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    Want to be an Architect?; Don't Learn Revit

    Everyday Intern
    Feb 5, '13 1:14 AM EST

    Before you skip the rest of my post and start flinging words around in the comments, hear me out. I think Revit is a valuable tool and that soon (if not already) it and other BIM programs will become just part of the game and you'll have to learn it. It's either that or you can become an employer and just be out of touch with reality. 

    Right now the majority of the employers who are looking for and hiring interns with experience in Revit are only looking to hire people to work in Revit. You may get lucky and be tasked with teaching the old curmudgeons in the office about the fancy new software, but you don't want to do that anyway. You know better, and you don't want to be pigeonholed as a Revit monkey anymore than your forefathers and foremothers wanted to be pigeonholed as draftsmen and draftswomen. You understand that it takes more than a computer and a copy of Revit to create a building and you want to find a job that will guide and encourage you to learn about what happens outside your user interface.

    Let's play around in the Job Board for a little bit. Search for jobs containing the keyword "Revit" and (at the time of this writing) you come up with no less than 157 matches. But wait, you're not an architect yet, you want to become one. Search instead for jobs with the keyword "intern" and you get 46 matches. Not too bad if you don't need to narrow your job search for a specific region. Of those 46 matches, add the keyword "Revit" once more and you'll see that now there are only 20 jobs that want you to be both an intern and know Revit. I can't say how many of those are in your region or even if they'll look at a candidate from out of the area.

    20 jobs. Out of the 46 positions for interns, less than half want you to know Revit. Okay, you'll stand out if you learn Revit and the employer will want to hire you over the next candidate. But you're not really standing out with just knowing Revit. Pretend you're an employer looking in the talent finder for someone who knows Revit. There are 1312 talented job seekers vying for your future employer's attention. It gets better if you add "intern" to the search terms, now there is only 187 competing for 20 jobs. But remember, these are just the people that have created a profile with Archinect. There are plenty more who have made accounts and look at the job boards and even more than that who lurk around there without logging in. 

    The point is that Revit will not get you onto the short list. And if it did, rest assured that you would only be working in Revit, especially if you tout yourself as an expert in order to stand out. Why would an employer want to pay you, the Revit guru, to waste time working on obscure IDP hours when they need you cranking out drawings?

    Revit may guarantee you a job, but it won't guarantee you a license. And you paid way to much for that fancy education to get stuck modeling and printing CD sets competing with people who can do the same after spending some time with a pirated version of the software and google.

     (I'll let you search for the pirated software on your own)


    • XESON

      what a great set of knowledge for some1 like me, a student of architecture graduating in next 2 years. as far the post goes recently for about last 6 months i m extremely into REVIT just because i think what i lacked was a way to put forward the idea in my mind the right way, i m very weak on the manual side and was desperate to have a tool to represent the idea in best possible way as always my teachers would appreciate the idea but not what was on paper. i hope i am moving in right direction and would extremely appreciate ur precious advices if any still comes by....


      Feb 13, 16 11:58 am

      TBH I recently graduated, worked in a consultancy firm specializing on consulting every firm in the world in BIM then moved onto BIM for the surveying industry, every job I've had in the last several months have only been BIM Coordinator or BIM manager. People are finding it hard to even offer me entry level architecture jobs because of my specialization and what I'm already paid.... 

      Not that I want to go back to architecture but if you don't want to be in my predicament don't specialize.  

      Feb 14, 16 5:55 am


      It took me 5 years to evolve from a BIM Chimp(Revit Specialist) to a project designer - once you get pigeon holed, it is real hard to get out - In order to get past the Revit Specialist slot, it was necessary to find good offices(that are not well known) that were willing to "trade" my Revit skills for their architecture assignments - that has worked for me - you can't get away with that at a big name firm - there is just too much competition from those who have the architecture design experience and Revit experience as well - try picking a small not as well known firm that needs your Revit experience and would be willing to "trade"

      Feb 14, 16 5:09 pm

      "And to be honest, I would MUCH rather have a new hire that knows how to put a building together than run Revit - even for production.  A lack of the former cannot be overcome by any degree of the latter.  IMHO, Revit makes this more grossly apparent than in firms producing CD's in 2D formats"


      Good luck with that. I've seen Revit jockeys and non-Revit jockeys alike, and the one thing that people couldn't care less about was whether the new hires knew how to put the building together.

      But since they were hired as DESIGNERS, I guess that's OK.


      But let's blame the software.

        Feb 16, 16 5:06 pm

        I was hired right out of school because I could put a building together and in Revit

        Feb 16, 16 8:16 pm

        As it should be. Most folks I meet who come out of school think cantilevers need no back span and are confused as to why there are joints on their facade.

        Feb 17, 16 11:56 am
        Sorrowful Giuseppe


        Let me tell you something.

        I have been a revit user since early 2006.

        I have love-hate relationship with it now.

        Revit is just a tool. Nothing more nothing less!

        Feb 17, 16 12:41 pm

        Hey guys, Im an architect in a foreign country and was curious about what you meant when you talk about CD's, IDP and ARE. Would greatly appreciate an answer.

        Mar 27, 16 3:39 pm

        CD = Construction Documents.

        IDP = Intern Development Program. Administered by NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards) it is a program to categorize and document the experience portion necessary* to be eligible to become a licensed architect in the United States. Will be renamed at the end of June to the Architectural Experience Program (AXP).

        ARE = Architect Registration Examination. Also administered by NCARB, a series of examinations that upon passing fulfills the examination portion necessary* to become a licensed architect in the United States.

        *There are of course alternative paths to licensure in various jurisdictions within the United States, but the pathway relying on IDP and the ARE (as well as a NAAB-accredited degree) are accepted in all US jurisdictions.

        Mar 28, 16 12:31 pm
        jeff bergeron

        this is an interesting subject... topic. 

        i have been involved in the "real-A-state" apocalypse.   and during this same time... it has seamed that 'revit' has became the new "thing" (autodesk has it's pull on the scheme of things - the profession)... although i believe that what others have said in this post... a 'pen' can not replace a head in getting a building built - let alone designed - because i have to think that it starts with a pen and ends with the contractor and ultimately with the client.  i often joke about how i think the profession should go back to "hand drafting".  because i believe the profession should be an art on all senses.  but my situation is that most jobs "require" not only you know revit, but you have a few years under your belt with it.  i suppose this is the modern day of a draftsmen?  i'm not sure?  and i suppose me getting a job at a warehouse for a few years during that transitional time did a lot of bad.   but what i'm thinking is that these firms that have a pre-qual to a software are wanting a draftsmen (someone to do the grunt work of the contractual work to the contractor and client)... and that's not my goal.   but it also seams that even getting into a firm these days all revolves around your experience (with software (BIM)) and not your mentality and goals / culture?  so i guess my question is... i've been in the profession for several years... and i feel like i'm just getting back into it (i.e because of my lack of practice of revit i am like a graduate)  because of software?  or waiting for the right firm... which i guess is what the issue is and always has been...

        what are others struggling with in all this....?

        i cant' be alone here......

        Jun 5, 16 10:44 pm

        so here's a 2016 update.  you WILL get passed by for entry level jobs or even jobs slightly further up, with say 5 years experience.  

        i've interviewed very well with employers and when the discussion about Revit comes up it's the deal breaker.  i have demonstrated through examples of CD's that i have used Revit in the past. But because those were done in my m.arch program it didn't seem to count.  

        employers do not want to invest any time in training someone how to use the production tool despite their knowledge of how to "put a building together" or a "great design portfolio."

        my next interview will require me to BS much more heavily on my Revit ability.  

        honesty and physical proof of using it is not enough.  

        Jul 27, 16 2:52 pm

        that worked back in 07' - which is how I got my first job in arch - but today - you really have to have the actual experience and many firms test you - 

        Aug 2, 16 6:35 pm

        non of this is true today....

        Nov 2, 16 8:17 am

        The recent "How to get a job at CO Architects" post affirms what everyday intern suggests

        "Design sensibility, critical thinking, and effective communication are essential. We also look for computer aptitude, but not necessarily specific software, as individuals with aptitude can typically pick up any necessary software.... Each new hire immediately joins a project team and is integrated into the office through their team. If employees need Revit training, we will provide them formal instruction. They will also be oriented to our office standards and resources."

        Albeit this is just one firm, I believe good firms look first for a good cultural fit, and trust that capable, intelligent, and motivated people can learn skills quickly. Wouldn't most rather work for an organization that is willing to teach its employees? Shouldn't this be part of the responsibility of any good office?

        Nov 2, 16 12:50 pm

        Well, it was written more than 3.5 years ago. Also the 2nd sentence in the post is this:  

        • "I think Revit is a valuable tool and that soon (if not already) it and other BIM programs will become just part of the game and you'll have to learn it."

        If it still bothers you that much, you could replace the word "Revit" with whatever is the new buzz word that young aspiring architects think will make them employable (Grasshopper, Dynamo, killer renderings, etc.).

        Nov 2, 16 1:03 pm

        square - i'm calling bullshit on the CO Architects post.  I guarantee if you go into an interview there and say, "oh I don't know Revit, but you guys said you train people so no problem." you will not get hired.  

        bottom line is that the industry is cutting out anyone who does not stay on top of technology.  and the bar keeps getting raised higher and higher on how much tech you know and how much experience you have with it.  

        eventually there will be a chasm between people who just use cad and those who use Revit.  the auto cad users will be designing chicken coops and stock house plans.  Revit users will get all the good jobs.  

        would any of you hire someone who does not know autocad?  of course not is the answer.  

        Nov 2, 16 3:21 pm


        I think the point is if you know enough software, you can conceivably pick up another pretty quickly. Of course you wouldn't get hired if you offered your response; there is a much more tactful way of saying you don't have much experience with one piece of software. There are plenty of firms who embrace this attitude. Like I said, I would be weary of a firm that expected a candidate to know everything as an entry level designer.. I guarantee that is a reflection on the office culture. 

        Nov 3, 16 8:28 am

        If everyone is interested what Revit and BIM does to the discipline I suggest him/her to read Mario Carpo's "The Alphabet and  The Algorithm"

        BIM is not just a tool. Something more than a tool. Something vary dangerous to the discipline. 

        Nov 14, 16 5:12 pm

        Learn Revit just don't be the go to guy/girl.

        Nov 16, 16 5:04 am

        Learn Revit just don't be the go to guy/girl

        sadly this is the road to ruin if you aspire to be an architect - you will get pidgeon holed as some kind of BIM/Cad coordinator 

        it and all parametric design processes are design tools - dont be a fool and become a tool of the tool

        Patrik wants to use parametric modeling to leverage himself into #10 - 

        Nov 28, 16 10:15 pm

        How about ArchiCAD and Grasshopper

        Mar 2, 18 2:19 pm

        Revit is the new Autocadd, and it gives designers and architects a better idea of what they're doing.  The lines and every snap to item stay on point everytime, no more disconnected lines, and no need to draw sections so BIM is here to stay.

        May 8, 18 3:17 pm

        This post is dated. The opposite is true now. Revit is the key skill set employers seek for junior and mid-level interns architects. A good design portfolio is the icing on the cake. A shame but true. 

        Jun 6, 18 4:55 pm

        I think you read the title and missed the point of the post. I never said that Revit is not necessary (in fact, I wrote that it would probably be a requirement). I just said that it isn't going to be what sets you apart in the crowd. It also isn't going to guarantee that the job you get is going to help you progress to becoming an architect.

        Wow this thread did not age well.... 

        Jul 27, 18 4:58 pm

        How so? Using the same methodology, the current resultant pool of available jobs for interns that know revit is 32. The talent finder shows 399 archinect users that would fit that criteria. Back when I wrote this article the ratio of candidates per available job worked out to 9.35. Today it is 12.47. By this logic, this post is even more relevant today than it was 5 and half years ago. Using your Revit expertise as a way to "stand out" to potential employers is not going to cut it. You need to figure out other ways to stand out in the crowd of applicants.

        Bob Lesage

        Do learn Revit, do learn everything that makes you more technical, your technician and the engineers you work with will thank you for it. There is nothing worth than a clueless arty farty architect who only speaks one language, that of his own ego.

        Heard about Frank Gehry? You think Revit is too hard? Try adapting Dassault Systemes Catia to make the Louis Vuitton house tangible. If you are that great that you should not use Revit or live on the same ground as the people who work with you, it is most likely you should create your own firm and your talent will do the rest. Albeit you know what we say about people who have talent but no working skills... they usually don't go very far. 

        You want to become a great architect? You must learn to work with others. Revit is a collaboration tool, it makes your ideas real.

        Sep 3, 18 4:05 pm

        I don't know much Revit. I heard it doesn't work well for drawing renovations to existing buildings or for doing things outside of a narrow range of work, so what's so great about it? 

        How many Revit users make 6 figures? How many non-Revit users make 6-figures?

        Sep 4, 18 10:14 am

        There are ways to use Revit effectively in historic preservation but it might not be as efficient as some options other options. Like residential work and historic preservation work, Revit requires a bit of work in custom creating components and profiles. These are the things that would be tedious when the profiles are already packaged. While I am not an expert in Revit, these are things I have learned about Revit. Creating profiles and component families would be one of the most important skills to learn to make Revit useful.


        tintt, for your further possible benefit consider photogrammetry tools like Agisoft Photoscan (as an example) and you may generate mesh and/or point clouds that you can bring into Revit. 

        This is another tool for your consideration in the process of using Revit with renovation of existing and historic buildings of various sizes. With a few control measurements done in the field, you should be able to generate a good model with stunning accuracy if you do your "data" collection properly. (data collection as in photo data).


        I think you should update your post.

        I say don't learn Revit. It allows hiring managers to more easily weed out the weak.
        Sure, i know you said,
        "Revit will not get you onto the short list. And if it did, rest assured that you would only be working in Revit, especially if you tout yourself as an expert in order to stand out".
        "Revit may guarantee you a job, but it won't guarantee you a license."

        Not knowing Revit won't even get you on the list. BIG BIM, VDC and O+M models are required by clients more and more. Also, nothing will "guarantee you a job" and a license is the result of perseverance, practice and discipline. Interns in our office are required to have a working knowledge of Revit. 
        As with any tool, one can leverage it to create greatness or complain that it pigeonholes one into the role of "operator".
        You have to steer your course and quit being a victim. If you want to be an architect, learn the tools.

        Oct 2, 18 11:24 am

        That's the thing.... you have different options for tools including "paper+pencils+pens/markers+hand+brain". They are all valid processes & methods.


        Personally, I recommend learning Revit or another similar BIM tool at least to the point that you have sufficient working knowledge and skills to be able to use the tool efficiently. 

        BIM-CAD programs requires a different approach to design process than what I loosely call "traditional" CAD (AutoCAD 2d/3d, and similar pre-BIM CAD programs). "Traditional" CAD programs will continue to be used in smaller residential projects like SFRs and similar scale projects where the client would not have some kind of "professional" facilities management and other such users that benefits the most from the special features of building information modeling. 

        To be blunt and clear, I am not a BIM wiz. It can do me good to learn more about how to use Revit better and employ them in practice. I understand why some have been hesitant in adopting BIM in practice in the sectors that I work in as a building designer such and I see that with some architects. I'm young enough in this field that I should learn Revit and other BIM tools not to be the "Revit guru" but that it would become ubiquitous as traditional CAD as older traditional CAD process fades out as it did when we phased out traditional drafting (non-computer based). The customary practice of sketching, drawing, and very preliminary rendering with non-computer based tools continued but the process of developing "working drawings" requiring precision vector drawings demanded use of CAD and plotting. Even if you are a dinosaur (or dino-sore like myself) and use blueline machines or old school cyanotype for copies sent out, you can still use the computer and plot the master copy and use these traditional blueprinting methods for making "photocopies" of the master copy if you so choose. 

        In an age where we are seeing more digital delivery of works and digital-based submission to building departments, large format traditionally drafted drawings requires large format scanning. It is usually better in the future to relegate hand drawn drawings on sheets that are 8x11 to about 11x17 with less expensive scanners and then you can incorporate the scans to the rest of the work. 

        While some dinosaurs like us who might like to produce true blueprints (cyanotype), this is on the "reprographics" end of the process. You can use any modern process to produce the master drawings provide you approach the working drawings in B&W or gray scale with good contrast levels in your master drawings that they would produce clean, legible blueprints. While this would only matter to a special niche.

        For the rest or any of us, we are seeing Revit and similar "software" as being a ubiquitous part of the design process employed by the building design professions and outright the design of the built environment we physically live in.

        When I began studies in CAD, BIM was still kind of emerging even though forms of BIM began at near the same time frame as the introduction of AutoCAD but BIM-based CAD were more expensive and required a higher end level of equipment and it took time for it the mature and emerge as the mainstream tool for designing buildings. 2d vector CAD (and soon later, 3d vector-based CAD) tools like AutoCAD took off and were adopted by the marketplace of architects and engineers because the process is so much more similar to the 2d based drafting approaches we have been using for centuries before computers for production of working drawings.

        BIM is closer in some sense to traditional physical model-making but within a computer. It brings with it, its own joys and frustrations for the user of BIM based CAD tools.

        Reasons that I have rarely employed Revit in smaller residential projects is the workflow and process overhead of using Revit (and the learning curve) made it difficult to employ in low margin projects like small additions, interior remodels, and decks which I can draft by hand faster. It is not an excuse to never learn Revit or any other BIM CAD software and associated tools.

        This is not to say for higher end residential projects that Revit can't emerge as the better tool to use. In this age, we are seeing people use combination of tools and processes like using SketchUp, traditional sketching/drawing, and Revit. Note: the Architect, designer, or engineer would use the appropriate tools and process for efficiency and competitiveness based on the nature of the project scope and requirements.

        What I can tell from experience and observation is that we are living in the computer age and work flow in any occupation depends on use of computer software tools.

        A resource that I have found to be helpful for those learning to use Revit would be to read and study from the books by Daniel J. Stine.

        "Residential Design Using Autodesk Revit" (there are multiple editions based on year. I have a few edition from 2007 or 2009 or whatever and coming for 2016 (and in the near future 2019 edition) as well as "Architectural Commercial Design Using Autodesk Revit".

        I deliberately omitted the specific year for you should choose to use the version that covers your particular version of Autodesk Revit but you can usually get by using a version of the book that is a year or two earlier than your current version. 

        There are also other additional resources online that you can use.

        One thing I said earlier is important, creating profiles and component families are among the most powerful and useful things to learn and understand and gain proficiency in. Revit's stock component families are limited especially for the creative type that likes to use custom designs and details that are not pre-manufactured or prevalent today like old historic components. If you can mentally break-down a building down to the components level, you'll need to bring that break-down into your Revit family of components, profiles, etc. Custom wood working are things that will be maddening if you try to look into Revit for that components. Guess what? You won't find it there unless someone did that for you already. Well.... you are not likely to be that lucky!

        Oct 5, 18 11:32 pm

        To sum up a point. I am not learning Revit to be a "Revit guru". I'm learning it so I can more effectively design projects with it. I may have my knowledge and skill proficiency using AutoCad, Sketchup, other computer based tools, and non-computer based tools and processes. Revit is another tool and AutoCad as we know it or otherwise as a distinct non-BIM process will eventually be phased out as BIM process becomes THE standard process for projects of all types and sizes. It will be a matter of time. Autocad emerged as a serious replacement for hand drafting in the mid-1990s and the definitive standard by 2000. BIM emerged as a serious replacement of AutoCAD around 2010 to 2015 and its growing to become the de facto standard tool for all architectural projects from small decks and remodels of rooms to full fledge skyscrapers by possibly 2030 to 2040 or so. It is merely a guess but I am seeing the pattern and movement towards people knowing the tools as standard.

        There is no guarantee or prediction of exactly when everyone will no longer use AutoCad. There are some who still draft by hand. 

        When community colleges, technical colleges, and universities stop teaching Autocad as the main tool and teaches Revit or Archicad or similar BIM tools as the main tool being used, we'll get a clear picture that BIM tools as the standard tool for designing buildings.

        I know this article was geared to architects and those who want to be architects. I like doing those tricky things that move Construction document forward and training architects to lessen technological disruption in business. My goal is to become a bim manager. if you have project where you need some who does not mind working in revit, look me up I am happy to help. 

        Dec 25, 18 4:03 pm

        I love these guys that use Revit and do not know their job. They create millions upon millions of dollars in change orders. They issue revision after revision and simply make some job so they could never lose money. Please keep hiring these Revit "Aces" and filling our pockets with money! 

        Feb 26, 19 9:22 am

        I say learn Revit. Be the "Ace", especially if you don't want to be in debt from school loans.  Look at an architecture firm or the field in general.  Architects are a dime a dozen. Sorry people, it's true.  How many architects are in a firm and how many BIM managers?  I have no degrees and make six digits as a BIM Manager in the midwest, thanks to my knowledge in the software and its predecessors.

        Dec 18, 19 11:05 am

        gp1, good for you in finding your niche. Have you been able to get licensed as an architect in your current role?

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    An ellipsis [...] is used to signal an omission, an unfinished thought, aposiopesis, or brief awkward silence. Architectural ellipses are those aspects of the profession we (perhaps intentionally) omit, gloss over, or let dwindle in silence. Generally applied this blog should encompass many aspects of the profession. Yet, as an intern architect I'll focus primarily on the architectural ellipses that occur in the internship process.

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