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Seriously, what other careers can architects make a move into?

Oct 17 '12 55 Last Comment
prasalvi92
May 29, 14 4:03 am

Hello,

You could try for the following options:- 

Construction Project Management

Real Estate and Urban Infrastructure

and also 

Construction Economics.

 

I think you can find more information here:-

http://www.ricssbe.org/programs/

donnieswan
Aug 22, 14 4:16 pm

Architects are very smart people and they are very well informed and are the masters of the construction industry. They are well aware about the organization related to construction business, therefore, they can become a great stock analyst particularly for construction market. They could guide people to invest in the organization that rules in the construction industry.

A normal person is not so much informed about these things, the news we hear or see regarding any fall or rise in the construction industry, what is the source? The source is these people who are working in close coordination with the organization. For an instance, the news about jawad rathore who was responsible for the fraud for a construction company. Architects of those company already knew what the company was leading to and what was their plan of action way before this was revealed. They can become a boon to people by sharing their thought and become a great stock advisor or stock investor.

bornagain
Oct 12, 14 12:27 pm

I first read this thread a couple of years ago when I was really struggling with whether I should stay on architecture or pursue a different career path. So now, after changing to IT consulting 18 months ago, I want to share how my experience has been, the good and the bad.

Just as a bit of background, before I left, I was working in a small practice in a big city and I looked around me and thought - do I want to be where my boss is in five or ten years time? The answer was a flat no. There were a few reasons for this

  • My boss worked 6 days a week and very long days on a salary that supported a very modest life 
  • The work the office was doing was for all for developers that had no appreciation or concern for the impact of design on the city, or the people that would inhabit the spaces we designed.
  • I was working long hours for low pay, as are all of the architects I know in this city
  • I know I could have found a more design focused firm, but I had decided I wasnt going to give it another year. I felt that at 31 I need to make a decision and fast, as to whether I was going to change career.This was not an easy decision for me. I cried about it. I had done my professional exams and had 5 years post grad experience at this stage - it seems like so much to give up. But I did it.

I applied for an entry level position with global IT firm. I have been working as a business analyst for some very big clients since I started. It is a million miles away from working in an architecture practice - but I like it and I am glad I have made the change. I am a happier more optimistic person these days. 

I have jotted down some things I think I've learnt from the experience. I'm sure not everyone would agree with the below - but this is my experience - my reality

  • I have learnt that the client and not the architect is responsible for the project. When I say this I mean, the architect is there to advise - ultimately big decisions are the clients, and they must be held accountable. Knowing what I know now, I would have started the very first meeting with RACI diagram calling out who us responsible/accountable/consulted/informed for every part of the design/construction process. The client commissions the project, they are the one that stands to gain from its success, so they need to actively fulfill their role.
  •  I have learnt that the client needs to be actively managed, and in particular, the client's expectations need to be managed. Expectations about what is possible within the time frames they dictate, with the resources they are willing to pay for. Software companies are good at this and I think architects could learn from them. I know architects of course do do this to some degree, but how many provide a weekly update on every part of the design that will impact delivery with a RAG status for example? I'd be surprised if it is many or maybe I was just working in the wrong places...
  • I have learnt that I as an architect, I didn't always deliver what the client wanted, because I had my own agenda, I wanted to design what I thought was good architecture, even what the client wanted was bad architecture. I don't think I was wrong - I am just more aware now of what I was doing. Architecture was emotionally charged for me. I cared hugely about what I created. With software design, I care about delivering value to the customer - value through 'their' eyes not mine. 
  •  I have learnt, that people in other industries work damn hard too...they just get a few more benefits for doing so. I'm not working any less hard in my job now but I get more holidays, share purchase plans and a defined career path. This stuff may not matter to a lot of people, but as I got older, and started to think about having a family, I had to admit to myself that it mattered to me
  • I have learnt that it is really fulfilling to work in an environment where people come from different educational backgrounds and have been actively trained to be good communicators and leaders. I thought that I would miss not working with architects - but I don't. I have actually met fantastic people - and amazing managers, who know how to get the best out of people.  I wish that architecture firms invested in their people to help them to have these strengths.
  •  I have learnt that although I don't do architecture on a day to day basis...buildings and architecture is still there - but it cant still be as much a part of my world. I was scared that architecture was part of my identity, part of how I defined myself...'I'm an architect' - what would it be like when that wasn't true anymore?  I do feel like I have lost a part of my identity, I thought oh- ill keep going to lectures etc..i'll keep engaged....but the truth is, making it in a new career takes all your energy, it takes hard work to re-invent yourself and learn about your new field and takes up a lot of time. 
  • I miss feeling passionate about something I am working on. The only plus I can see about being dispassionate, is being able to say 'ok I'm stopping now because thats as much output as I can do in the 4 hours you paid me to work on this'  ....which will ultimately allow me to have other things in my life, other than work. 

There is no 'beauty' and no 'soul' in IT consulting. But I am sad to say  - nor was there in many of the arch projects I worked on as an architect. The positive things about IT consulting for me has been working with new technologies, the speed at which things move, delivering something the client really values - and feeling like I have a brighter future. 

My ultimate ambition is to bring my 2 career worlds together some day, some how, because I don't feel like I could do what I'm doing now for the next 20 years . Time will tell, whether I did the right thing or not.

Hope this is useful to anyone reading, Thanks

bornagain
Oct 12, 14 12:58 pm

I have realised that I have more to say on this topic...

Feeling dispassionate about what you are doing as your job is a HUGE price to pay for job security and the other benefits that come with doing jobs outside architecture if that's what you are considering. I think architects contribute a huge amount to society, and it is this passion to contribute to society that keeps architects working for sometimes, what seems like little return. 

In my new career, I have had the misfortune to work in some pretty uninspiring locations in this city, and have experienced first hand what the world looks like when architects lost the will to bring beauty to a place, or failed to convince those with the power to make a place something that is beautiful and is a positive place to foster human interaction

I am sad writing this because I was idealistic about what working in architecture would be like, and realise that once my idealism waned, I couldnt see the value that I and other architects brought. If you can stop one ugly building from being created, or create one beautiful place, that is a contribution to be proud of. You may have had to sacrifice something to make that contribution but it is worthwhile.

The thing is, I feel like, with what I am doing now, which is essentially management consulting, I am learning the skills to influence and lead - the skills I dont think I was learning when actually working as an architect. So for me, ultimately, I might be able to contribute more in the long run by taking this route, than by producing tender sets for buildings I am only half proud of. 

nyander
Oct 22, 14 10:05 pm

@bornagain

Great story! 

I understand your feeling. Overall, how did you get into IT, did you go back to school? Also for what? I was thinking of that as a change in career but it was pricey to accomplish in school. How has your salary improved?

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