Prospective Student in Arch Seeking life career advice


I recently reviewed a post about a 30 year old making a career decision into Arch from Graphic Design and I can't help but relate since I am on the same crossroad. I used to be an account manager earning 38k at age 21, at that time I thought I could not do any better. Since then my life took a serious of drops and turns working from kitchen jobs to warehouse associate work, to film and photography production work. I never really discovered my true passion until I thought back of the science projects and drawings I used to do as a kid. I always wanted to work in field with a lot of creativity and science involved. I've always been fascinated with modernist structures, cityscapes, and the way these structures are engineered as well as designed. Currently I feel like I am in a dead end, some college education, no degree, working as a framer, age 28. Been a laborer for 3 years now from siding to renovation work. I respect the trades but I want to go deeper and do more in life than just work under the heat and build for builders and architects. I want to create and invest more in this field. My love and curiosity is growing greater for this. Whats the current status of the Arch industry? And what are some of the challenges that I face going in now? Does my construction background help at all?

Sep 20, 17 10:17 pm

it's been a really busy year. But architecture is cyclical, so you take a lump every 12 years or so. Take some architecture classes. Try it on for size. Knowing how to build is always going to help you.

Sep 20, 17 10:34 pm

Thanks Dave!


Go for it if it's really want you want, but make sure it's REALLY what you want.  Maybe start with some drawing classes, computer classes (like in Photoshop/Illustrator) or if they have something in your area for model making, that be of some help.  It sounds like you're already working in the field which will put you ahead of future classmates that come in with zero building experience.  If you can, take a walk around and do some hand sketching of buildings you enjoy.

That being said, if I were in your shoes, I would take account of my financial situation.  Entry-level grads do not make a lot of money and it takes a few years to get past that level into the more experienced person's bracket.  If you have a family or a house payment or any substantial debt, it may be harder to manage.  Arch school is pretty expensive too; yes you have tuition and books, but you also have model making supplies, new computer, modeling software, etc., 

Sep 21, 17 9:39 am

I'm working on my sketching skills, they and picked up a SketchUp program training book for beginners.


Working on my sketching skills, they are not great but slowly but surely I am learning. Also studying a Sketch Up program book for beginners. I have experience in photoshop and lightroom, and basic illustrator since I was in photography. Thanks for the heads up!*


Sounds like structural engineering could work.  Out of school faster.  Get to do all the math.  But you'll probably be working on fairly mundane stuff unless you get in with a good architect.  

Sep 21, 17 9:53 am



Architecture is conservatively 17 years behind the automation trend in technological application and they use 10% of the power of their systems and software.

So, concentrate on automation technology as applied to architectural digital design and within one year you will be thousands of times more knowledgeable in the true revolutionizing power of software when designing and managing architectural design projects. 

TECHNOLOGY of applied automation to alpha AI is the future and next 10 years in this field and it will not slow down to pick up backward architectural practices as we get there. Add a world war and the process will only be accelerated to filter out the dinosaurs.

TECHNOLOGY at state of the art levels of application is the ONLY way to revolutionize architecture at this time, and that is where it is going in spite of architectural professional organization and academic malaise and ignorance--I wish we could blame silicon valley, but architects are born backward when it comes to digital architectural trends and understanding because, yes, their professional organizations and academics were never told of the news and they did not explore it in the 90s when they should have.


Sep 21, 17 8:04 pm

kill the robots, get a sketchbook, focus on killing all the robots


so basically seek familiarity with most of the design software and hardware involved with Architecture tech development as well as design.

Yea we are also due for another industrial revolution hehehe.

Sep 23, 17 2:10 am

Got it! Architectural Technology!

Sep 23, 17 2:20 am
A construction management firm would likely find your on the site experience much more valuable than any architecture firm. The degree is quicker and cheaper as well. Oh and of course the pay is substantially better than an architect's. You will need to read construction documents but you won't be designing which arguably few architects do either.
Sep 23, 17 9:27 am

Keep telling people not to do architecture, the more design work is left for the rest of us ;-)

Random you can't announce it though!
Sep 23, 17 11:32 am

Oops, my bad...


If housing is your bailiwick, forget the degree and just work yourself up to doing your own remodels.  Most residential clients don't want truly "designed" houses anyway... think like how dell did for personal computers.  

Sep 24, 17 3:51 pm


Sep 24, 17 4:29 pm

Consider getting a trade ticket... Electrician / plumber / and get creative with side projects.... better income, little money sunk into expensive tuition and starting money soon.  Use your extra time out side your real job you can work on "side projects" for experience, pay or just interest. 

Sep 26, 17 2:23 pm

thanks guys all this is very useful. 

Oct 3, 17 6:47 pm

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