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I am a professional who has a degree in architecture but has not as of yet worked at an architecture firm. I understand I would probably have to start at the bottom as a CAD guy, but this is not an issue for me. My question is: am I still able to market myself as a viable option as an employee, even though I've never worked in an architecture firm and am almost five years out of school? I have worked with AutoCAD and with architectural drawings, but in another industry entirely.
DETAILS: I graduated in 2012 with a BS in Architecture and after that worked in architectural surveying for a year. Since then, I've been employed at a decor/printing company providing CAD services for clients. The job description essentially boils down to doing anything CAD related for our clients. While I do not create construction documents, I do modify drawings sent by architects for clarity for our own purposes. I draw basic elevations from time to time. My design experience is largely in decor items using AutoCAD and Solidworks (signage, frames, shelves, assemblies).
you won't know until you try
Maybe try a firm that does a lot of interiors where the experience in decor items might come in handy, and you're not immediately overwhelmed with regulations and such.
TBH Most firms will probably take you over a graduate cause you have experience with all the software and office experience.
You should present yourself as having some useful experience, but also as having been sidetracked but now knowing that you want to get back to what you studied and intended to do all along. I don't mean you should paint your other experience as negative - you should highlight what you learned and that it was a useful and enjoyable serendipitous diversion. It's just that you'll need to be convincing that you do actually intend to focus for the long-term on a more traditional career in architecture now - otherwise firms may see you as someone who might not stay long in the field and thus a risky investment, because this will be your 3rd career shift in 5 years.
You probably also want to make it clear that you understand that your experience to date, while very useful and potentially valuable to a firm, is very different from architecture firm experience. I say this because firms are sometimes skittish about people who might view themselves as more immediately useful and experienced than they actually are. Radiate humility and a willingness to set aside everything you think you know and learn from the beginning.
I can kinda sorta relate to you somewhat, I went to a jr college for 1.5yrs, worked as a architectural drafter for 3.5yrs, went back to college for 6yrs. only difference is I think I had more work experience than you which allowed me to climbed back into the workforce quickly.
in my mind you have stated it yourself, you will come in probably as a intern architect (cad guy/gurl) and be expected to pick-up redlines, draft sketches, model, file documets etc. Cast your net wide, work hard, and im positive an opportunity will turn up. Expect your pay to be anywhere from 29-35k
How different is the academic studio to the work flow in a real firm? I've been out of architecture for 8 years, and I highly doubt I'll be prepared to go back in now...
^ going back after 8yrs is doable. its mostly dependent on your determination, expectation, and willingness to be taught.
relative to your experience, nothing much has really changed in 8yrs besides the increased use of revit and more user friendly software that you were probably using in studio. but obviously you are expected to produce at a 9-5 which is a challenge for most college grads who have minimal experience whether having a hiatus from the field or not. as I said earlier, be prepared to come in at $29-34k, probably no real benefits, pick-up tons of redlines, draft prelim sketches, interior & exterior elevations, wall sections, order product samples, put together color & material boards, modeling, carry out admin duties etc.
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