How to Build a Career in Architecture

published On Aug 15 2017

How to Build a Career in Architecture

As fascinating as it may sound, a career in architecture is an experience of a lifetime. But it is not for the impatient or the fickle minded. It wouldn't be incorrect to say that architects are a bit crazy. All creative people are in fact. It is a field of study that combines the sciences and the arts. But very few people are actually aware of what this profession is actually capable of. It opens up a wide spectrum of opportunities leading to diverse forms of career choices. That being said, a little bit of extra hard work is bound to be put in.

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DO YOUR RESEARCH

If you feel you have the flair for design within you and would want to take it to the next level and study architecture, you might just have the tool that takes it to be one. But that doesn't mean you're done. Find out about what it takes to be an architect prior to your decision making. The criteria of being able to go through it after joining an architecture college are very essential. Many students cannot handle the burden of it and give it up after spending a considerable amount of time and money. So do your research to find out if it is actually what you mean to do. Don't just join the course because it sounds cool or has been popularized by movies. It requires a rather fulfilling commitment to be able to go through it. Also, be notified that it is going to take you five years’ worth time, countless sleepless nights and a shitload of money to be out as a graduate architect.

Here, we share an insight on The Life Of An Architecture's Student

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CRACK THE ENTRANCE EXAM

Architecture has a totally different entrance exam assigned for it by the CoA, called the NATA (National Aptitude Test in Architecture). It is the basic step towards scoring an admission in any university recognized under CoA. Additionally one can also appear for the JEE Mains which is a national level competitive entrance exam conducted by CBSE. Students can secure admission to any of the IITs or NITs or other government organizations based on the JEE counseling. NATA remains a compulsory exam though which has to be cleared for an architecture education.

CHOOSE YOUR COLLEGE

Honestly, it does not matter what college you graduate from. What matters is that you are motivated throughout the five years. But it is essential to be smart while choosing a college where you are going to spend the next 5 years of your life. It is during these five years that you'll learn the ‘basic infrastructure’ of the profession. Exactly. Although you may come out to be known as an architect once you graduate whatever you learn during this phase is just a basic part towards the actual profession.

Architecture education is diverse. I repeat diverse. It encompasses almost every facet of learning you could name- History, Psychology, Science, Maths, Arts, Sociology, Disaster Management, Civics, Economics, Communication, Photography, apart from Design. A little too much? Well, besides the fact that it is a lengthy course, it is also a very happening course. One actually does enjoy the break from monotony. Thank gosh for that.

Also, read Top Things To Know Before Starting Architecture Programme

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THE CORRECT INTERNSHIP

Probably the first step towards professional, the internship really matters for an architecture student. It is a phase where you learn to trade theory with practicality. You learn professionalism, patience, responsibility and value of time. Most architectural internships are paid but that's not what is important. The important thing is to utilize someone else's experience to your learning. You see what it is like to work as an architect in reality. Many students prefer to do summer internships since the first year of college but it is a mandatory module and a part of the curriculum in the final years. Now, interning under a big name isn't always necessary but interning under the right guide and mentor is.

Do read this to know more about Brilliant Ways to Get Recruited As A Trainee Architect In A Reputed Firm

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Do not confuse an internship with employment. It is not. Most professions do not pay their interns. So do not run after money while deciding your internship. It is a phase to learn without inhibitions.

GET YOUR LICENSE

This is the stage where you apply for registration under COA once you have graduated with your certificates and degree. Getting registered under COA is mandatory to start your own practice, which most of the people eventually do. However, even if you want to remain associated with service after you graduate, getting registered is a professional formality. Once you are registered, it becomes official. 

PRACTICE YOUR PROFESSION

Leaving all the previous stages behind, this is actually the hardest part of building a career in architecture. Yes, you are graduated. Yes, you are registered. But to get employed is a really tricky part. Networking is a strong tool when it comes to getting employed. Create contacts with people in the profession. Get references. Try freelancing. Spread your value by word of mouth. You might be initially hired for a lower compensation than you expect but hold on. It is just the start to the glorious future you have envisaged upon.

Professional experience plays a vital role in anyone's career. Read here to know about more Importance Of Professional Experience For An Architect!!

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Architecture doesn't just stop at design practices. It creates a lot of different opportunities as well. Once you start working in the professional field, it becomes clearer as to which way you would want to keep going. Urban design, interior design, sustainability, green design, project management are just some of the mainstream and highly paid job profiles. Masters in any specialty just increases your chances of growing bigger and better. But there are some upcoming advances of this profession as well for the ones who may not want to remain in the core profession but use it for the greater good. Architectural journalism, travel, and photography are a few to name.

It takes a time to be successful in this profession but once you reach there, you are celebrated, because architecture as a profession is ACTUALLY very cool. Heads up!

Lastly, take a read to Architecture Student's Encounter with Reality

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