“Parlez-vous Francais? Non? Pourqoi pas?” I spent a week in Paris in 2009, and while I had attempted to dredge up my high-school french vocabulary, I was sadly at a loss to communicate with language-proud Parisians. I faltered, I feined, lost my confidence and ultimately, I choked, resorting back to English. Thankfully, most people acquiesed politely.
This experience is not unlike that of infrequent visitors to the land of Revit. Folks who’ve taken the 3-day Fundamentals course from their software vendor, or once downloaded all the tutorials, but after getting revved up for a few days, don’t keep up with it, and when later thrown on a project immersion-style (so often the situation during these overhead-restricted times!) the vocabulary fails them, and there’s a retreat back to CAD. It’s a law of languages, and being conversant in software languages is no different: Use it or lose it!
And the risk of what may be lost isn’t just in applicable project time. I recently attended an AIA Mentor Group meeting, and the panel discussion focused on the number of currently unemployed designers and architects all vying for the sparse opportunity listings. Literally hundreds of applicants offering a spectrum of qualifications may be reviewed for a single position, and one panelist stated that aside from the most obvious qualifiers of education and applicable experience, that he looks to see what an applicant has done SINCE their last employment position. Have they pursued parallel interests? Acquired new skills? Brushed up on old ones?
Being between jobs can be the perfect time to get back into solidly learning Revit skills, to strengthen that vocabulary so that if the opportunity to ‘speak Revit’ comes up, you don’t have to resort to flash-cards!
Autodesk has several redeployment offers to make the software accessible, and for discounted training and tutorials. Take advantage of them! And once the tutorials have been run through, keep practicing on datasets you build yourself – model your home, your corner coffeeshop, you last firm project that was documented in CAD. Yes, working on your own will run you into stumbling blocks, but not unlike attempting to read Little Prince en francais, you can take your time with it, research each step through the help files and other sources such as AUGI forums.
I also highly suggest forming your own learning networks – I often attempted to connect sole practitioners who took my formal training classes to trade contact info and meet up weekly to discuss what learning curves and hurdles they hit while modeling on their own. I myself lead a small group of designers – some employed, some not – that meets online via conferencing software once a week. We review issues with their current projects and lay the groundwork for thinking strategically about the next steps. The group is building their vocabulary up, little by little, and are becoming proficiently conversant in their Revit worlds. All are building their confidence up as well, and as I can vouch for with attempting those new (or newly exercised) language skills, confidence goes a long way.