Careers

Is Architecture a Good Career? What to Know Before Taking It Up

Is architecture a good career? Do you have what it takes to become an architect? Here’s all you need to know before starting architecture college.

bilbao guggenhein museum spain frank gehry famous building

Guggenhein Museum, Bilbao, Spain designed by architect Fank Gehry

1. Career in Architecture

Architects design buildings, urban spaces, landscapes and even cities. As a respectable profession with a scope of doing your own business, architecture is an appealing career choice for the creative minds. The idea of working on new designs, and creating beautiful spaces is certainly attractive. Plus, there are so many different career opportunities & specializations to choose from. However, it is not easy to make it big in this profession.

Architects are often low earning professionals, especially in their early professional years. Being successful as an architect depends on strong entrepreneurship acumen, or building a big network of clients for your own firm.

Architecture may seem artistic, but you’ll need many other skills like math, physics and strong social skills to be successful. However, the entrance exam is less competitive compared to engineering or medical.

Architecture may require lots of onsite travel. Certain projects, jobs are considered cool and may bring fame if you’re cut out for it. Is architecture a good career for your future? Read on to find out.

Is Architecture a Good Career?

If you’re asking whether architecture is a good career choice in India or for the future, it totally depends on you. What’s a good profession for someone may not be so for the others. We have listed all there is to know before taking it up as a career option.

gsd graduate school of design harvard university architecture college

Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Industry/Sector
1.2 Social Image
1.3 Reasons to Become an Architect
2.1 Personality Traits Required
2.2 Physical Demands
2.3 Psychological Demands
3.1 Extra Curricular Activities Recommended
3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up
3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows
3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels
4.1 Part-Time Options
4.2 Traveling Required
4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect
5.1 Retirement Prospects
5.2 Threats from Automation
5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

1.1 Industry/Sector

Real Estate, construction, education, design.

Most architects work in the construction industry, working in an architecture firm, as freelancers or self-employed professionals. They may also be employed by other industries such as real estate, hospitality, etc. Furthermore, they may become professors or take up a related career in design (other than architecture). It’s also very common for architects to become full or part-time professors in architecture colleges, which has been especially true for the developed world where building projects have been sparse.

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1.2 Social Image

Good

Architects are generally well-respected in society, making architecture a good career option if you like being thought of as cool! Due to their creative nature and attention to detail, they are considered a combination of arts and smarts! However, respect depends on other factors too, like earnings and work. Some architects who don’t create original work, or whose buildings have design flaws are looked down upon. And architects who have worked on prestigious projects like famous buildings even become celebrities!

1.3 Reasons to Become an Architect

Is being an architect worth it? It could be. If you like creative work but aren’t afraid to work hard, architecture can be an addictive profession. Furthermore, architects get to meet different kinds of people, both rich and poor from clients to construction workers, which is a very humbling experience.

Most importantly, architects help shape the city they live in and contribute to society. Sometimes you get to work on famous or prestigious projects of the city or country as an architect, and that makes them earn respect and feel fulfilled. A senior architect can look back at their life and feel proud of having worked on different types of projects.

2. What It Takes to Be an Architect

2.1 Personality Traits Required/ Preferred

Hard working, artistic/creative mind, networking & communication skills, patience, strong math & spacial vizualization skills, attention to detail.

Architecture is a profession that requires a combination of many traits. Hard work should come naturally to you. Architectural thesis in undergrad and grad schools require long working hours, architecture projects take upto 2-4 years, may extend over a decade in cases so being patient is important.

You also need a good memory and precision, since architects have to memorize bye-laws, exact dimensions & area calculations. Furthermore, you need very strong presentation skills and good communication to be able to present your ideas to clients. All these traits can make architecture a good career choice to consider.

Even a self-promotional nature is sometimes required, in addition to networking skills. You also need a good taste and ability to understand clients’ requirements. Lastly, flexibility is a desirable trait for architects when it comes to choosing jobs/projects/roles. They often need to choose what’s available compared to their personal preference.

2.2 Physical Demands

Frequent travel, extra-long working hours, exposure to dust & uncomfortable site visits.

Certain projects may require frequent local or outstation travel. Also, site visits are sometimes away from the main city, so you’ll spend hours in underdeveloped areas, exposing yourself to dust and discomfort. Some specializations may require long standing hours. But most importantly, almost all architecture offices have long working hours. Working hours frequently extend to odd hours or after-hours, especially during deadlines.

Lastly, certain roles require the ability to work with building materials such as heavy, sharp objects, especially during site visits, although this will be safe.

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2.3 Psychological Demands

Less socialization outside workplace, stressful deadlines, inability to find projects of choice.

Every office has its own work culture. Some workplaces’ working hours may leave little time for socialization outside the workplace. Also, some offices have a competitive culture. But the one thing common is that deadlines are very stressful for everyone in the workplace.

Another unexpected problem is faced by architects in developed regions, which may have lower employment rates or very specific project demands. So lots of fresh graduates are forced to work in a city or project they may not prefer.

3. How to Build Interest in a Career in Architecture.

3.1 Extra Curricular Activities Recommended

Sketching, sculpture-making, clay modeling, 3D modeling, animation or image editing

Creative hobby classes are a good idea to try your hand at block-making. Go for a sketching, sculpture or clay modeling class. You can also take up beginner-level online tutorials to learn softwares like Photoshop, Maya, 3DsMax, SketchUp or AutoCAD.

architecture professional advice careers

3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up

Sketching, drawing and/or coloring Lego-sets, photography, city-planning & strategy video games like Caesar

Drawing and coloring should be encouraged from a young age, as should block-building sets like Lego. Papier-mâché, clay or origami are good hobbies since they let students play with shapes. Also, outdoor photography is a good idea. Also explore city builder games.

3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows

The Fountainhead, Man from the UNCLE, How I Met Your Mother

3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

architect profession degree worth it how to be

4. Life as an Architect

4.1 Part-Time Options

Some jobs are very demanding, especially during deadlines. So architecture jobs are almost always full time. In fact, this profession leaves little time for hobbies or additional part-time work. Some employers may allow part-time teaching, freelance writing, etc.

Self-employed professionals have to do a lot of part-time work, mainly for networking or PR opportunities. They may have to manage time for contributing towards part-time teaching, related freelance jobs like product design, etc.. This helps them build their portfolio or meet prospective clients or employees.

4.2 Traveling Required

Depends on job.

Some roles or jobs don’t require traveling at all, e.g. collaborating with international design teams. But some jobs or projects may require frequent local or outstation travel, e.g. project architect or project manager.

4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect

Architects typically have 10-7 desk jobs, which include computer drawings and team or client meetings. Some days are reserved for client presentations or site visits. Lots of nighttime work at the office with pizza is common, especially in smaller architecture firms.

Young architects frequently enjoy after-work outings with coworkers even on weekdays. Weekends for professionals are filled with household chores. Architects who have their own firms spend their free time reading to further their knowledge of famous design projects, and also meeting prospective clients.

Architects like to spend weekends doing tasteful things like visiting exhibitions, tasting food, partying. Young architects are very interested in taking up creative hobby classes like pottery, art. It’s common for architects to spend most of their free time doing freelance work or competitions in related fields like product design or graphic design.

frank lloyd architect house chicago

Residence of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Chicago

5. Future of Your Career in Architecture

5.1 Retirement Prospects

Most architects commonly work till the age of 70-75. Some architects also take up teaching in their retirement years.

5.2 Threats from Automation

Low level jobs have a threat like draftsman. Some specializations are also being highly assisted by automation like 3D modeling and construction drawing. Automation is also creating new fields of research & work opportunities like robotics.

5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

Architects mostly quit in their very early years of career. One of the most common reasons for quitting is that they joined without passion. Jobs are filled with long working hours of sometimes repetitive work and some offices have unhealthy work-life balance. A creative field that requires loads of hard work is not possible to be in unless you’re really passionate.

Another reason for architects to change their profession is that the salaries are low compared to long working hours. Furthermore, some professionals are put off by not finding projects of interest in their city.

 

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sandeep

    March 6, 2019 at 4:56 am

    This is very helpful, I will share it with my kids

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