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How to Navigate the LabVIEW Learning Curve

Publish Date: Feb 06, 2012 | 23 Ratings | 2.70 out of 5 | Print

Table of Contents

  1. Are You Where You Need to Be?
  2. Determining the Right Level of Proficiency
  3. Related Resources

NI LabVIEW system design software is built in such a way that it not only increases productivity for simple measurement and control applications, but it also has the power to automate large systems. The challenge for many LabVIEW users often lies in moving along the learning curve to implementing more sophisticated systems:

With LabVIEW, you already have the tools you need for your next project. As your applications grow more complex, LabVIEW is powerful enough to meet your expanding needs.

1. Are You Where You Need to Be?

Even users who have been developing simpler LabVIEW applications for many years can have difficulty delivering a more complex system that is high quality and on schedule without first learning software engineering practices for designing, developing, and testing.  

Complex applications differ from simple ones in that they

  • Can contain many VIs and subVIs (>50) and involve multiple loops or processes running simultaneously
  • Are often used, supported, or maintained by someone other than the developer
  • May be “mission critical” in nature—incorrect operation or downtime could result in significant business loss or pose major safety risks

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2. Determining the Right Level of Proficiency

As the complexity and size of your projects increase, the application itself determines the concepts and capabilities you need to successfully implement it. This means that as you take on new projects, you may need to learn more to be considered proficient. National  Instruments certification levels are designed to help measure your proficiency; however, these levels are merely meant as benchmarks to help you gauge if you have the skills your application requires. Read on for a breakdown of the proficiency levels and their corresponding project examples.

Architect Level Proficiency—Overseeing a team for a large or mission-critical application?

This level of proficiency is appropriate for LabVIEW users who are

  • Determining and designing the architecture for a large LabVIEW application (>500 VIs) from high-level design requirements
  • Project managing a team of more than one developer responsible for delivering a large LabVIEW application
  • Working in a regulated industry (mil/aero, automotive, medical)
  • Designing a mission-critical application for which incorrect execution may result in a risk to safety or significant loss

Sound like you? See the concepts and capabilities necessary at this level and the recommended learning paths.

 

Developer Level Proficiency—Developing medium to large applications alone or as part of a team?

This level of proficiency is appropriate for LabVIEW users who are 

  • Using LabVIEW on a regular basis to develop applications (spend 70 to 80 percent of your time developing LabVIEW code)
  • Designing and developing medium to large applications in the LabVIEW environment (50+ to 500 VIs)
  • Significantly modifying or upgrading previously developed LabVIEW code
  • Developing an application to be used, supported, or maintained by others, whether colleagues, technicians, or customers
  • Planning a career where you use LabVIEW for multiple current and future projects
  • Developing LabVIEW code as part of a larger team
  • Leading or managing a development team and needing to be able to understand/judge the difference between good and bad code

Sound like you? See the concepts and capabilities necessary at this level and the recommended learning paths.

 

Associate Developer Level Proficiency—Infrequently developing LabVIEW code?

This level of proficiency is appropriate for LabVIEW users who are

  • Casual coders—Spend fewer than 10 hours a week developing applications in LabVIEW; infrequent LabVIEW developer—planning only one LabVIEW project
  • Developing or supporting small to medium measurement and control applications in LabVIEW (<50 VIs)

Sound like you? See the concepts and capabilities necessary at this level and the recommended learning paths.

 

Additional Proficiencies

Finally, be aware that the most successful applications involve a high level of domain expertise in addition to an appropriate level of LabVIEW proficiency. After the developer level, you may start to specialize in the nuances of either multitarget, embedded applications or larger, multideveloper applications, depending on your specific needs.

 

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3. Related Resources

The LabVIEW Learning Path and Training Courses

Benefits of Certification: Survey of Certified LabVIEW Developers

Understanding the Value of NI Training

Calculate My Return on Investment for NI Training

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