the lifecycle, and doing all of the admin work.
Finally, in the System Administration courses, I find mostly IT professionals. For example, server administrators or people with Linux or Windows Server experience. They might want to learn how to install Windchill, how to perform maintenance, or best practices for backups.
And, it’s worth noting that the majority of the students, like around 80-90%, are beginners—people who don’t have prior PLM experience. The rest of the students are at an intermediate or expert level. They’ve used Windchill before and are trying to level-up their skills, or they might be looking for an onboarding training solution and they want to see if PTCU courses can help.
The Fundamentals track is made up of four courses, and each course is three hours. The first course is an Overview. In this course, I walk through the basics of what PLM is, how to navigate the course portal, the student guide, how to provision a virtual machine, etc.
In the next course, we look at Creating and Managing Work. Students get to see the UI and then they get a chance to click around in their virtual environment. We look at data in the data tables and talk through how data views can be customized to different users.
Next, we take a closer look at Change Management. This is one of the biggest features in Windchill. In this course, we look at problem reports, change requests, change notices, change tasks from implementation plans, and how the steps all work together.
The last course in the Fundamentals track focuses on the Engineering Bill of Material (eBOM). This covers things like the part structure and the connections between CAD authoring tools, like Creo.
These courses are three hours each, and they’re prerequisites to each other. So, for example, you can’t take the Fundamentals of Change Management course until after you complete Fundamentals of Creating and Managing Work.
Yeah, each of those Windchill Fundamentals courses that I mentioned, someone working toward a Windchill Fundamentals Certification takes those four courses. Then they take a Windchill Fundamentals Certification Exam. There is also a Windchill Professional Certification Exam that tests on knowledge around business administration, BOM management, system administration, and systems and software engineering.
Of course. Courses on, for example, Creo or ThingWorx, tend to include a bunch of finite examples and exercises. For instance, “You want to do X. You do it by going through these steps.” Windchill courses are more theory-based. In Windchill courses, we want to ensure students understand the core concepts behind Windchill and PLM in general. Every Windchill environment can be different. No one is working with an out-of-the-box version of Windchill. Because of this, Windchill courses have more hypothetical scenarios and workflows.
However, I like to provide opportunities for students to get hands-on experience, whenever possible, by using the VM as much as I can. This gives students the opportunity to get their hands dirty in a safe, constrained environment—the VM with a Windchill installation. They can break it, they can make changes, and they can gain experience without affecting their production environment.
And some of the exercises we use are real-world scenarios. We take a scenario that stemmed from a real customer, but all of the customer data and the strategy behind the configuration has been scrubbed from the example. We’re left with an exercise that might sound something like this, “Customer A is asking for B, C, and D. How could they achieve that?”
Within the course delivery platform, students can use buttons to raise their hand, or signal they’re good, not good, or confused. I use those prompts to gauge whether students are following the course content.
Students can open a private chat with me whenever they need help or have questions. Interruptions are always welcome. At the beginning of each course, I tell students they can unmute themselves if they ever want to ask a question or provide examples or feedback to the group. So, if a student wants to speak during the class, they can! If they want to ask a question privately/confidentially through chat, that’s fine too!
Yes, that’s correct! And, I try to be engaging, telling jokes and such. Plus, at the very end of each course, I provide my email address in case they want to provide feedback or have any questions/needs that come up in the future.
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