Anyone involved in a competitive sport gets a regular opportunity to see how they, or their team, shape up against the competition. In business, companies can measure turnover and profit against their competitors. However, there are very few times when CAD users can measure themselves against their peers, or a benchmark, in order to figure out where they can improve. As far as I know the AUGI Top DAUG is the main public CAD competition out there - Top DAUG
Autodesk Certification and CADsmart are both excellent ways for a CAD user to find out more about their own capabilities. Certification is a valuable tool for an individual to demonstrate their competence in a specific Autodesk product, and version. Certification is only possible after extensive training, real-life experience and exceeding a minimum standard. It's a significant investment in time and money for the individual, or their employer, if they are paying.
By comparison, CADsmart is very much a training needs analysis tool with benefits for both the CAD user and their employer. CADsmart assesses core CAD skills in AutoCAD, MicroStation and coming in December, Revit. We look at measuring what one of our customers has described as "CADmanship"! We're not product or release specific and there's no pass or fail with CADsmart. We simply report the results and provide a training needs recommendation report. The individual CAD user can use this report as the basis for personal development, whilst the CAD Manager is able to pull all the assessment results together to develop a time and cost effective training plan for the whole team. CADsmart provides CAD Managers with comprehensive review, reporting and data analysis tools.
One of the unique strengths of CADsmart is the independent benchmark, based on the results from many thousands of assessments. The benchmark allows an individual to see how they compare with the rest of the CAD world, and provides the CAD Manager with a way to see how their team stacks up. Regular CADsmart assessment also provides a way to monitor personal and team improvement. Here's an interesting article in AEC Magazine about Ramboll Whitbybird for those who want to read more on the subject - RWB story.
In summary, Autodesk Certification and CADsmart are different beasts. Certification is a great way for an experienced and skilled CAD user to prove their skills in a specific Autodesk product and version. CADsmart is a training needs analysis tool which can be used by CAD users of all skill levels to help them, and their employer, identify paths for skills improvement. Take your time to look in detail at both and you'll see where they fit in to the world of CAD skills assessment. Both are valuable, and it's not a simple choice of do one or the other. In fact, why not do both!