The LabVIEW Learning Curve

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NI LabVIEW software is built in such a way that it not only increases productivity for simple measurement and control applications, but also has the power to automate very large systems. The challenge for many LabVIEW users is making the move up the LabVIEW learning curve to implement more sophisticated systems.


Larger, more complex applications differ from simple ones in that they can contain numerous VIs and subVIs and multiple loops or processes running simultaneously; they are often used, supported, or maintained by someone other than the developer; and they may be “mission critical” in nature meaning that problems could result in significant business loss or safety risks.

Even users who have been developing simpler LabVIEW applications for many years can have difficulty delivering a more complex system that is both high quality and on schedule. They may have to learn software engineering practices for designing, developing, and testing before getting started.



There are key software engineering skills at each phase of a project that engineers must know to develop larger, more complex applications in LabVIEW.


In order to ensure users move up the LabVIEW learning curve to the point where they can deliver larger applications, National Instruments offers several LabVIEW certification levels to help them achieve success.


Associate Developer Proficiency (Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer (CLAD) level, LabVIEW Core 1 and 2 courses)

  • Develop small to medium applications (less than 50 VIs)
  • Use, debug, support, or maintain previously developed LabVIEW code
  • Spend less than 10 hours a week using LabVIEW, only planning one LabVIEW project


Developer Proficiency (Certified LabVIEW Developer (CLD) level)

  • Use LabVIEW on a regular basis to develop applications (70 to 80 percent of your time)
  • Design medium to large applications in LabVIEW (50 to 500 VIs)
  • Modify or upgrade previously developed LabVIEW code
  • Develop applications used, supported, or maintained by others
  • Plan a career where you will use LabVIEW for multiple projects
  • Develop LabVIEW code as part of a larger team
  • Manage a team and must know the difference between good and bad code


Architect Proficiency (Certified LabVIEW Architect (CLA) level)

  • Design large LabVIEW applications (more than 500 VIs) with high-level design requirements
  • Manage a team responsible for delivering large LabVIEW applications
  • Work in a regulated industry (military/aerospace, automotive, medical) and design mission-critical applications where incorrect execution may result in safety risk or significant loss


To obtain these levels of LabVIEW proficiency, there are several options available:

  1. Independent-study education—Read books, product documentation, website tutorials, and so on.
  2. Instructor-led education—LabVIEW training courses in small classes taught by skilled instructors
  3. Hire an expert—Hire a Certified LabVIEW Developer (CLD) or Certified LabVIEW Architect (CLA) for your team
  4. Hire a team of experts to build the system for you—National Instruments Alliance Partners have years of experience


To choose your proficiency level and training option today, visit


This article first appeared in the Q4 2011 issue of Instrumentation Newsletter.