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Companies won't hire me because I don't have professional experience with Revit

Russell3000

I have experience with Revit from college, took some courses on it, and used it studio assignments. I can build detailed models in Revit showing structural members and everything and have samples to demonstrate this. I've just never used it in an architectural office before. Every company I've work for was still using CAD.

This is holding me back in my career. On job interviews the first thing that comes up is if I use Revit. They tell me it's not good enough that I know how to use it; I have to have used it on a professional job. How I am supposed to get this professional experience if the companies that use it won't hire me in the first place?

 
Jun 2, 20 5:57 pm
tintt

Keep looking. 

Jun 2, 20 6:05 pm  · 
3  · 
SneakyPete

If the biggest thing they care about is Revit, you don't want to work there.

Jun 2, 20 6:17 pm  · 
8  · 
Russell3000

I got laid off due to corona and just want to work. I'd prefer to work somewhere that cares about my other qualifications and doesn't just want a computer operator, but it seems like the majority of companies are like this, unfortunately.

2  · 

Oldie, but goodie: Want to be an Architect?; Don't Learn Revit.

TL;DR? ... the point isn't that you don't learn Revit. It's that you find a firm that values you for more than just Revit.

Jun 2, 20 6:24 pm  · 
3  · 
code

You want to be hired for your architectural skills, you don't want to be some BIM WIT like I was for 5 years. If you start in that pigeonhole, it will be a long day in Hoboken before you get out

Jun 2, 20 6:38 pm  · 
8  · 
citizen

Thumbs up for all three: the good advice, "bim wit," and "long day in hoboken."

1  · 
thisisnotmyname

I know it's frustrating, but keep looking.   Quite a few small practices in my community don't use Revit at all.

Jun 2, 20 6:39 pm  · 
1  · 
bowling_ball

What positions are you applying for? Because if you're applying to be a drafter, yeah, I care a lot about Revit. If you apply as an architect, Revit isn't even a skill I look for. As others have already said, make sure you're applying for the right positions.

Jun 2, 20 9:41 pm  · 
1  · 
Russell3000

I have an M.Arch degree and 5 years of experience, mostly working on the project end. I'm not licensed, but I'm on the AXP track and working on it. Where would somebody like that fit in at your company?

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bowling_ball

At 5 years experience, license or not, you'd be expected to manage your own projects from day to day, with a more senior PM likely being the face of the company and overseeing as needed. If you're not prepared to lead a small team, you'd better be good at CA!

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senjohnblutarsky

Like others said, find other firms.  If I'm hiring an "experienced" person, I want someone who can put together a building.  I don't care if they can't use a program; I can teach a program faster than I can teach design. 

Jun 3, 20 8:35 am  · 
4  · 
thatsthat

In addition to the advice already shared, I want to add that it depends a lot on how you are marketing yourself.  If you write in your cover letter that you have experience with Revit and then all you can show are non-professional projects, it shows that you probably have a lack of understanding about what will be required of you.  If you acknowledge that you are looking for an opportunity to use what you know to be an asset to a team, and are looking to increase your skillset along the way, that shows a very different attitude.

Jun 3, 20 9:38 am  · 
1  · 
bowling_ball

Excellent advice!

1  · 
Quentin

What software were you using at your previous firm? I wonder about this if I have to leave my current firm because they are on forsaken ArchiCAD and my Revit experience is a couple years dated now, smh.

Jun 3, 20 9:47 am  · 
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thisisnotmyname

I wouldn't entertain leaving any steady job right now. Mitigate the ArchiCad thing by developing your skills in all other aspects of practice other than drafting on ArchiCad. As others have said, knowing how to put a building together and/or run a job is more important than software, and any firm worth working for should know that. 

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I was only thinking worst case, as in lay offs or having to move. But I agree with you.

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code

Many firms have you take a test, the firm I work for does, and we have to take Revit proficiency tests every year to make sure we keep up

Jun 3, 20 1:02 pm  · 
 ·  3

Do the upper and middle managers need to show proficiency in management via testing every year? 

I would never want to work for a firm like that, and I'm sorry that you find yourself working for one. It's very transparent what skills they value from their employees. Is this the same firm you've been at when you were commenting about the abuse you've been through and trying to normalize it?

2  · 
Threesleeve

In the firms I encountered that had a BIM or CAD test, that hurdle was always put in place by and administered by the firm's "BIM manager" or equivalent. Often the partner or whoever was the primary interviewer was even rather apologetic about it being a requirement. Sometimes I just noped myself out of those tests by saying that, while I had previously used their software in other firms and loved it, it was not what my current job was using so I suspected I was too rusty to make the test worthwhile - but of course I would brush up on what's new with that application and I'm sure it would come back to me once I was working with it again.  That strategy never once kept me from getting the offer anyway - and if I had then I would have been dodging a bullet, because any firm where the BIM/CAD manager is in a position to influence a hiring decision to that extent probably isn't somewhere I'd want to work.

The phase of my career where I was asked anything about software lasted maybe 5 to 7 years - after that the concerns were much less about software and more about project and firm management experience, design philosophy, and building science.

6  · 

Our firm gives a Revit test to candidates we're interested in hiring. It's only to see if we need to send them to Revit training after they start here. The firm pays for everything associated with the training - including the employees time. We're a small firm of 11 people an all but two of us use Revit on a daily basis so it's important that we all have a certain working knowledge in Revit.

5  · 
thisisnotmyname

I used to think testing applicants was crazy, until I started to run my own firm. As people's claimed skill levels and our expectations don't always align, a test is a good way to identify where an applicant or new hire is at and get them training if they need it. It's way less painful than not realizing there is a problem until after they have botched work assignments.

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Serious question for Chad and thisisnotmyname: Are the results of the Revit test for an applicant or candidate shared with those who decide whether to hire them?

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If they accept the position - yes. The Revit test isn't difficult and is timed, limited to 30 minutes.  There is no way a person could complete every task we set forth for them and we tell them that.    Our BIM manager will go over issues they may have had on the test regardless if they need to attend future training.  Just to be clear, the Revit test is NOT a deciding factor in hiring someone.  We just want to know where you are in your Revit knowledge and get you any training that is needed.  

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"If they accept the position - yes." ... meaning that the people deciding whether to hire them don't know the results prior to offering the position, yes? I'm cool with that, but be careful of the message it sends to the applicant unless this is made clear prior to taking the test. 

As has been discussed, a lot of candidates make a determination about the value system of the firm based on whether their tested proficiency in a software is any part of the hiring process. Do you gain that much by giving them the test prior to making an offer, or would it be roughly the same to give them the test once they start work as part of the on-boarding process?

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archanonymous

We hire the person, then evaluate their Revit proficiency to see if we need to do anything to support their learning/ improvement in the software.

1  · 

EA - no. The partners know the results of the Revit test. We only give it to someone who we want to hire. We typically have the candidate take the test after we've made them the offer. Sorry about that confusion - my original reply was misleading. Any additional Revit training typically takes place during the on boarding process. The training is a week long in Denver and the firm pays for everything, including travel, food, and a hotel.

2  · 
thisisnotmyname

The testing is done post-hire as part of on-boarding. If we see deficiencies in the test results, we try to give the person training. We have a 90 day probation period during which we could ask someone to leave if they don't respond well to training. I've only had to do that twice in 12 years.

1  · 

Thanks Chad, archanonymous, and thisisnotmyname. 

I should also add ... I'm not against an employer using a test to measure a candidate's or employee's proficiency. An employer has a right to know whether the candidate/employee has the skill set they want in whatever position. Even testing someone regularly to make sure they are continuing to remain proficient isn't necessarily a bad thing. I do think the way an employer approaches it sends a message to candidates/employees, and I'd hope that the employer understands this and makes sure it sends the correct message, whatever the firm decides that message should be.

1  · 
lamp4036

Can you redraw some of your old professional CAD projects in Revit? At least come in the door with something. Better than nothing. They're asking for a skill, prove you can do it. 

Jun 3, 20 2:50 pm  · 
1  · 
Russell3000

This is something I hadn't thought of, but seems like a good way to brush up on my Revit skills if nothing else. Thanks.

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code

HOK has a Revit entrance exam you take online, I think some of the other big offices do as well

Jun 3, 20 4:20 pm  · 
 · 
5839

It must depend on the position you're applying for, and/or on how you apply. I interviewed there twice and got offers both times, including once quite recently (I didn't take them up on it either time.). There was no Revit test.

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code

I'm strictly production and cad bim coordination

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Not all firms do a Revit test. The firm I'm at now is the only one I've worked for that dose one.

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archinine
Consider an online certification in Revit training course. While it certainly doesn’t equate to real world experience, it shows you’re putting in an initiative to maintain and learn relevant skills. The market is slow to hire right now, and you’re not senior enough to assume you wouldn’t be doing a decent amount of drawing day to day. Yes the software can be taught but if the firm has 5 other candidates who don’t need the training then that puts you in a touch spot.

My firm also does revit assessments but only to gauge whether the individual needs additional training and if they have any specialties we’d want to note for a potential firm resource later. Regardless of skill level, basic ‘how our firm uses revit’ type training is always given as part of on boarding. The only influence it would have in terms of a hiring decision is if the individual was blatantly untruthful about their skill level, which is more a show of character.
Jun 3, 20 8:29 pm  · 
1  · 
apscoradiales

Age old problem that's been around since computers became the norm in architects offices.

Years ago when ACAD came out, architects offices were looking for people with min. 5 years experience when the programme has only been out for two!

Most firms haven't a clue about CAD; they're conned by Autodesk who tell them, "Look, we have this fantastic programme that at a push of a button will create all your drawings in half a day".

Firm's management is often gullible enough to buy into that stupid argument, buy a few seats of it, load into their machines, and expect miracles to happen, "well, what's the problem. why can't you do this in half a day?".

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Of course, Autodesk comes out with a new version almost every year - sometimes the new version is so different from previous that you need to go back to school to learn how to use it.

Of course, companies won't pay for the training, because it costs them money, and while you are learning, you are not being productive.

They want someone who already has at least 5 years of experience in the new version!

Been-there-done-that so many times it makes me sick now that I think about it. Thank God I'm retired and don't have to worry about that shit any more.

But, I hear you - you will just have to keep trying; sell yourself as someone who knows how a building goes together, someone who knows what mortar is all about, and how you use 2x4's rather than someone who says, "I know all the commands in Revit".

If they want you to take a test, tell them to fuck off, and stop wasting your time. Move on!

Jun 3, 20 9:41 pm  · 
2  · 
apscoradiales

This is similar ito an issue when you are applying for a new job, lets say at company that does a lot of hospitals.

Most firms want someone who has at least 10 years of experience, "preferrably 25".

I used to tell them, I want to learn how to do them, and if I had that much experience in them, I'd want to try something different.

Worked with me all the time when I told the companies that - it told them I was honest, and not a BS'er.

Jun 3, 20 9:49 pm  · 
1  · 
senjohnblutarsky

Some of this discussion is reminding me of a time when a Perkins & Will hiring person told me they expected all of their employees to be LEED certified.  What a ridiculous waste of time and money.  Same goes for testing prior to the hire.  Programs are the easiest part of what we do.  You can be productive in Revit and not know everything about it.  I learn something new, most every time I open it.  Sometimes it's out of necessity, sometimes someone shows me a better work flow.  But I've been producing in revit for the last 7 years or so.  My lack of knowing the entire program hasn't stopped buildings from being built. I don't expect I'll ever know it in its entirety.  Software developers have to justify their jobs, and autodesk has to justify that annual subscription.  So, there will always be changes. 

Jun 4, 20 8:41 am  · 
2  · 

Respectfully I disagree. You can't be productive in a program if you don't know it - all you're doing is making more work for others on your team. This is especially true for Revit when firms are using it's features to assist in coordination, energy modeling, scheduling, and parametric families. This is even more applicable for fast track projects. That being said Revit is just a tool and you can use it to varying degrees of complexity. If you don't understand design, building science, and the construction process knowing Revit isn't going to help you.


Also when I mentioned that we give a Revit test it is very basic.  It's just to understand if you know how to use the basic concepts of the program (ie modeling assemblies, don't delete stuff from views because you don't want to see it, ect)

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monosierra

I agree. Learning Revit remotely is good only to some degree - getting to know the tools, layouts, techniques etc. But working in a collaborative environment is quite different and requires hands-on experience.

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There is a lot of room for varying ability levels between being minimally proficient/productive and being an expert in a program able to do all the things Chad mentions. It sounds like Chad's office tests employees to evaluate basic competence and the other abilities come as you work with the program. I don't think senjohnblutarsky is describing anything different.

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Rick - with all due respect, STFU. You admitted you don't know much about Revit so how can you comment on what is possible with a certain amount of proficiency in the program? Understanding the basics of Revit will not allow you to create a set of CD's in said program.

1  · 
senjohnblutarsky

He's not wrong about what I said. I have an employee, right now, who I have do annotation/detail components and other basics in Revit. He gets things done, but hasn't figured out modeling yet. He's a valuable part of the team if he's on a revit project. He doesn't know everything yet, but that doesn't keep him from being productive.

 · 

Do you mean this employee can't model families and assemblies (walls, floors, roofs, ect)?  Or do you mean just families?

Also, are you in a larger firm? I ask because for smaller firms you do everything and just being able to do annotation and detail components wouldn't allow you to do much in a Revit model that's built to any level of usable detail. No assemblies, schedules, fenestration, keynoting,  sections, details, elevations, or plans.  


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square.

+1 to john on this one.. and i actually lol'd at rick's comment. the more i use revit (going on 5+ years now), the less i'm convinced it has taken us forward in a substantial way, at least without creating a whole other set of problems. sure, i don't have to update page numbers sometimes, but the amount of time it takes to print ( i always forget this at the worst time when i'm printing 100+ pages), trouble shoot dumb shit, fix broken models, undo other's (accidental) mistakes.. on and on.. the more i'm convinced it's just another excessive piece of technology that autodesk is hell bent on convincing you is necessary (think of all the fees they collect, in addition to the bullshit BIM management jobs it's created (see david graeber). i believe a historical analysis of this phenomenon has already been done... https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch15.htm

1  · 
senjohnblutarsky

It's a small office, but with enough people on teams to allow me to bring in the less proficient guy for help. And I mean, he is barely functional using modeling elements. Not just families. He can place walls...

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What is 'small' for you. We have 11 people. We're a commercial firm with projects ranging from 100,000 sf, $40 million schools down to toilet room remodels .

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Square - I think the biggest issue with Revit (BIM) is that people don't know how to use it and try to make it into AutoCAD. I can't imagine going back to 'dumb line drawings' for the commercial projects I do.

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senjohnblutarsky

Currently 23 ish people. Schools up to 80 million in size. Lots of other project types, small to large. Have a 350000sf industrial project going along side small medical and school renovations. So, a nice mix.

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23 architectural staff in an office isn't small.

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Technically, neither is 11. AIA firm survey has three different sizes of firms defined, 1-9 employees, 10-49 employees, and 50 or more employees ... small, medium, and large. I've never liked the definitions.

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senjohnblutarsky

23 ish Total staff. 3 engineers. 6 architects. 6 production/designers/client handlers. The rest are admin, specs, marketing.

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Yeah that isn't a small firm senj. 

 We're 11 people - 3 architects, 3 interns, 2 owners reps/construction managers, 1 part time ICC certified code review, 1 BIM manager / ICC certified code reviewer. 1 office manager.


I never did like the AIA's classification of firm sizes. To me it is more like:

1-3        Itsy-Bitsy

4-8        Tiny 

9-16       Small

17 - 28   Medium

29 -50    Large

51-100   Biggin'

100+      'Uge

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square.

chad, in one way i agree.. there are certain tasks i can’t imagine doing in cad ever again. on the other hand, there are many times that doing something in revit takes as long if not longer than cad. I’m just really questioning if it has made us more productive (would be interesting to compare cad time for a set vs revit time), and even if it has what is being lost in the process? on thing i miss about cad is feeling like I’m actually drawing something. a lot of days now i feel like a glorified information manager... still waiting for ai to come in and do the dirty work. bottom line revit is far from the end all be all, and i worry it’s pushing us towards spreadsheet clicking instead of the more integrated computer/ai/construction route.

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I think it's how you use the program. Personally for me things in Revit take just about as much time as AutoCAD. I view Revit as something you use when you know what you want. AutoCAD was more flexible in that regard because you literally just drew lines, well you could if you didn't use the 3d functions. I don't think Revit or AutoCAD are the 'it' program for the profession. Things will constantly evolve. That being said I feel that some type of BIM will be with us for ever.

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robhaw

In my opinion, a Revit test only shows that you have a theoretical understanding of the software. There is a wealth of practical Revit knowledge that comes from live project experience and that's what offers the most value within project teams. I wouldn't expect to test an employee's knowledge of troubleshooting, BIM workflows with parameters or project setting up experience from a 30' Revit test. I have sat a couple of tests at large firms but usually during interviews there is a Revit savvy interviewer who looks at your portfolio and asks critical questions regarding workflows. That's because the principals interviewing can't determine this themselves. It's more likely they are going to require a Revit test if you brand yourself as a Revit technician / BIM coordinator and apply to Revit technical positions. In this case, the test is an extra step for them to establish that you have a 100% thorough knowledge of the software and they are getting value for money, because your role offers strictly Revit skills rather than architectural services. In this latter case the test would also be more advanced. 

Jun 4, 20 5:36 pm  · 
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I don't know about that last line "because your role offers strictly Revit skills rather than architectural services". Knowing Revit doesn't mean you don't offer or have architectural skills. Sure you may not be drafting a great deal in Revit however knowing the program can really make designing and managing projects a lot smoother and easier. Like it or not Revit is here to stay and has become the standard for a lot of our industry. It's no different than learning any other program or hand drawing technique to improve your practice.

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robhaw

I don't disagree with you. I was discussing really the relevance of tests, wishing to point out that a theoretical test is more likely to be useful as an (additional but not the only) step in testing the proficiency of people whose contribution derives mostly from in an depth knowledge of Revit. Some Revit I knowledge is useful in all roles but experienced candidates with a varied architectural skillset would already know enough through experience (which can be assessed in the interview) or they could learn everything they are lacking in on the job really quickly. In this case, a Revit test is an indication of training needs. In the first case, (an advanced) Revit test is
used to inform an employment desicion.

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Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding. I agree about the advanced testing.

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robhaw

No problem, perhaps the term 'strictly' was an in accuracy. Mostly is a better term.

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