Architecture and Computer Science?


[a bit of a back story: am in Y12, going to start applying to universities (undergraduate) in 4 or 5 months. Architecture and Computer Science (/stem subjects) are my two career choices. I've been going through a lot of talks with parents, as I was leaning more towards computer science but they were completely against it, so now I'm trying to find a way to continue studying it. Unfortunately, the more research I do, the more unanswered questions pop up in my head, here are a few..]

1. If I study architecture as a major, am I allowed to take classes, if not minor, in a science/maths subject.. maybe computer science? 

2. For that I've been researching, getting answers from websites saying if you enroll in an architecture course, you won't have time for anything else - you'll practically be living, eating and sleeping in your studio. Is that really the case?

3. Disregarding minors, the USA (UCB, Georgia Tech, Cornell) or the UK (UCL, Cambridge)?

If anyone can help, opinions and feedback are high appreciated. Thank you so much :)

May 27, 17 1:49 pm

To answer your questions:
- Yes
- Yes
- UCB USA & UCL UK (computational archi - your 2 fav things combined into 1). Don't bother w/ the rest altho I know shit about Georgia Tech.

Personal experience after taking a subject or 2 of CompSci whilst majoring Archi, it's tough. Here's my take on the 2 disciplines: On one hand, studios require time dedicated to perfection of vision while the latter requires practice to get a better fluency in computer language (gets progressively tougher w/ each subject of course). Suggest you take up some summer schools before admission to get an inkling of what exactly do you want for the rest of your life (of course it's never too late to change it up as you go along) but your parents should never be the one deciding your career.

Good luck w/ whatever your decision might be tho.

May 27, 17 2:49 pm

Another thing about computer science in the programming courses, one must account also for debugging. There is a lot more to it then just learning a computer language. There is the macroscopic software architecture and the more 'microscopic' software engineering. Basically, from abstract to the specifics and then to the actual programming implementation. There is a lot involved. This can be challenging with "building" Architecture curriculum does not integrate with the Computer Science curriculum.

archietechie brings a great point of fair examples where the curriculum is jived together and built that way. Otherwise, you can be challenged with constant dissonance between the disparate programs.


archietechie Thank you! [for the wish and for the detailed reply.] I will try go to summer schools and yep those are the top two unis im aiming for. One more thing, can I ask which university you studied at ?


RickB-Astoria That's where my worries lie as well. From what I've studied and seen, computer science and architecture design is two very different things, and I'm wondering whether I'll be able to cope with it or not.
Thank you so much for your reply!


prim, why did you repeat this thread?

May 28, 17 1:07 am

sorry for the confusion, how do I delete the other thread?



Just a small thing. Unlike Architecture school, serious Computer Science require far more advanced math skills, on a par with what is shown in these online publications, here and here. You should study CS only if you are confident you can deal with that kind of math.

May 29, 17 12:15 am

Yes. I second AdrianFGA and what others have said.

HOWEVER, if your "Math Kung Fu" is very strong, I would probably consider taking the Computer Science or other related degree and a career in the computer field as it is likely to be financially more lucrative. Getting a basic education as the foundation of your education in the computer field then you can morph your specializations through self-study and go from there.

Computer field is a face paced field so you need to be constantly learning and even re-positioning yourself with the market to keep relevant. However, the computer field is likely to be financially more lucrative over your life-time than a degree in architecture. Ultimately, you would be wanting to move up to the management/executive/leadership role as you go through a career because A) pay gets better and B) you can remain relevant without having to grind through the constant technology changes to every minutiae. You wouldn't want to remain the computer programmer but become the person higher up who directs the concept and let the lower paid grinders (programmers) do that as those positions will have rapid turnovers to reflect new skill sets expected and you can't possibly be in college/university full-time all the time for the rest of your life to gain expertise in new trending programming languages or scripting languages.

You should strive to move up to being the guy who can provide the abstract software architecture or leading video game designer. The programmer is like the construction laborers and the software architect/engineers and game designers are like the architect/engineers in the AEC industry for an analogy. The Game Developer would be akin to the real estate developer. While in the software/video game industry, all these roles are integrated into one corporation but think about who gets the most money? The programmer or the top executive / chief developer ? The pay gets better as you go up the ladder but your hands on the actual line by line programming becomes less and less and you begin to have more of a businessman role at the very top of the corporate ladder. If you choose the computer field, you'll want to start planning out a career path and adapt/modify as things go but pave a road map and establish a career path outline and work towards the goal. Implementation details can't possibly be entirely spelled out for you. You need to be flexible to alter course or strategy.

"If you are through changing (adapting), you're through"... once said by the late founder and CEO of Commodore Electronics, Ltd. / Commodore Business Machines. The company responsible for one of the best selling desktop computer models in history... the Commodore 64. You have to be able to adapt in what may seem like split second moment. The industry is highly competitive.

Being an architect to design buildings is unlikely to be as financially lucrative. It can be frustrating as hell. There is a chance to becoming successful in the career but it will take a lot of work and diligence. You won't have access to funds like crowdfunding or venture capital for professional services like architectural design services. It just doesn't really exist for the most part.

Non Sequitur

Math Kung-Fu? Nice. I can just imagine you beating down hoards of ninjas with equations 1960's batman style.




AdrianFGA yep, pretty sure those are within my abilities if i put my mind to it.


It might be true, and I agree that computer science is globally more financially lucrative, but in Thailand (where I'll be living and working probably for my whole life), architects are viewed much much more highly than computer 'scientists' (people don't call them scientists, but rather just 'someone who deals with computers'). I hate that it happens, but it does, and it affects the companies that branch into Thailand, the aspiring companies, the pay, the respect computer scientists and engineers get.. This was one of the reasons my parents opposed the idea of me pursuing computer science..

Oh and yep software architecture is great. I also agree with you about the change in positions as time passes, but it's kind of the same with architects as well, in a sense? right.. I'm not sure but they say the higher you go, the more supervising you do hence the less actual designing you do.


Thank you both! :D


Why on earth would you want to have your career in Thailand. Why not work in a country that pays you $30,000 USD to over $175,000 USD or equivalent and then maybe retire in Thailand when you have a bunch of money saved up that would be modest retirement money in the U.S. but in Thailand, it would be life in luxury of a sort in that the dollars have huge buying power. A lot of companies makes way for paying less on their human resource by setting up business divisions in countries like Thailand and pay in Thailand local pay averages instead of U.S. based minimum wage and prevailing wage standards. You wouldn't even get what would be a minimum wage job in the U.S. for many positions in almost all the occupations. You'd probably do better by flipping burgers at McDonalds and become the general manager of a local McDonalds in the U.S. I'm not saying to necessarily work in the U.S. but try most other countries like Japan or countries in Europe?


First reason's because I'm Thai, and second is parents - they always say "daughters have to take care of their parents" and said they'll allow a couple of years of working abroad then I'll have to go back to work in Thailand and stay with them

Mum once asked me would you be okay with not seeing your parents for years except some holidays, I said of course, and they got so mad that they didn't talk to me for weeks [I got so confused? I still am, because I don't think I was being unreasonable?]

I've honestly lost count of how many times I've said what you said to my parents. I can't agree more to what you said and I really (for obvious reasons) want to work abroad if not the USA


This seems to me to be more a cultural tradition. This is in Thailand so I don't know the nuance of the legal system as it pertains to women in Thailand.

There seems to be some issues I am not sure I can respond to. It almost would seem like pursuing education in any field other than adult caretaking would be somewhat moot.

What exactly does it mean by "daughters have to take care of their parents" ? That sounds like women aren't allowed to work in jobs other than as adult caretakers to their parents. One can't really work in a career full-time and be 24/hours a day caretaker. There isn't any more hours to do both.


"Mum once asked me would you be okay with not seeing your parents for years except some holidays, I said of course, and they got so mad that they didn't talk to me for weeks [I got so confused? I still am, because I don't think I was being unreasonable?]

I've honestly lost count of how many times I've said what you said to my parents. I can't agree more to what you said and I really (for obvious reasons) want to work abroad if not the USA"

This wasn't on display when I posted the previous response. In the western world, it is reasonable to not be able to be present when you are working full-time for an employer, and where the jobs that would be paying 1.0 million or more Thailand Baht. You're not going to get that necessarily in Thailand. 

Your response might have been or appeared glib or disrespectful. It can be years get into a role and position where you can be more present. There is also tools to communicate with your parents on a regular basis such as Skype and other programs with video conferencing. 


There is a point where in any career where the jobs are not in the local town, village or whatever. Caretaking is another issue. I'm not sure what the laws are in Thailand. It was an issue a lot of parents has to at some point face that children may have to in course of careers go where their career takes them so some day they can even raise their own family. At the same time, you should always strive to make communication regularly for their sake as well. I used Skype when I was at university to talk with family. It eases the emotional stress/strain that is faced by parents when their children grows up and leaves the home for college, work, career development and even to start their own family but should never not communicate with them and take opportunities where possible to visit them. Even going away to college/university for an education is going to be time away that you aren't going to be their every day as you have during childhood growing up into adulthood. Whether you immediately head to working outside Thailand but possibly in Thailand working for a company that pays you decently (comparing to U.S. and many other nations in pay). Whether it is in Architecture or in another field.


computer science = fah-q pay me

architecture = please can i have a job

May 30, 17 2:18 am

420g yeah.. sadly

420g might have a point... Data is from 2014 and computer science can mean a lot of things, but architect didn't even make it on this BLS list of fastest growing occupations.

Or from 2015

That being said if you are just really into computation and technology, the right architecture program, to second archietechie, could allow you to combine the two. Digital fabrication, parametricism, robotics, et al.

Jun 1, 17 1:02 am

Nam Henderson
Thank you for the links! 
and yep, a course like that would really be great.

Screw architecture dude! If you love it so much, go to school for CS, get into a "real" profession and make some money, then hire an architect to build the house of your dreams. Oh and contrary to what many might say, a lot of architects exist as draftspersons, to merely draw whatever the client wishes.
Jun 1, 17 3:16 am

sameolddoctor I wish I could! but the pressure that asian parents and society can put on their kid is no joke D:

Screw architecture dude! If you love it so much, go to school for CS, get into a "real" profession and make some money, then hire an architect to build the house of your dreams. Oh and contrary to what many might say, a lot of architects exist as draftspersons, to merely draw whatever the client wishes.
Jun 1, 17 3:16 am

i have an acquaintance who just got out of prison and the forklift job they found him pays him just as much as the big Toronto firm i work for with all my education.

Jun 1, 17 11:46 am

oh wow that's somehow amazing wow what


university graduate = poverty for millennial

high school drop-out = millennial homeowner


get an apprenticeship as a plumber or electrician, full journeyman (5-6 years experience) unionized rate is $45/hr ($90k year) + very good benefits.

Jun 1, 17 12:06 pm

Computer science is useful, at the very least to have an understanding of how computers work. Approaching architecture from a computational view may not lead to great architecture but that is not a given, take advice but you can ignore it.

Jun 1, 17 10:02 pm

Computer science and related degrees are a lot more than just learning how a computer works from the basic fundamental level. That's what CS101 type courses might be  like to get the fundamental down before going on to more advance level stuff. You can't easily learn trig, geometry, and other advance math courses without the foundation of fundamental level math courses building that base level of knowledge.

Add to that, there is also a number of respectable and generally accredited degrees in computer science and related degrees that are taught online or through other distance learning formats.

Here's the other thing, in the computer field, it isn't always just working for a big corporation as an traditional employee. It is possible over the career to shift to a freelance type of role charging respectable level pay for the hours you spend. In the first 10 years of your working career, it might be such that you work for others and build a good reputation. After awhile and building a portfolio of work (not all that unlike architecture but just that the portfolio of work is just in a different medium and subject matter. In video games and apps, you might have examples of your work, screenshots, and description of the work but you may have also the actual programs on a storage medium and equipment to run the software because over time, the changes of OSs, and whatever may change so it is almost always the most recent work within the most recent 5 years that matters most to employers and those contracting you to do work as an contract employee or independent contracted business. This is where you function as your own business. At that point, you might be able to work from home and make trips to business meetings as well as use of new SOHO (small office / home office) video conference tools and other tools. Eventually, building your own team of people to work on projects. There are businesses in this field that would be willing to pay or contract for computer professionals at the basic standard pay levels as it is in the U.S. and other countries. 

This isn't a field bound by traditional office environment. You just have to kind of guide your career a little bit and may need a period of time to become established in the occupation that you can ultimately work from home in a 'home office' business model and living in Thailand. You kind of need to establish yourself somewhat in order to facilitate a life long career while potentially making room for the option to returning home to care for your parents to the best of your ability while still keeping a career going. It might be a situation where you find a way to do both but there is a point where you might not be able to be working 24/7 dedicated adult care-taking as that maybe better handled by professional adult caretakers which often has some level of nursing or related education background. 

It might be how you may need to shape your career somewhat. For new entry level workers, it is commonly expected by people in almost any occupation to be working in a traditional work environment as a traditional employee before they can feel confident that you have the education & experience to work independently from a traditional office environment. 

Normal pay in the field is rather low in Thailand across the board in almost every occupation but if you can work for companies that pays you basically the same relative pay standard as in U.S., Japan, Australia, Europe, etc. then you probably could command pay in your own business (later in your career development). At some point, you'll probably have to establish yourself as your own business at some point in order to carry on such career in Thailand but the work or product of your business doesn't have to be limited to Thailand but be international. In the age of internet, a person can create games and apps and sell them online and basically live anywhere and run the business just about anywhere.

I have personal experience in this field and even I worked with people from different parts of the world. Before video conferencing, I used IRC and similar systems including earlier dial-up BBS systems (you can think of them similar to a web server but without using HTML and bitmap graphics in those days. We didn't need to all be in the same physical room. 

Jun 2, 17 12:30 am

Wow, RickB-Astoria, thank you, really. They're really helpful and I find your comments fascinating. Many of my friends are looking towards computer science as well. I'll definitely pass your answers to them.



In more traditional countries, architecture still enjoys some of the old respect and prestige. Be aware, however, that even in Thailand, this profession will inevitably change and will lose its glamour and status, while Computer Science (CS) will become more socially acceptable.

pretty sure those are within my abilities if i put my mind to it.

Did you already attend high-school informatics contests at national / regional level? Did you already write lots and lots of code? Do you have good algorithmic problem-solving skills? By Grade 12, you should have already accomplishments in these areas. These are strong predictors of any future CS abilities.

Let me remind you again, that you must have a strong command of pretty hard math like discrete mathematics, linear algebra, probability and statistics, numerical optimization and analysis, just to name a few (also calculus). Be aware that one of the most important applications of modern CS is machine learning (ML) which comes with its own universe - deep learning, deep neural networks, then some crazy ML libraries like PyTorch or TensorFlow; and that ML must be eventually studied by all CS people, one way or another.

Please research as much as you can about these issues. If you really and truly feel confident that you can tackle these things, then I definitely advise you to go for Computer Science.

Jun 2, 17 1:11 am

AdrianFGA, I agree with more general "Computer Science" degrees. Not all degrees in the field is as heavy math but it is something that could go a long way in the world of 3d graphics, A.I., etc. in this field and also most computer related degrees tend to be a little more heavier on math than Architecture degrees.

It all depends on which degree in the computer field is taken.


Prim, a lot of the degrees in the computer field are inherently more math oriented and more so these days than they may have been decades ago.


i got no notification of this im so sorry its been 3 months and i just suddenly thought of this thread


RickB-Astoria, yep, I really like mathematics as well. It was a part of why I started computer science. AdrianFGA, I just started studying computer science this academic year, so I don't have may achievements.. but I do have a distinction on the Bebras challenge (elite class), if that counts.. Also gold certificates on the UKMT 3 years straight. But yes, I am confident in my logic, fast learning/thinking and problem solving skills.



UPDATE//: am aiming for architecture now. Did some computer science work experience, found it somewhat linear, a bit dull (there wasn't physical work, or anything visual). I would love to learn computer science, just not work with it as a career for the rest of my life. I found that thought/mindset very bad and decided against studying computer science.

now thinking of Architecture at Bath, since it's very engineering and technology based, at least more than other architectural courses.

Sep 25, 17 7:25 am

edit: I can't not have art in my life, i guess.. I thought I could but I just proved myself wrong.

Will definitely make use of all your advices, will definitely continue studying computer science in my spare time, cus computer science is amazing, just that I'll be pursuing architecture & design as a long term career

Sep 25, 17 7:41 am

Congrats OP on making up your mind and good luck with your studies.

Sep 25, 17 8:13 am

I went to georgia tech and have many friends who got a CS degree there.  The CS degree is top notch.  Some of my friends dropped out due to their own personal issues, but those who finished work for google (there's an atlanta office) redhat (gets to work from home) one works for a company designing web apps, and did papa john's newish phone app, and one works for Autodesk (had to move away from atlanta).  They were all paid $70-100k for their first job.  Mine from the same school as an architectural intern paid $35k.... literally half the lowest of my friends.  I am now registered, and as a techie who decided to try and be creative, I am constantly frustrated with having to put sets together on my own or with more inexperienced colleagues while managing clients, going to job sites, and otherwise actually trying to be an architect.  Easily 70% of my day really should be automated standardized construction sheets that the program just puts together.  "oh, you're using TPO roofing on this job?  You're going to need these sheets with these details based on the massing model of the roof you made."  Instead it's a bunch of busy work.  

My suggestion would be to take the CS degree because you're not going to really learn how to code by taking minor classes, at least at tech all the major CS project labs were just as stressful and intense as any studio course.  Then, if you're still interested in architecture, get your M. Arch.  that way, you'll be prepared, going into the profession, to really turn it on its head and automate all of the boring parts of our job.

In reality though, I keep looking for a CS guy interested in revamping my trade, and after they've gained all those skills, there is more interesting and way better paid things to do elsewhere than helping an architect out.

Sep 25, 17 9:19 am

Wait how would you get a M. arch if You decide to go for a CS degree . I didnt understand your response I apologize. I’m studying CS at the moment and even thought I like it , I can’t stop
thinking about how architecture is like


Also, the real issue here seems to be convincing your parents what constitutes a respectful career.  I'm not sure what other careers they would favor, but you're going to need to shine a light on the architectural profession and prove that it's actually not that respected in most circles.  You'll get kudos at dinner parties, but anyone who actually is part of building our world typically sees the architect on a job as an employee.  It definitely doesn't hold the same weight as doctor.

Sep 25, 17 9:22 am

haha, you have a lot of time ahead of you -- it seems you made a decision, but you can definitely pick up some CS again down the road if you're interested -- frontend web development, mobile development or computer graphics are places where you get more visual stuff. Best of luck! I majored in CS in college with a minor in visual art, now trying to save up money for an M. Arch I with software engineering money :) 

I had some older Asian relatives (not my parents) tell me computer science isn't really a 'womanly' profession too, but I love proving people wrong

Sep 26, 17 1:05 am

Can I do major in Computer Science and minor in architectural studies?

What will be my profile if I did this degree? 

Also, if I did minor in architecture, will I be able to do SketchUp and CAD in Computer Science?

May 12, 19 9:27 am

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