Disclaimer | This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.
Have you been facing a quarter-life crisis and questioning your career choices? If architecture is something you are remotely considering, we might have a solution.
The pressure of deciding the future can be daunting. And often, our passion and our choice of job may not be in sync. But know that it is never too late to change this.
Architecture is a field that many people are interested in but they back off because of long years of schooling. Yes, you might have to spend some more time learning the processes, but it is going to pay off.
To help you figure your life out, we have curated this detailed guide. First of all, we will begin with the factors to consider if you want to become an architect, and then we will move on to the traits of an architect. That will help in understanding if you have the qualities that make you eligible for the job.
So, let’s get started.
Things To Consider If You Want To Be An Architect
Every career option will need complete dedication, and you will need to put in everything to make it big. Below are some factors that you should know about before you step in. We have not sugar-coated facts and have tried to pen them all down. Read on to know about it.
Long Work Hours
The architecture industry as a whole involves long working hours and even working weekends if necessary. There are designs to be made and approvals to be got, which end up taking a lot of time. Often clients keep asking for changes, and you end up working all night. Hence you should be prepared for it if you are entering the industry.
Architecture schools have projects that need students to pull all-nighters, which later become normal in their office space. But not everybody wants to do this or is comfortable with this grueling routine. If you want to be an architect, but are confused about the work hours, ask them in the interview.
Many do not talk about it, fearing that they might be rejected, but that is not so. Put it in a very polite manner, asking them how a typical day at work would look like for anyone at your level. This is not offensive, and HR will be happy to answer it. Being honest always works out in the end.
There are offices which have strict 40 hour weeks, and overtime is only done when necessary. You might have to search a little more, but we are sure that you will find the right balance if you are passionate about architecture.
If you are wondering about the schooling required for being an architect, yes, it takes a lot of time. A graduate degree in architecture could lead to more than 7 years of being at school learning about it. Also, this does not immediately give you a high paying job. You might have to struggle for a few more years to get a good salary.
Many people have been voicing their concerns about it, and the US decided to make it easier. Now you can also select a NAAB accredited school that will provide you with a professional degree program. Most states will need you to have this degree in order to get a license. It is the fastest way to becoming an architect and earning a good salary.
If you are in the middle of pursuing a degree, you can start taking freelance projects on the side. This will help in gaining more exposure while you are studying to get a license. But again, only do this if time permits. Do not try to pack your schedule as too much pressure could give you negative results.
Tests And Internships
There are a number of tests, courses, and internships that are needed to become a good architect. We have already mentioned a professional degree, and that will help you in saving time, but it is best to get started early. We know it can be pretty expensive and you might not earn a lot in the beginning.
Do not wait to get older, as you will need a few years to buckle up. Internships are also key as they will shape how you see the architecture industry in general. It is time to learn as much as you can and look for a good mentor. The return on investment can be very fruitful if you start well and have a mentor who helps you out.
Now, many professionals complain that their salary is too little. We want to tell you that these are mostly beginners or people who are in the first few years of their careers. With the cost of living becoming very high in cities and the new generation preferring to live in it, salaries can often seem low.
You may have to pay a large amount of rent and then live on a budget. Also, aspiring professionals are still paying off their student loans, which bring down the spendable income a lot. So, please do not believe it when they say this industry does not have money.
You can get a 6 figure salary if you stick on and be passionate about it. Hard work and dedication have no alternative, and we are sure you will be able to ace it if you have the will.
Also, if you love the city you are living in, it is great but if it does not attract that much, consider shifting to areas with lower rents. This will help in saving a lot in the initial years so that you can have your own house later.
A common complaint with people entering into this industry is that they do not get designing jobs in the beginning. Many have to wait for years before they are entrusted with this responsibility. Now according to us, it is vital to earn your successes, and once you do so, the journey should be pretty smooth.
That being said, if you are wondering how to go about it, look at the basic responsibilities that are handed to you. You might not be given the task of designing a building, but you might have been asked to design the lobby.
This is the place to impress, and you should aim to make the perfect lobby of all times. Let your boss know that you can handle stuff well, and he will be assigning bigger jobs soon.
Also, learn to be responsible and trustworthy. These are the 2 qualities that employers love, and it is going to take you a long way. If the boss can trust and leave a job on you completely, your career will grow. Of course, the growth rate also depends on the kind of office you are in as all firms do not operate in a similar way.
Traits Of An Architect
In the following section, we have discussed the traits that an architect has. If you can relate with most of them, you should consider being an architect.
Are you a creative person in general? This is a very important trait and will help you be an architect. Have you been staring at house designs and patterns wherever you go? Do you tend to pay more attention to colors, tones, and decor in any new place? If you have the eye for it, architecture is a great field to think about.
There are people who use spreadsheets to think and organize, and then there are those who draw every thought in their head. When we say drawing, we do not really mean with paper and pen. You could be painting on digital software or by hand on paper; it is about your interest in drawing. If you find yourself thinking through drawing, this job might indeed be the perfect option.
How many times have you walked into a store and have looked around to see the design and decor? Starting from the light fixtures to the walls, handrails, switches, and ceiling lights, if you are noticing all of these, you have an eye for details. This is an important trait to have for architects and will help you a lot once you decide to become one.
If the window patterns concern you more than the menu in restaurants, we would seriously ask you to consider this industry. Patterns and behaviors are some things that architects have to take in and learn from. They are usually learners who try to take inspiration from everything around them and then create their own.
If you always felt the need to build things, then you might be on the right track. Architects have this inherent need to build things. You will often find them with their sets of tools, thinking about making something. If you relate with it, congrats, you might just be well-suited for the job!
Adaptability And Willingness To Explore
As an architect, the projects that you work on and design are not for you. Hence, it is important to learn to listen and pay attention to what the client wants. It may not be the area you specialize in, but you should be willing to explore new designs and structures.
Paying attention to every detail is a great trait to have. If your brain is wired to be always looking for interesting details, this might be another indication that you could be a great architect.
Some people will not remember the names of streets, people, and places but can draw the entire floor plan of a building that they have visited once. If the details interest you, start painting it in your head. That will help you progress.
Also, it’s essential to remember that trends are constantly changing, and there are newer designs and technologies coming up every day. If you have an eye for details, you will be able to follow this easily.
Role Of Math
There are many architects who say that they are not great at math. We would like to tell you that it is okay to feel the same way. A good architect needs to know the basics that are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; that much skill should suffice.
Yes, you will need to take your course, which might involve more difficult problems. But if you can ace it, the professional world will not be as difficult.
Many individuals do not choose to work in the same field that they have studied. This is by no means a failure. You might have studied something else and then decided to shift to architecture after your first degree in another field. This is absolutely alright, and as they say, it is better to be late than never.
Remember to follow your heart and do what it says. If you are passionate about a field, you will do better in it. And architecture has truly interesting things to offer. The satisfaction that comes after you have closed your first project and created a structure is overwhelming.
And the best part is that you can see your work and the look on people’s faces after they walk into a new space. Their satisfaction is bound to make you smile.
With this, we have come to the end of the article, and we hope it will help you decide if you should be an architect. Until next time.