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AU 2016 was incredible, and for a first-timer, it was one of the best experiences in my engineering career. 

Between the keynotes, the parties, the exhibit hall, and of course, the classes, there was always something for you to do and enjoy. That’s just the basics of the event, there is also the fact that you get to stay in an amazing hotel in Las Vegas. The list really goes on as to what made Autodesk University a memorable experience, but let me break down my thoughts to help you know what the event is all about – and maybe decide to come next year.

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There were thousands of engineers at the event, and it was a great place to meet new people both inside and outside of my industry. Beyond business connections, it’s great to be able to talk with others who aline with your thought processes. Everything about how the event was managed made it incredibly easy to just sit back, have some fun, and explore new technologies. The first official thing I did at AU2016 was attend the opening keynote. Autodesk certainly knows how to put on a show. We got to hear from both Autodesk execs and others who are furthering engineering innovation around the world, even a 16 year-old high school junior. The opening keynote got me excited and ready for the rest of the week.

For the rest of the day, I toured the exhibit hall and took classes. First, let’s talk about the classes. Taking classes at AU wasn’t like college, they were taught by industry professionals and were unquestionably helpful across virtually every technical industry. I took classes on startup sourcing, Fusion 360 production, 3D prosthetics printing, generative design, and startup funding. This may sounds like a lot, but I still had plenty of time to explore the exhibit hall and socialize with other engineers. Every single class I took was interesting and helpful, even to someone who doesn’t work in those topics on a day-to-day basis. Whatever your industry is, there will be multiple classes for you. It’s hard to grasp just how many classes there are but when you understand that 5 levels of conference hall rooms were continuously filled with people, you can start to understand.

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Next, to the exhibit hall. Imagine a giant room filled with cutting edge technology, software, and people – oh, and food. That is my experience at AU 2016 walking through the exhibits. Three days is barely enough time to experience everything in the room. My background is in Civil engineering, but my writing career has taken me through virtually every engineering industry. With that said, I found my self spending time at virtually every booth, soaking up all of the new information. I loved it, and I’m pretty sure anyone who like fun will love it too.

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The days continued and my experience continued to get better. The keynotes were simply awe-inspiring and my wonder about the technology to come kept inflating. There was never a shortage of food at AU, and you can be sure that you will be well provided for at virtually every turn. Apart from the scheduled breakfast and lunches, outside of all of the classrooms there was a constant supply of coffee, and snacks (even Krispy Kreme donuts!). If being in large groups of people isn’t your thing, you can always be a party pooper and go back to your room, pardon me, suite. If you stay at the Palazzo or Venetian, you will likely feel like you are on top of the world of luxury. These rooms were a joy to return to after a long day of learning and exploring.

By now, you’re probably saying, “who is this guy and why does he think AU is the best thing since sliced bread?” Well, I’m simply trying to bring you my real first timer experience at AU 2016, and really, it was the best thing since sliced bread.

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My first time at AU was unimaginable, and I hope to be able to attend many more in the years to come.

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Trevor English

Trevor is a civil engineer (B.S.) who has made a career out of engineering and technical communication. His work has appeared on Curiosity, BBC, Interesting Engineering and other sites across the web. Originally the Chief editor for Interesting Engineering back in 2016, he now works with software & tech companies, aiding them in content marketing and technical communication. Currently living in Texas, he’s also a published children’s book author and producer for the YouTube channel Concerning Reality.

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