Career pivots and a return to architecture -- looking for guidance!


Hi there, I'm looking on for some guidance on how to pursue the next step of my career. I have a BS in architecture from Georgia Tech and practiced as an architectural designer for about three years. In 2018 I had an interesting opportunity to get into UI/UX design and have been working in the field as a consultant now for almost six years. It was my hope getting into experience design that I would be able to leverage my background in architecture to think about space design in a different way-- incorporating more research and user centered design to create amazing physical experiences. I haven't really been able to bridge that gap despite my efforts. For the last year or so I've been itching to get back into architecture, I really miss designing spaces (since my job has been much more focused on interface design) and would really like to work on residential spaces. I'm really inspired by the series on Youtube called Never Too Small and I think I would have so much fun working on projects like that (so more focus on retrofitting and interior architecture than net new buildings). And think that I would really like to buy, renovate and rent properties to generate wealth.

So my question is what should my next step be? I question if I have enough experience to do projects on my own being that I'm not licensed, only worked as an architect for three years, and have been out of the game for six years now. I'm wondering if I should go back for my masters and pursue getting licensed which obviously would take a couple of years and cost $$$. Or I'm wondering if I can start working on projects now, sin license, and create relationships where I could have a licensed architect sign off on my drawings. I guess it's a matter of building confidence and that comes with experience...

Anyway, I'm open to all feedback, advice, thoughts! Thanks in advance. 

Jul 7, 24 10:52 am

Unless it is highly subsidized or free, a Masters in Architecture isn't going to be a good investment.

Jul 7, 24 10:51 pm  · 
1  · 

I went to Gatech, got licensed, etc.  I did resi flips for a while during the recession when there was nothing else to do and you'd have to really mess up to not make money.  

It sounds like you have a good gig going on now.  Getting into housing development is difficult due to cost, but you can scratch your itch by taking side work for design-builders and other residential firms.  You'll find it doesn't make much compared to what you're doing now.  

I also wouldn't go back to school with the eventual hope of getting registered unless you specifically want to work for a traditional architecture firm on buildings that require that.  If all you're interested in is residential, you have the paper necessary.  You could also work for architecture firms with just your bachelors, but you'll hit a paywall ceiling without registration.  Expect to cap out at $80k for a long time, and I doubt you'd find work starting at that rate.

Jul 8, 24 8:50 am  · 
2  · 
Immigrant Developer

Designing human scale vs designing the experince of an app are so different. You seemed captivated by the App bubble a couple of years ago. Now captivated by these small spaces you experience seeing on your screen. Just decide and go all out. If you want to design, then find an architectural designer job, you have 3 years of experience which is still considered a fresh grad experience. As you already know you need to jump back into architecture. It's not like you're going to start doing what you want tomorrow. Even licensed architects have trouble finding work. Now imagine your position. Start small, go all out, never give up.

Jul 8, 24 12:52 pm  · 

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