Career Aspiration - From inspector to programmer

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  • Career Aspiration - From inspector to programmer

    Hello. I have been working as a Fabrication Inspector for several years now. Of our five-person inspection team, I do 95% of the CMM programming, which I thoroughly enjoy. My inspection job has been rewarding, but I want to make a change.

    My passion and skill set lie in programming, and I would like to transition into a career as a full time CMM programmer. This will not be possible with my current employer, so I have begun researching programmer jobs. Also, my company currently uses Zeiss Calypso software, but my investigation into programmer jobs has made it clear that I need to learn PC-DMIS.

    My questions are:

    1. Is there any way to obtain an offline seat for PC-DMIS for educational purposes (I cannot afford 10k for a standard offline seat)?

    2. Does anyone have any advice on how I make this transition from inspector to CMM programmer?

    Thanks for your time.

    Last edited by MN = 32° +80/-200; 03-07-2018, 09:36 PM.

  • #2
    There isn't much of a transition. The biggest part of programming is knowing how to inspect the parts and knowing GD&T. If you know that, youre 75% of the way there. As for the coding, I learned by trial and error and by asking a lot of questions. One of the things that helped me was the fact that I had been a CNC programmer for a while and made the hop to a Romer arm.

    PCD don't have a trial or educational off-line seat. Companies like Nikon (CMM Manager) and Metrologic (Silma X4) has trial software that is fully functional for 30 days. Good luck on the adventure.


    • #3
      Your best bet might be looking for a part time job at a shop with PC-DMIS and learning there, not saying that would be easy to find.
      PC-DMIS 2016.0 SP8



      • #4
        Originally posted by Schrocknroll View Post
        Your best bet might be looking for a part time job at a shop with PC-DMIS and learning there, not saying that would be easy to find.
        or a full time job? Maybe you need to take the leap, if that is really what you want to do. Switch jobs to a place and start as a PC-DMIS CMM operator, they may even send you to PC-DMIS programming class to start you off.


        • #5
          As for question 1, as mentioned.... am afraid you're out of luck.
          You mention the 'passion' so if you find an employer who truly appreciates that, as Don mentioned.... they might be willing to give you the keys to your wish.... e.g.: A ticket to PC-Demon 101 training and if you're lucky.... an offline seat. I was lucky enough to get that, and ran with it. 7 days a week living, breathing and sleeping anything Demon related.
          Well, it started to sink in, and the light bulb eventually began to glow.
          It's the age old prob, however.... most companies want experience, but how does one get the experience unless granted the training period??
          As for question 2, I made the same transition. For me? was lucky to be in the right place at right time. One thing is for sure, when attempting to get one's 'foot in the door', it would help if you're open to relocation.
          The price of admission to CMM programmer-land would be discounted if you have a bit of wanderlust........... the ideal situation usually does not come to you.
          At any rate, good luck Jeff!

          this link might help you get started:

          it's no offline seat, but has plenty to offer for those who seek::::::::::::::::
          Last edited by sealevel; 03-08-2018, 09:26 AM. Reason: add library link


        • #6
          If you can somehow start a high school or something similar then you can get a seat for pennies on the dollar. We bought a CNC , ROBOT and CMM for a high school and we have 10 offline seats for them to use in 1 of their manufacturing classes. A single offline seat may be the cheaper option.

          So many jobs out there. You need to start looking ! Someone with 5 years already in quality ? Sounds good to me. Heck, most of the time the quality job goes to the guy who makes the least scrap parts !!!


          • #7
            Parrot here- Yeah, growing into the role of programmer is essentially the only way to garner the knowledge to program with PCDMIS.
            Calypso is entirely different, a lot more visual-based and point-clicking than the demon's script based foundation. With the demon you have to know the code and how to force it to get the job done that you need.
            If you could find an employer with Calypso AND PC-DMIS, that would be ideal, as you can prove your value programming the calypso, while learning PC-DMIS.

            Where are you located? like sealevel said, if you are willing to relocate (possibly on your own), your chances will increase.
            My employer has a CT metrotome scanner, and is looking for an Quality Auditor / Calypso programmer for that beast. We also have 3 CMM's running the demon... PM me, and I'll send you a referral email. BTW it's in Tempe, AZ, like 3 miles from ASU Main campus.
            Last edited by louisd; 03-08-2018, 12:23 PM.


            • #8
              Little advice from someone who has recently 'trained' a Calypso person, or tried... FORGET, FORGET, FORGET everything software related to Calypso and learn PC-DMIS. Don't go on and on about how Calypso this and Calypso that. This dude has gotten negative attention from all of the QC dept. mainly the poor supervisor, all cuz of wasting energy complaining. Just keep it to yourself and embrace your new adventure with PCD. Jus' sayin'!
              PcDmis 2015.1 SP10 CAD++
              Global 7-10-7 DC800S


              • KIRBSTER269
                KIRBSTER269 commented
                Editing a comment
                Isn't it pronounced Col-lap-so?

              • sealevel
                sealevel commented
                Editing a comment
                Y'all gots a pretty broad brush out to paint with. I don't see where the OP went on/on about Calypso. I'm still learning both, but in my limited experience(s)?
                There IS a big difference in the two....
                For me? Each has it's strengths...and weaknesses. But since I gotta use both, my workaround is to find, then pull on the teats that give the sweet cream, and avoid the ones that give sour. It's a long learn for me, a lot of wires not to be crossed in my CMM thinking with two armies of corporate coders battling in my head.
                That said, the two software are NOT mutually exclusive. When used as directed, they can both be safe and effective, but there IS a Hatfield .vs McCoy view taken by many....

              • Kp61dude!
                Kp61dude! commented
                Editing a comment
                sealevel is the thorn on my hip person that I've been training for the past few months....stop talking about Calypso sealevel!

                JK buddy oh and it's advice I'm not accusing the person of doing anything yet just sharing how he might sound like after a while...

            • #9
              That is so true. I liken it to the PC vs Mac discussions.


              • Kp61dude!
                Kp61dude! commented
                Editing a comment
                Oh brother! or like IPhone and Android battle!

            • #10
              FYI: 11 years ago, I interviewed at my current employer for another position. They asked me if I knew what a CMM was, and I said, "No, but I am willing to learn." So, based on my extensive experience in everything NOT CMM, they hired me. ZERO experience. ZERO training. I stumbled a few times, but picked it up. After I was here, they sent me to a few Hexagon/PC-DMIS training classes. In those 11 years, whenever we have been trying to hire another CMM person, we have NEVER been able to hire someone with experience, and have hired people that are smart, motivated to do this stuff, and appear to be dependable. After that, we teach them. So.... there are employers out there that hire untrained CMM people - it sounds like you already have a leg up on those people. Beware, there are companies that have programmers and then operators - two different job descriptions - and often the programmers are more like engineers, or IT people, than on-the-floor workers, and the operators are button-pushers. So... you SHOULD be able to find a job with your current experience, and then use your employer's wallet to get further training. Make sure you are interviewing for a position that can at least morph into a programming position! Good luck! What you are trying to achieve is very reasonable.


              • MN = 32° +80/-200
                MN = 32° +80/-200 commented
                Editing a comment
                Thank you very much for sharing that. It certainly gives me confidence to hear that there are companies out there who are willing to train the right person.

            • #11
              I moved from minnesota to michigan, here almost all companies have cmm programmers rather than inspectors that program. In addition, the transistion takes like a year to a year and a half but every programmer should start off as an inspector really. Maybe you should move here, michigan jobs pay way better too, and has less taxes.


              • #12
                There are shops out there willing to teach you.

                I had a job working in a small shop. Right around $10/hr. There was a CMM (decent size MISTRAL with PC DMIS) in the QC Dept but it was covered in dust & they didn't have a programmer. I stayed late messing with it, watching youtube videos, and crashing it as safely as I could without their knowledge until I knew JUST enough to sound like I knew what I was talking about. That took me about a year.

                I then applied for other jobs. Through out that process, I was completely honest about my skill set (pretty much nothing) but made it very clear that I was hungry for more knowledge and I was at the perfect point in my career to have an investment (training) made in me. They hired me, sent me out to Hex's 101-103 training, and then paired me up with some experienced guys who became mentors to me. Its about 8 years later & I'm very happy with where my life is.

                You've already got a HUGE leg up. You have quality experience, already know one software, and aren't some scruffy 20 year old kid like I was. Places are out there that will invest in the right people. Go for it!


                • #13
                  I agree you should go for it, sounds like you know what you want, and with you already programming you have a understanding of alignments, GD&T, and inspection which translates to a lot of programming jobs.
                  Just make sure you are being honest with the employers that want to interview you about your experience. There are alot of them out there that will train the right person.

                  I just got a CMM Programming job six months ago, after working for the last 20 + years as a Inspector,Quality Tech, and Lead Quality Tech.but I never gave up on CMM programming because I enjoy it so much!!

                  So don't give up!!!


                  • louisd
                    louisd commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes! We interviewed this kid that had put he was trained on PC-DMIS, and had a year of programming experience on his resume. When we asked him about his training and experience, he explained that he basically lied on this resume. He was an operator, a run-button presser for a year, with NO PC-DMIS training other than how to open and click execute. Even if he was a great fit for other skills, lying on the resume/interview is a massive red flag. Embellishing might get you the job, if you aren't called out on it during the interview, but it will always catch up with you in the long run. Be honest, show the eagerness and energy to learn, and express you are spatially inclined and quick to learn.

                  • Kp61dude!
                    Kp61dude! commented
                    Editing a comment
                    WOW!!! Congrats QS920 on your accomplishment!!!

                    louisd, It took about 6yrs but it finally caught up to me. Great advice to share, thanks. To the OP I went from 1yr of QC5000 to a couple months of CMM Manager to a year or so of PC-DMIS to 1.5yrs of Verifurf and finally back to PC-DMIS. All thanks to employers willing to give this hyper active young buck a shot well not so young anymore...
                    Last edited by Kp61dude!; 03-13-2018, 11:14 AM.

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