PTC University instructors are some of the most talented in the industry. Want proof? Read our recent interviews with Windchill instructor Matt Kisamore
and Creo instructor Samba Sannabhadti
Or, keep reading as PTC University Technical Instructor, Cristina Gutierrez, shares what students can expect from the Creo courses she leads.
Thanks for meeting with us today, Cristina. To start, can you share a little bit about what you were doing before you started teaching PTCU’s Creo training courses?
Of course. I studied manufacturing management with a concentration in manufacturing processes. In a nutshell, I studied how you move something through a manufacturing environment in the most optimized and lean way. With extra emphasis on manufacturing processes. So, specifically with machining tools.
After school, I moved into a role as a drafting engineer and manufacturing engineer. I say these interchangeably because I worked at a small aerospace company, so the roles were a bit fluid. I wrote work instructions on a shop floor and gained a lot of experience looking at processes. I studied how things were moving through the line and how people were using a variety of technologies. I was the one looking over the drawings, and then the one implementing those processes on the shop floor.
Many engineers design parts and then send those parts to be manufactured. But I think about the manufacturing process first since I was the one implementing the work instructions.
Understanding how a part is going to be built and how it is going to work are critical. They’re important to consider. I challenge my students to think, for example, “If this is how someone is going to make it, let me design it in Creo based on that information.”
So, in your courses you’re using real-world examples that are pulled from your own experience?
Yes, and truly I will say that I love working at PTC because we have access to cutting-edge technology. That’s what attracted me to this job. However, my experience prior was working at small mom-and-pop shop manufacturers. So, I know the limited manufacturing experience. For example, the experience of writing a CNC cutting path on DOS, putting it on a floppy disk, and then on a 5-axis that is 30 years old.
And, I think when I teach people about our technology offerings, it’s helpful to have the experience I do. I understand the realities of how some manufacturing processes look.
It’s great that you have that lens and can help students navigate using PTC technologies in their current processes. Next question, why should someone take a course from you?
At the start of each class, I ask each student 4 questions:
1. Where are you calling out of?
2. What industry do you work in?
3. What is your experience with whatever the topic is and Creo/other modeling software?
4. What brings you to class today?
I'm sure when I ask these questions, students think I’m just doing it to be nice. But, I’m a real person, not a computer screen. I try my best to create an individualized learning experience. Understanding the answers to those questions helps me gauge if we might have technical difficulties or language barriers. I can also cater my suggestions or examples to their industry and experience level.
I do very little lecturing. I tell students at the beginning of class, “Hey, I'm not going to be doing a lot of lecturing, because Creo isn't a theoretical, abstract concept. It's a program. It’s a tool that you're going to use.” So, my teaching style tends to be very hands-on. I lecture as I'm doing hands-on activities, rather than having a lecture portion of class followed by exercises.
Do you have any tips for students who are going to take PTCU courses?
Yes. Have at least 2 screens. You can have the course open on one and the virtual machine on the other. Even better if you have a third you can use for other resources or programs.
Also, think about the order in which you take courses. Make sure the order makes sense. You can reach out to Training Support
if you need help figuring out what courses to take and when to take them.
Be prepared to engage with your instructor. Come to class with your questions and needs, so the instructor can help you. For example, I could recommend other instructors who have professional experience that fits with your needs.
I also tell my students to interrupt me. I've taught the class before. Nothing they’re going to say will throw me off. I can just look at the slides and jump back in where I left off. So, they should ask questions as soon as they have them.
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with taking courses on topics you already know. You can learn new, more optimized ways of doing things.
Specialization Badges versus Professional Certification – How should they decide?
One thing to consider is that the Creo Parametric Professional Certification Exam
is going cover every single topic. Be aware you might not need to know about every single topic for your work. Not every topic is relevant for every industry. So, Specialization Badges
might make more sense for you.
Personally, I would pursue a Professional Certification because I need to be fluent in every aspect of Creo. I also think having a full knowledge set can be important. However, I also wouldn’t want a piece of paper that says I know how to do something if I genuinely don't. So, I would want to make sure I had time to complete all of the courses I’d need to complete, if I wanted to earn the Professional Certification.
I know we don't have an unlimited amount of time. So, if I had scheduling constraints, I might look at the Creo Training Catalog
and decide to work toward something like a Modeling Specialization or a Documentation Specialization, rather than the certification.
Last question, what is your main goal as an instructor?
I want students know more about the topic after the class than they did at the beginning.
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About the Author
Tiffany Bailey is a content writer and editor for PTC. She has more than a decade of experience as a technical writer/editor. And over 5 years of experience writing about mechanical engineering, 3D CAD, and PDM. Her work spans topics like data migration and management, IoT and big data, IT security, additive manufacturing, simulation, and SaaS. She especially enjoys interviewing customers, product managers, and thought leaders to uncover new ideas and innovations.