Should I take a rollercoaster switch from Architecture to Computer Science?


Dear all,

I am in a situation where I have a even wilder dream as if Architecture is not hard enough: Pursuing a master degree in computer science.

Firstly, I have always been interested in data, and forseeing how data science can bring in actual value to urban design and architecture. What I personally experienced is often that the toys in grasshopper at its best can only bring a somewhat pseudo-scientific findings and correlation onto the table merely within the discourse of Architecture. (Let alone the lack of real skill to scrape and analyse data in a deep and meaningful way). To bring real impact, I think that I need to learn their languages in statistics and analytics.   

Secondly, I have always got a gut feeling that my energy to be an Architect is going to run low at some point at my life as I know many people here have already expressed... Potentially such switch can provide me with opportunities to not just branch out, but to switch my career that is not just about Architecture…

Any thoughts or like-minded buddies here who could share some story and experience of such a switch?


Apr 9, 22 12:18 pm

If you have conviction, I see why not. It will give you broader career options and likely a higher salary. if you can though, try taking some free classes to see if you would like coding. I have seen many of my friends make that move—not just from architecture but from art, culinary world, engineering, etc. They seem satisfied enough in terms of life style  although I would say no career is without its own set of challenges. I’ve heard that competition is intense in that world. Pivoting takes a lot of courage and effort. I wish you the best of luck!

Apr 22, 22 2:03 am  · 
1  · 

Thank you for your kind words! Like you said, I will definitely start joining some bootcamps to have a more solid foundation in coding. It is going to be a big commitment but I am excited.

If you don't mind me asking, at around what age did your friends make such switch? 

May 12, 22 1:07 pm  · 

At all stages—early twenties, late twenties, and early thirties. Never too late and there will always be demand for programmers in the foreseeable future. Make sure you join a boot camp with good job connections. I’m sure you’ll do fine!

May 12, 22 4:48 pm  · 

I agree. As someone who has been in the software field and concurrently in that field, I can say that you can enter this field at virtually any age that your mind is sharp enough to learn new things and the programming languages. I highly recommend C/C++ and C#, Python, and possibly some others. Additionally learn web languages like HTML (including HTML 5), CSS (cascade style sheets), javascript, Ruby, and I would even look into learning Flutter. 

Modern day programming is likely to be using multiple programming languages. Learning one language to start to understand the abstract principles of computer languages. The syntax of the languages will be different but the underlying principles are the same regardless of the computer languages. You'll probably be learning about data structures. I have been working with computer programming languages with computers that dates back from the 1970s to current from very low level languages like machine language for multiple CPU instruction set architectures to higher level languages when undergoes processes of interpretation or compiling to derive an executable code in machine language that the CPU can process and understand. Generally, a CPU understands only one language directly. 

There's a lot of 'magic' that happens behind the scenes to make even this web page process and be displayed just inside that 'black box'... the web browser. In this field, there is some employers that essentially engage in age discrimination to a point. Now keep in mind that is not always the case. 

In reality, in most cases, some companies are into using the "latest and greatest" programming languages that are the current trendy languages to learn. This means that if you don't keep a continuous learning discipline in your life learning the new languages as they come, you can end up being obsolete and a younger person fresh out of school would displace you because they learn that in school. Back in the day, there was that popular language called BASIC. Today, those versions of BASIC from that era with program line numbers and all, are largely obsolete in modern computers which now use structured programming and often object-oriented programming. You might not know what they mean exactly right now, but you'll know what they mean. This is why C/C++ and C# are still relevant and C & C++ is still the long standing language of professional level programming. 

Most applications and video games will use C, C++, and/or C# in the programming code that is more than whatever "visual scripting" that may be used in game engines like Unity or UE4. More advanced logic would be coded. It is important that you keep learning. Additionally, as you gain more experience, you'll most likely be promoted up to more managerial/directorship type roles. Of course, you'll incrementally be less involved in the day to day programming because it cost less to have some fresh out of college kid working for peanuts do that grunt work. You get bigger pay but less direct hands-on programming of the work yourself. 

However, you would and should keep learning the new languages and review the work prepared by others and 'redline' (architect speak) for noting things to be corrected. 

Regardless of age, you will likely be starting at the bottom of the rung but the bright side is your pay rate steps up fairly quickly over a short number of years of experience and also the step up the ladder of positions offering larger salaries and more benefits in various jobs in the software field. I can not say that is going to be a guarantee for your own experience. 

The computer programming field is so vast and ties into so many other industries so you need to research those different areas. It is not all going to be equal. You might not get to be working for say a video game company or for say... Microsoft. You may be getting a job in programming for say a company that does programming and related work like software architecture/engineering consultant work for say.... a medical industry client. Things may look more like you see in the architecture field where you may have an okay entry pay but it plateaus in the $60K to $120K range and depends on the position and slow/small increments in pay. It runs the gamut so your experience can be drastically different that of a fellow classmate. 

I would argue that you should not be concerned about your age. Unless you are in your 70s or 80s or older, I probably wouldn't be too concern with your age when it comes to pivoting. If you are in your 30s or 40s, you still have another 30 years or so to make a career in another field. You don't have to be in your teens or 20s to work in software and closely related IT fields.

May 12, 22 5:41 pm  · 



The computer science field is so vast and encompasses and weaves into virtually every industry sector on the planet, your experience will vary. Your pay will vary. Your pay increase increments will vary. 

Do not be too concerned about age. While age discrimination does exist, it is not always the case and may not be the most significant case. In the world of programming, age discrimination is perhaps more prevalent in the sectors that are constantly into the "latest and greatest" trendy programming languages so if you don't keep a regiment of continuous learning of new programming languages on your time, you can find yourself being viewed as old and outdated. 

There are languages that have held the test of time like C/C++ and C# being a more modern derivative. Most likely, if you are not going to be writing video games or something, C/C++ and Python are probably going to be a good starting language for professional programming in fields that don't need a game engine or something like that. Flutter is a new language which a person may want to learn along with web languages for running software that runs in the browser given how much and importance of the internet in the workflow of the end-user.

What do you want to be doing in computer science / programming? This is the question to ask yourself as you go through the curriculum from the fundamental stuff and then tailoring your education to what kind of work you want to do.

May 12, 22 6:18 pm  · 


Whatever you do, consider the end-user(s) of the software or hardware. Computer science can branch to hardware and software and the various facets of IT.

May 12, 22 6:22 pm  · 

Feedlydee, my above responses are mostly for architino than to you other than I agree with what you wrote.

May 12, 22 6:24 pm  · 

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