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Architectural technologist career limits

AT75

Hi all

I'm one of the many in the verge of choosing his path in Canada.

After various searches between work availability, pay and possible tasks for an architectural technologist, I would like to hear directly from professionals what is their experience for a monkey cad.

Can the primate have expectations to evolve and get out from the cave of Cad/Revit and realistically do design and not only drafting? Maybe with an Architect and calling him/her peer and not Sir, Milord or Majesty?

Have you ever seen one with a smile? a car? a family? Did you ever tried to talk with them without the use of a hazmat suit?

Are they permanently tainted by their origins?

Do you knew any that's having a pleasant life in this life?

Cheers

 
May 23, 19 12:56 pm
senjohnblutarsky

I've never worked in an office with anyone who was purely a drafter.  If all a person can do is take redlines and input them to the computer, they're a waste of our time. We expect design capability. 

May 23, 19 1:12 pm
Non Sequitur

Technologist programs in canada generate mostly production staff. Some move on to CM roles while those with a design angle eventually make it into real architecture programs.

Almosthip7

I am an architectural technologist in Canada that designs buildings, under the supervision of a registered architect.  

I am also a project manager, staff supervisor and an all round awesome Lady.

I am also paid only slightly less than my registered professional co workers, with none of the liability.  Although I am in the RAIC Syllabus program, so one day that will change.


May 23, 19 1:37 pm
Non Sequitur

AT75, let me add to these questions from the perspective of a Canadian licensed architect (ontario):

  • Option to evolve?
    • Yes and no... there is a very real ceiling with all production team members and unless you're very lucky to get a job in a small(ish) office where everyone is expected to wear a few different hats, you may find yourself trapped producing working drawings instead of client and design management.  The reality is that arch tech paths do not provide the required background in these last 2 areas.
  • Good work/life balance?
    • Certainly, as long as you enjoy what you're doing.  I've known many technologists who are straight-up jaded that they can't be architects due to their degree or lack of a M.Arch.  These people are angry because they were either sold, or led to believe, that because the word architecture was in their curriculum, that they would be curing cancer with their unique design swooshes and so on.  These are the same type of wankers who equate architects with doctors and lawyers. 
    • My point is, know what you're getting into and have realistic expectations, at least for the first few years.  Grand design ideas are a very small % of our day to day workload so it not likely that that task will be given to the junior tech with little design training.  This is often reserved for senior architects who speak directly to the paying clients. But don't for a second ignore that producing good construction details is not itself a design exercice (unless you're copy-pasting the same project over and over... if that is the case, find a new job)  
    • Car & house ownership, family, etc, all that is possible.  Good drafting staff is not easy to find and entry $ in canada will range from 38k to 45k per year.  Maybe this does not sound high to you, but that's the market since your time is likely to be billed to the client at $75/hr.  This goes up, like in all career paths, as experience and billable skills improve.  
  • Tainted?
    • Some, most certainly. See my first point in the work/life balance answer above.  Other are not.  Again, this depends on your expectations and where you want your career to go.  Arch Tech is a good foundation for construction management, estimating services, product sales-rep, and bunch more related disciplines that don't involve CAD.
  • Pleasant life?
    • Sure, but that's relative to what you value.  If you want superstar money making broad brush strokes on napkins, then you will be disappointed.

Which province and program are you applying and or looking to work in?


May 23, 19 1:42 pm
AT75

@NS

I would start in Toronto, at... oh god why George Brown, with an AT of 3 years so will learn Ontario building code but since I'm a tumbleweed I'm really not constrained to any place, I can move even to Yellowknife if there is a bright future, but let me give you a flashback.

I'm amid the anvil and hammer, for several reason I cannot seek a full path to architecture formation mainly for time constrain and I know that even with all the somersaults and stunts with an advanced diploma I cannot seek for short ways in NCARB aka ARE in some states or RAIC and SYLLABUS in Canada, at least I think so.

Anyway I'm dancing on these embers from quite a bit time checking every possible solution and realistic future that can come and everywhere news is pretty gloomy, at least on the paper; Indeed, Ontario's labour market stats, Canada job bank and trend analysis, etc etc... for a 3yrs course, one of the lowest paid job, maybe with the longest working hours, mostly with no kind of benefits.

From the info I've got I have low expectations and I don't dream to be anything like an architect nor designing every day marvelous structures. I'm pretty down on earth, I know that most of the work will be big cuboids and that everything run on the thin side of the bill, but I've got the hope to work for a good firm with some good project time by time.

Other paths with same length of education in the same field or nearby; civil engineering tech, construction engineering tech, have way more brighter fields, more money, benefits, career possibility, you name it.

But... like most of you I have this insane desire to run into that direction even against all odds.

Thanks for Your time and friendly answers, they are fairly what I was expecting.


May 23, 19 8:45 pm
Non Sequitur

I’m liking you flair in the response. One thing to know is that in Ontario, one is able to design and “stamp” exempt projects (mostly chapter 9) with a BCIN. This is different than the architect exams (exac) but definatevily gives you the option to do your own thing instead of producing other people’s working drawings. There are no shortcuts tho, but this is the easiest and closest route to architecture, at least in Ontario.

AT75

Yes I heard about chapter 9, c16-17 and 60 sec 27?

Non Sequitur

I don’t know What those numbers refer to.

AT75

And it should allow anyone, correct me if I'm wrong, to build and design within the limit of boundaries of the law.

Non Sequitur

I don’t think you understand what I was referring to.

AT75

Quite possible and maybe I'm messing with the stuff I wrote, I know that relative to the province, common citizen with or without registration to a ? can build or renovate construction within the boundaries of the given code; es max 3 story high, or 600 sqft, or wood frame.

Non Sequitur

That is not accurate. Local jurisdictictions and provincial code, along with Canadian architect act control who can design or build what. It’s more complicated than that.

AT75

Yes, I believe it is more complicated.

AT75

I will stop giving lottery numbers.

AT75

@senjohnblutarsky

With all the respect, if you tell me something like this, I get excited like a mandrill. I would really like to find a firm that expect me to design I would do even for free.

May 23, 19 8:48 pm
Non Sequitur

Never work for free. It’s a huge detrimental to the profession.

AT75

I know, but for love you can even marry a woman so...

senjohnblutarsky

I've only worked in firms of up to 45 people (counting admin, marketing, and other non-design staff). So, we just didn't have enough people to have someone sitting around who can't design in some way. Their design capabilities all vary. Some design from the standpoint of putting together building assemblies and that sort of thing. Others actually get into the aesthetics and layouts of the buildings. If you can be the type of person who I can go to, describe a building type, assembly, and give them the client's program, and then you generate something from that, you will have a high ceiling. If you're the type that has to have their hand held for the entire process, then you're slowing the entire process down. If you're somewhere in between, you're probably still doing great.

AT75

I hope to meet you one day, as an AT or C Eng tech. I like to be straight forward, no time wasting and seek for efficiency and quality. The worst job I've ever done, was the one I had to do nothing and wait to stamp the card, the best one anywhere I can learn and give it back twice.

AT75

@Non Sequitur

AT75

@Non Sequitur

I would say a bad pun and people would rightly lynch me alive, so... I keep my mouth shut.

AT75

@Almosthip7

May I ask you how many years of experience you got and a bit of your background?

and... your wage?



May 23, 19 8:51 pm
Almosthip7

I went to college in Ontario, 3 year + co-op. Im in my 40's

Almosthip7

I make a lot more than your average Arch Tech, and slightly less than the partners in my firm. I live in Northern Alberta. Our firm is small, less than 25

Almosthip7

15+ years experience

AT75

I'm glad I came here and had good news, that bring me some light on my doubts. T hank You.

AT75

@Almosthip7

If you allow me

Your age, years on field, first and present wage and type of firm


May 23, 19 9:12 pm
OneLostArchitect

Licensed Architect in Canada with my .02. Take it for what it’s worth. There is no perfect career field. Unless you land a six figure gig in Silicon Valley. But even that, every profession has its ups and downs. All I have to say is choose your path wisely. This profession is not for the faint of heart. You need to be tough and have a thick skin. It is one of the most difficult and challenging careers you will come across. It is not a linear path but rather a leap frog of events you have to jump across many obstacles hoping to not get crushed. I can go on with all the office politics with firm owners and bullshit dealings with contractors. Everyday is a circus and a comedy of errors. 


So ironically is the pay worth it? In my honest opinion I don’t think so. I have a cousin who is still in high school and is making 8 dollars less than me!  Yes you heard me right... with zero stress level. I’m double his age too.  Me on the other hand... I have to deal with principals telling me I’m no good and that I am not adequate enough, and that I’m lucky to be employed. Basically telling me I’m a piece of shit. My confidence level has dropped and geographically I’m in a location with not many options. So I’m stuck here like a rat. You are young not commitments and free so I would take that as a positive.


 I have a question for you... what makes you passionate about architecture? How do you want to contribute to a firm and keep that passion alive? I was sold some romantic fantasy bullshit in school which will never come true. Stuck in a corporate 9-5 daily grind, chained to your desk all day. Soul crushing. Are you able to deal with that? It’s cute after awhile but 15 years in it gets old fast. 


Everyday at 5pm I feel like a bird that has escaped its cage! Free! Free at last.... however I find my way back to my cage everyday. An abused bird that gets yelled at and plucked! I had a pet bird once when I was kid. One day my bird left the caged and managed to fly out of the house. He was never to be seen again. 

May 23, 19 9:40 pm
AT75

@OneLostArchitect

Licensed Architect in Canada with my .02. Take it for what it’s worth.
There is no perfect career field. Unless you land a six figure gig in
Silicon Valley. But even that, every profession has its ups and downs.
All I have to say is choose your path wisely. This profession is not for
the faint of heart. You need to be tough and have a thick skin. It is
one of the most difficult and challenging careers you will come across.
It is not a linear path but rather a leap frog of events you have to
jump across many obstacles hoping to not get crushed. I can go on with
all the office politics with firm owners and bullshit dealings with
contractors. Everyday is a circus and a comedy of errors.

  • I heard that's the WW2 is still going on in there.
  • I know that there is no perfect career at least you are so lucky to find it and match with it, while most of the time expectations and dreams will just crush to the reality, a sad and pitiless reality. I don't dream about unicorns (if not in my nightmares) and even the most beautiful woman have poop in her bowel so I'm ready to get in the shit (that's sound a wrong, but you know what I'm saying).


So ironically is the pay worth it? In my honest opinion I don’t think so. I
have a cousin who is still in high school and is making 8 dollars less
than me!  Yes you heard me right... with zero stress level. I’m double
his age too.  Me on the other hand... I have to deal with principals
telling me I’m no good and that I am not adequate enough, and that I’m
lucky to be employed. Basically telling me I’m a piece of shit. My
confidence level has dropped and geographically I’m in a location with
not many options. So I’m stuck here like a rat. You are young not
commitments and free so I would take that as a positive.

  • A worth path... that's the dilemma, I know enough things to make any sane guy to turn his back and give a mid finger, but as you can see, I'm still here looking for I don't know, a fairy showing me a yellow brick road...
  • Yes I heard about the ceaseless strain of the belt on your waist and on the back when you are paddling in a sea of awful repetitive projects and kids working at McDonald are doing the same or even more money than you.

    I don't fear to be called piece of shit, I know that with commitment I can improve, and this will just make me get better.

 I have a question for you... what makes you passionate about architecture? How do you want to contribute to a firm and keep that passion alive? I was sold some romantic fantasy bullshit in school which will never come true. Stuck in a corporate 9-5 daily grind, chained to your desk all day. Soul crushing. Are you able to deal with that? It’s cute after awhile but 15 years in it gets old fast.

  • I can't really give an exact answer since I'm not daydreaming (or am I), I know that 99% to 100% (if you are in the wrong firm) of the projects will be one of those awful building that fill the horizon, that the work will be repetitive and that you'll go forth and back in a project for this or that change. That the wage is meager and working hours are not clement, that like most of all the hierarchical place you'll find your self in unhealthy relationships. I believe it's called employed job at least for the 80% of things i said.
  • But how can I tell you the feeling I got when I wonder through the city, the emotions I get from the shapes, the lights, the space of it, the hours I just spent watching them. For me man made structures (not all) are not less beautiful and mesmerizing than nature. Naturally I don't just seek for beauty but even for usability and concreteness of the financial reality.
  • I know that as an AT I will be severely limited in my possibilities but maybe if it can sound juvenile, working inside the field even without touching the cake, maybe, will make me still happy.

Everyday at 5pm I feel like a bird that has escaped its cage! Free! Free at last.... however I find my way back to my cage everyday. An abused bird that gets yelled at and plucked! I had a pet bird once when I was kid. One day my bird left the caged and managed to fly out of the house. He was never to be seen again.

  • I'm not daydreaming, but yet I'm still dreaming or maybe I am just masochist or don't want to accept the life of a Civil Eng Tech or similar. As I wrote to Non Sequitur I know that other paths in the same field bring more joy to the wallet and for some even to the soul, but I don't know... I think I'm one of the many got caught in the curse of the shape of a building. Never reaching the mirage but still seeking it, or not?


May 23, 19 10:56 pm
bowling_ball

I'm a Canadian architect, here's my two cents.


A good technologist us very valuable. It takes a long while for most technologists to become good. I've never, ever, EVER encountered a technologist who made as much money or directed design as much as a mid-level architect. Without divulging too much, I work at a firm that really respects technologists. But technologists aren't designers, and they don't meet with clients, authorities, etc. If you want to be an architect, you'll have to do through architecture school like the rest of us. There's no real shortcuts. 


Having said all that, being a tech can be a rewarding career. There's zero shame in being a tech, and we need more of them. Good luck!

May 24, 19 1:11 am
AT75

Thank You. I imagine that there is way a lot more to learn and to know apart drafting to be a good AT and I really want to know life and dead of a building, as an employee and not less for personal pleasure.

Almosthip7

I'm an Arch Tech, I meet with clients, I design buildings, I PM, and I supervise staff. You just need to be good at what you do and proof that you can handle the job. At the end of the day the Architect is responsible for the liability but if you can prove to them that your able to handle the work than in the right office your talents grow.

AT75

Hope to see your works one day, Thanks again.

bowling_ball

Almosthip7, that's great and congratulations. Of course it's possible but you're the exception that proves the rule. Like anybody, there's a wide range of abilities and experience out there. At least in every office I've been in, the architects are driving the ship.

Almosthip7

With hard work and the right atmosphere, anything is possible

AT75

@bowling_ball

 And I don't mind working in the shade. (monkeys are arboreal creatures)

If you allow me, how much can an AT expect as maximum wage and how long is that "long time to become good" (I've got a coffin waiting me and I don't wanna make it cold).

From Indeed around 80k~90K as an Senior PM with 10 years on the back, but what I fear is... that most of the "good" position can be easily taken by any Real Architect. I see no reason why an employer should choose an AT vs an Architect, licensed or not. That make me think that the real horizon is actually way close to the nose, that's why I'm asking to real people working in the field.

(Forgive my licentiousness but when you see the end you better have a laugh)


May 24, 19 2:36 am
bowling_ball

That's a reasonable cap for a great tech with 15+ years experience. I know that in my office, I make exactly the same wage as our most senior tech. I have 7.5 years experience, and he has 25.

bowling_ball

To answer your other question, the reasons that firms don't have architects doing the role of technologists are several: building technologies change; architects typically move on to project management roles sooner or later and don't have the time to draw; it doesn't make sense to pay an architect to do the drawing, when a technologist can do it cheaper, etc

AT75

True.

AT75

Odds, Architectural Technologist vs Civil Eng Tech or Construction Eng Tech. AT? very flimsy. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Engineering Tech; better pay from first job, decent career possibilities, yes still hard on working hours and maybe worst, but in theory in the mid of the food chain in the hierarchy.

Analyzing the possible outcome of AT

  1. stuck in a loop of drafting similar projects with no soul, with minimum wage, no benefits, and no career advancement and tainted for ever for your bad karma with no way out to show a decent CV to get out.
  2. hopping and bopping until you get enough experience (15 years) that will actually be of any use since any Architect will always get your chance. In the last days of life maybe some benefits, holidays when you die.
  3. hopping and bopping until you get enough experience (10 years) and find a firm were you can call it home, not touching the stars but at least there is a sky to see. Benefits, HOLIDAYS! and a wage that can let you make a family that are not racoons.
  4. same as above, with 5 years on the back, but maybe? having the chance to actually work in the design department.
  5. Owning your own, firm? and moving on small houses?

Now Tech Engineering have let's say a good 60 to 70% chance to increase their wage from 40k to 60~70k inside 5~10 years, 10% to get in the fancy club of AA.org, 10% to actually get soberly wealthy, 10% eaten alive by the mob, dead on work, frozen or not to be found with all the limbs together.

AT (I'm really glad to hear some good news from Almosthip7 and that there is life on mars, but) I would say highest chance to be in the mid of point 2 and 3, few on point 5 with high and low results (I can only judge by their site, some fancy other...), point 4 probably exist only in my dreams and point 1 it's actually a sad and realistic possibility.

Forgive my soliloquy, I've spent too much time trying to get my mind, my head tell me "are you crazy?" my guts "you can do it!", my hearth "the world is grey look for a rainbow, you can eat it! you'll get nourished by your dreams" my glass "I'm empty, fill me up chap"


May 24, 19 3:49 am
Non Sequitur

I think you might be crazy. Also, you’re still looking at Canada right? Employment is much better here than you assume and no one in the industry is working min wage.

AT75

Thank You Non Sequitur, I really appreciate your interest and of all the other people that replied me, I'm very grateful for sharing Your experiences and points of view, I hope to make treasure of them. And yes, right now I'm looking only for Canada, willing to make my bones here and probably put even a cross since I never heard about any AT going around the world, time has passed since they used to launch dogs and chimpanzee around the Earth.

randydeutsch

I recently wrote a book about design professionals who have chosen the design technologist route. In the book, their careers are described not as career paths, but as 'risk journeys' because firms have largely not yet recognized them as central players to their success and futures. This is all about to change as firms are increasing seeing technologists not as internal consultants who sit in the corner of the office, but as integral and engaged members of the firm who contribute to teams and projects. The book is called 

Superusers: Design Technology Specialists and the Future of Practice https://www.amazon.com/Superus...

May 24, 19 8:05 am
AT75

Thanks for the info, the topic is very interesting and make me realize that I need to bring something new on the table, apart the full skill set and creativity that is used daily.

Bench

The main firm I worked for in Canada had a very good mix of technologists and architects, I believe almost at 50/50. And while there was a distinction between the two (mostly in job-running from a design side), the ones there were very competent and well-used in their roles. Crucially, two were part of senior management (though I believe were not able to become full partners, as that required a license). As a young intern architect studying for exams, there is a lot to learn from a good senior tech.

May 24, 19 9:09 am
AT75

That cheer me up. Thank you!

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