Autodesk University 2015 at The Venetian

Arriving at Autodesk University 2015

We've been waiting all year, and the time has finally come for Autodesk University 2015 to get underway. Whilst the conference doesn't officially begin until tomorrow, several pre-conference activities have already begun. I stopped by the registration desk after grabbing a bite to eat for breakfast this morning and plan to attend the Infrastructure Summit a little later today.

Autodesk University 2015 at The Venetian

Autodesk University veterans will notice a few changes when registering. First Autodesk sent out an email with individual QR codes for each attendee. Simply open that email and scan the QR code at the registration desk and your badge will begin printing. Likewise, gone are the old paper badges wrapped in a plastic holder. Badges for this year's conference are printed on plastic. A nice touch in my opinion.

In addition to attending this year's conference, I'll also be presenting three classes. Be sure to follow me on twitter @TheCADGeek to receive live updates from the conference.

Autodesk University 2015 Wednesday Live-Stream

Experiencing the Best of Autodesk University 2015 from your Desk

We're less than a week from Autodesk University 2015. This final week is the point where those lucky enough to have a ticket to Vegas are bated in excitement and those without - well perhaps next year? Although there's certainly nothing like attending Autodesk University in person, not having a ticket to Vegas doesn't mean you have to completely miss out on the awesomeness of this year's conference.

Similar to previous years, Autodesk will stream select sessions live to the audience of the world wide web. Your ticket to Autodesk University becomes an internet connection and about an hour of your time. If you haven't already checked it out, the full schedule of sessions that will be live streamed are available on the Autodesk University website. In short, Autodesk has set up two channels that anyone may connect to during the three days of the conference. Each channel will broadcast four sessions per day.

Below is the full live-stream schedule. Visit the Autodesk University website to learn more about each session, and sign up to attend live sessions.

Autodesk University 2015 Tuesday Live-Stream

Autodesk University 2015 Wednesday Live-Stream

Autodesk University 2015 Thursday Live-Stream

Autodesk University 2015

Are Certification Exams at Autodesk University 2015 worth it?

Autodesk University is less than two weeks away, and like every year I have attended AU - there's plenty to be excited about! AU 2015 will be my 9th conference, and even after all these years I still get excited by things like the general session/keynote, and seeing the many cool things on display in the exhibit hall. This year I was particularly excited to hear the 99% Invisible host Roman Mars would also be in attendance.

Another incredibly popular benefit offered to attendees of AU is free software certifications. I was excited to see the benefit extended to AU attendees several years ago, and am excited to see Autodesk extending the offer of free Certifications once again this year. In short, I would encourage anyone attending AU to take advantage of the free certifications offered at this year's conference. It's a great benefit, and it's FREE* - so why not?

The Price of Free Autodesk Certifications

Free is a relative term here. Depending on the way you've structured your schedule, most people will have time for about 5 classes per day. That means you have the opportunity to attend about 15 classes during your time at AU. Not accounting for the value of things like the many networking events offered at the conference, that means the value of each session is $112-$145 (depending on when you registered). Although not free, the typical pricing for a single Autodesk Certification exam (outside AU) is approximately equal to the value of one AU class. While I absolutely encourage every AU attendee to take advantage of the free certifications being offered at this year's conference, missing more than one class has an impact on the total economic value of your AU experience.

Historically, the Certification Lab has been a popular place at AU. During peak times, you may find yourself missing more than just one AU class to take the Certification exam. The good news is peak times shouldn't be as painful as they have been in years past, as Autodesk has expanded the certification lab once again this year.

Although wait times should be better than last year (even during peak times), my recommendation would be to structure your schedule in a way where you aim to miss no more than a single class to take the exam. If your flight happens to get you to Vegas before noon Monday, you could avoid missing any classes as the Certification Lab does open on Monday.

Safe travels to everyone traveling to AU this year, and good luck on your Autodesk Certification exam(s)!

To learn more about Certification Exams at Autodesk University 2015, and to see the full lab schedule, visit: