Seriously, what other careers can architects make a move into?



You could try for the following options:- 

Construction Project Management

Real Estate and Urban Infrastructure

and also 

Construction Economics.


I think you can find more information here:-

May 29, 14 4:03 am

Architects are very smart people and they are very well informed and are the masters of the construction industry. They are well aware about the organization related to construction business, therefore, they can become a great stock analyst particularly for construction market. They could guide people to invest in the organization that rules in the construction industry.

A normal person is not so much informed about these things, the news we hear or see regarding any fall or rise in the construction industry, what is the source? The source is these people who are working in close coordination with the organization. For an instance, the news about jawad rathore who was responsible for the fraud for a construction company. Architects of those company already knew what the company was leading to and what was their plan of action way before this was revealed. They can become a boon to people by sharing their thought and become a great stock advisor or stock investor.

Aug 22, 14 4:16 pm

I first read this thread a couple of years ago when I was really struggling with whether I should stay on architecture or pursue a different career path. So now, after changing to IT consulting 18 months ago, I want to share how my experience has been, the good and the bad.

Just as a bit of background, before I left, I was working in a small practice in a big city and I looked around me and thought - do I want to be where my boss is in five or ten years time? The answer was a flat no. There were a few reasons for this

  • My boss worked 6 days a week and very long days on a salary that supported a very modest life 
  • The work the office was doing was for all for developers that had no appreciation or concern for the impact of design on the city, or the people that would inhabit the spaces we designed.
  • I was working long hours for low pay, as are all of the architects I know in this city
  • I know I could have found a more design focused firm, but I had decided I wasnt going to give it another year. I felt that at 31 I need to make a decision and fast, as to whether I was going to change career.This was not an easy decision for me. I cried about it. I had done my professional exams and had 5 years post grad experience at this stage - it seems like so much to give up. But I did it.

I applied for an entry level position with global IT firm. I have been working as a business analyst for some very big clients since I started. It is a million miles away from working in an architecture practice - but I like it and I am glad I have made the change. I am a happier more optimistic person these days. 

I have jotted down some things I think I've learnt from the experience. I'm sure not everyone would agree with the below - but this is my experience - my reality

  • I have learnt that the client and not the architect is responsible for the project. When I say this I mean, the architect is there to advise - ultimately big decisions are the clients, and they must be held accountable. Knowing what I know now, I would have started the very first meeting with RACI diagram calling out who us responsible/accountable/consulted/informed for every part of the design/construction process. The client commissions the project, they are the one that stands to gain from its success, so they need to actively fulfill their role.
  •  I have learnt that the client needs to be actively managed, and in particular, the client's expectations need to be managed. Expectations about what is possible within the time frames they dictate, with the resources they are willing to pay for. Software companies are good at this and I think architects could learn from them. I know architects of course do do this to some degree, but how many provide a weekly update on every part of the design that will impact delivery with a RAG status for example? I'd be surprised if it is many or maybe I was just working in the wrong places...
  • I have learnt that I as an architect, I didn't always deliver what the client wanted, because I had my own agenda, I wanted to design what I thought was good architecture, even what the client wanted was bad architecture. I don't think I was wrong - I am just more aware now of what I was doing. Architecture was emotionally charged for me. I cared hugely about what I created. With software design, I care about delivering value to the customer - value through 'their' eyes not mine. 
  •  I have learnt, that people in other industries work damn hard too...they just get a few more benefits for doing so. I'm not working any less hard in my job now but I get more holidays, share purchase plans and a defined career path. This stuff may not matter to a lot of people, but as I got older, and started to think about having a family, I had to admit to myself that it mattered to me
  • I have learnt that it is really fulfilling to work in an environment where people come from different educational backgrounds and have been actively trained to be good communicators and leaders. I thought that I would miss not working with architects - but I don't. I have actually met fantastic people - and amazing managers, who know how to get the best out of people.  I wish that architecture firms invested in their people to help them to have these strengths.
  •  I have learnt that although I don't do architecture on a day to day basis...buildings and architecture is still there - but it cant still be as much a part of my world. I was scared that architecture was part of my identity, part of how I defined myself...'I'm an architect' - what would it be like when that wasn't true anymore?  I do feel like I have lost a part of my identity, I thought oh- ill keep going to lectures etc..i'll keep engaged....but the truth is, making it in a new career takes all your energy, it takes hard work to re-invent yourself and learn about your new field and takes up a lot of time. 
  • I miss feeling passionate about something I am working on. The only plus I can see about being dispassionate, is being able to say 'ok I'm stopping now because thats as much output as I can do in the 4 hours you paid me to work on this'  ....which will ultimately allow me to have other things in my life, other than work. 

There is no 'beauty' and no 'soul' in IT consulting. But I am sad to say  - nor was there in many of the arch projects I worked on as an architect. The positive things about IT consulting for me has been working with new technologies, the speed at which things move, delivering something the client really values - and feeling like I have a brighter future. 

My ultimate ambition is to bring my 2 career worlds together some day, some how, because I don't feel like I could do what I'm doing now for the next 20 years . Time will tell, whether I did the right thing or not.

Hope this is useful to anyone reading, Thanks

Oct 12, 14 12:27 pm

I have realised that I have more to say on this topic...

Feeling dispassionate about what you are doing as your job is a HUGE price to pay for job security and the other benefits that come with doing jobs outside architecture if that's what you are considering. I think architects contribute a huge amount to society, and it is this passion to contribute to society that keeps architects working for sometimes, what seems like little return. 

In my new career, I have had the misfortune to work in some pretty uninspiring locations in this city, and have experienced first hand what the world looks like when architects lost the will to bring beauty to a place, or failed to convince those with the power to make a place something that is beautiful and is a positive place to foster human interaction

I am sad writing this because I was idealistic about what working in architecture would be like, and realise that once my idealism waned, I couldnt see the value that I and other architects brought. If you can stop one ugly building from being created, or create one beautiful place, that is a contribution to be proud of. You may have had to sacrifice something to make that contribution but it is worthwhile.

The thing is, I feel like, with what I am doing now, which is essentially management consulting, I am learning the skills to influence and lead - the skills I dont think I was learning when actually working as an architect. So for me, ultimately, I might be able to contribute more in the long run by taking this route, than by producing tender sets for buildings I am only half proud of. 

Oct 12, 14 12:58 pm


Great story! 

I understand your feeling. Overall, how did you get into IT, did you go back to school? Also for what? I was thinking of that as a change in career but it was pricey to accomplish in school. How has your salary improved?

Oct 22, 14 10:05 pm

Hi, when you were deciding on what career you wanted to go into, before you studied the major why didn't you do some research!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like everybody on this website has nothing good to say about the career so why are you still in the industry it's pathetic. Let me get into my story of how I decided before it was too late NOT to study architecture at university. the reason being is because if you have done your fucking research you would know that architects no matter how hard they work do not get paid enough and that what put me off completely, yes I could take the fact that architects work hard and they work excessive amount of time and they have a lot of work overload but you don't even get paid for the time you put in. Anyway when I was researching into career plans I decided that I wanted to go into graphic design doing a major and then a master for the senior roles of the career. with a graphic design major you are able to have plenty of job opportunities such as art and creative director which earns the most out of the career choices in design they have a high salary and I won’t even both typing the figures down do your own research like you should of done before choosing architecture, and then you have web developing and design and other design careers, you get paid a lot and have a lot of job opportunities which Is great, and even the bonus is that you are able to so this at home and work from home and earn money so making like your own business. This career is so much easier and better in in terms of life and salary. So how about stop whining and so some research, and complaining about switching jobs.

Bye   Bye

Nov 2, 15 4:13 pm

a graphic designer would have put a line break or two in that run-on stream of consciousness.

Nov 2, 15 4:16 pm

^ Not if you look at some of the shit that passes for graphic design (and writing) these days.


Nov 2, 15 5:13 pm

There are a number of careers an architect can move into but doing so will involve additional education in the subject matter (I am not explicitly saying degrees or college courses). 

Architecture school won't necessarily prepare a person for careers outside of the realm of architecture. After all, there are other degrees and colleges for other field of study.

Sometimes a person may need to take courses in a subject matter they did not study. Don't expect  to be able to just walk into any career you want. It isn't that simple. It might be for some careers but not always the case.


Nyanders question? How do you get into IT? It isn't a single answer. That's like saying how do you get a job in a field pertaining to the built environment. IT is very diverse and continues to expand.

If one has a more specific focus area like website development, video game development or application software development or network administration, or computer repair technician or you name it.... then path(s) to entering or getting just a job is more easily communicated.

Do expect that employers are going to be looking for people who have explicit skills and usually related educational credentials. If you want an IT job, it is likely to be expected that they want IT related education. If you don't, they are more likely to choose someone who has that credential and it is competitive.

If you have a unique niche that you can get into then you will have opportunities to make yourself stand out. 

Nov 2, 15 9:01 pm

Stay in the profession and change it. That's a real challenge.

Nov 2, 15 11:49 pm

Professional Catfish Noodler < my ambition and dream.

Nov 3, 15 3:32 am
null pointer

People who I know to have made a switch:

  • Urban Designer at Department of City Planning (same pay, higher salary over time).
  • Design Director at large Real Estate Firm (definitely better pay).
  • Director of Interior Design at large Real Estate Firm (don't know her too well).
  • Zoning Specialist at Law Firm (better pay, obviously).
  • Software Training at a Software Distributor.
  • Flip houses.
  • Marketing Specialist at a Software Distributor (he started answering RFP's for a larger firm, and ended up being hired by the software distributor because he had a talent for marketing.)
  • SysAdmin at a Large Architecture Firm.
  • Preservationist at own firm.

Probably can comment on a few of these in better depth, just because I strike up conversations with these guys as often as possible (they are all a lot more interesting than the average CAD monkey).

Nov 3, 15 7:16 am

A career in film?

Nov 3, 15 10:59 am
AV Integration / Consulting... We do CAD, rendering, UX design. Look at a company like Steel:case that provides the walls the furniture and the technology as an example of the relationship. Or companies like Applied Minds, Float4, and IDL Worldwide that all staff architects.
Nov 4, 15 11:24 pm

do you consider yourself to be qualified enough to do whatever you want, influence somebody, or leave an impact on this world? or is it that you are just someone who  just want to make money? 

Nov 5, 15 3:16 am

Why are those the only options Zaina?

Nov 5, 15 4:31 am

there is one more option, stay home watching movies all the time and drinking peer and marry a rich spouse to spend on the family, then you'll become angry on your life and your kids and start abusing everyone around you and eventually end up in jail.. lol  it's ok my dad do that ;) but he's still in the "abusing" stage! 

Nov 5, 15 10:01 am
null pointer

money changes the world. your semi-binary bullshit is bullshit.

Nov 5, 15 10:28 am


Nov 5, 15 10:42 am

What if I don't want to make a shit ton of money and don't want to make a impact? What if I'm satisfied having a comfortable life and being surrounded by family?

You sound like you need to take a hard look at your life Zaina, if you think those are the only options in life.

Nov 6, 15 4:13 am
I'm currently a business consultant
Nov 6, 15 6:49 am

archiwutm8-  you have a mindset of someone from the middle east! if you want a family good for you! but the world doesn't need overpopulation obviously! it needs productive people...

Nov 6, 15 12:13 pm


Actually, what archiwutm8's statement is actually basic fundamental American dream. To own a home, have a livable income for a basic family that is together. This was fundamental values of America in the 1950s, 60s but somehow it might have loss that vision when a generation is totally a lost cause because they have no aspiration and they rather see drama and with such apathy would play a fiddle while the U.S. falls burning with their own homes burning them to ashes as nuclear bombs bursting in air or on the ground and biological weapons being deployed causing people to literally puke their guts while chemical weapons being deployed causing peoples' skills to like boil and with all the agonizing deaths full of painful screams, yet these sick, apathetic, lost causes of a generation would do nothing to prevent it. They would let media who would stir the world politics into a horrible horrible nightmare of an outcome just to sell their (media) newspapers or get ratings.

All of this is because this lost cause generation has no values. They rejected it as they were rejected. They may have had mothers and fathers but they had no parents. They had nothing to inspire them to be better so they given up like living zombies lost.

Is it really wrong for individuals to give a fuck, anymore? 

I would hope people give a shit about having meaningful things. If middle east values this than maybe that is because they care. They have a dream to aspire for better greatness than they have been living. Americans needs to aspire for a better life and better world and that was what the American dream was about. This doesn't mean we want to individually be center of global attention. Some of us wants to still have a resemblance of a life. So being rich and famous like a celebrity/movie star means you don't have a personal life. You always have some asshole with a camera filming you. Do we really want that invasion of privacy with everything we do in our lives? Some people want to have a more human or humane life with privacy so they can live.

Nov 6, 15 12:49 pm
null pointer




Nov 6, 15 1:07 pm
There's the RWCB we all love and miss! My Friday morning is so much more enlivened now.
Nov 6, 15 1:12 pm

think about it, unless there were people who were willing to let go the American dream, the U.S wasn't going to be the U.S we know today! the whole world was going to be 20 years late from what it is now.... yes maybe some of them were physiologically troubled, ... but they contributed to the progress of this world! they did not leave the world the same way they arrived! maybe  they had no families , but the whole world fall in love with them! those are my ideals, not the kind of people who think about their own comfort and busy with their personal lives! .

Nov 6, 15 2:37 pm
Non Sequitur

eugh what?

Nov 6, 15 2:52 pm


*let go = sacrifice with ...

today's world needs sacrifices... that's what I meant 

Nov 6, 15 3:02 pm

oops. sorry guys it's not like what it seems... see I didn't know what is exactly "the American dream"! though the American dream is what Balkins just explained very briefly! gosh, thought it is the opposite of what it really is because of (as you said " a generation who lost values") okay no offense Americans. excuse me for not knowing .. LOL

Nov 6, 15 3:32 pm

Zaina, "yes maybe some of them were physiologically troubled, ... but they contributed to the progress of this world! they did not leave the world the same way they arrived! maybe they had no families , but the whole world fall in love with them! those are my ideals, not the kind of people who think about their own comfort and busy with their personal lives!"

I stand by this myself as well. Keep in mind Zaina that it's not the only direction to take in life by any means. I'm sure most of the older architects on this board would be against this notion (for varying reasons). What preconceived history textbooks tell us is that most of our influential and important historical figures, especially in regards to technological or cultural advancements, prioritized their career over their families or friendships. If they had children, they were only a distraction from their trek to win a Nobel Prize. From an existentialist standpoint, its monumentally easier to birth a family and care for them than it is to be the top 1% in a competitive field and impact the world's sequential generations to the point where history textbooks have an entire section dedicated to your work. *Inb4 Hitler's allusion*

archiwutm8, "What if I don't want to make a shit ton of money and don't want to make a impact? What if I'm satisfied having a comfortable life and being surrounded by family?"

Then I'd rather you be a construction worker instead of the visionary behind a significant architectural project/movement.

Nov 6, 15 4:44 pm

zaina don't you have some hermetically sealed concrete bunkers for wars to be building right now?  "lol"  

side note: i do find the demotivational poster genuinely funny.  also.  rwcb is totally mental.  if he's your point of reference you're cherry picking the data.

Nov 6, 15 5:58 pm

BR.TN you can have a comfortable life, with a family and still be a "visionary" behind a significant project. Unless you like being alone with alcohol and depression... .. I don't know you.

Nov 10, 15 4:21 am

What career oppportunities will taking a masters course in critical theory of Architecture provide? I'm currently in the final lap of my bachelor's degree and unsure as to what to do next. I definitely do not want to get into construction management but I'd like something that could lead to teaching or community work later on. What would y'all suggest?

Apr 13, 17 2:55 am

You could pursue a PhD and go on being a career academic.

Alternatively, try looking at David Adjaye's office and the works he's churning out. Some heavy community building in Africa that might fit your bill.

Apr 13, 17 3:14 am

anyone here shifted to real estate? Having a specialization in Urban Design, this has crossed my mind a few times. 

Apr 26, 17 2:24 pm

I'm a tad late to the discussion, but I have some experience with this issue which might possibly help someone in the middle of trying to figure out what to do with the rest of one's working life--so here goes my story.  I am a mid-career changer not from architecture, but to interior design.  I started out planning to complete a degree in architecture and then do the intern bit and eventually make it to licensure.  Early on, I concluded that it was probably better for me to focus on a liberal arts degree at the undergrad level and later continue to the M.Arch degree. So after a year and a half in a B. Arch program, I switched to a psychology + fine art, double major (reasoning that psychology and art are both applicable to architecture....) 

Fast forward to past graduation, I worked for two years saving up for graduate school and headed to an east coast city from California and enrolled in an M. Arch program conducted in the evenings with work in an architectural office during the day.  Well, all I can say is it became SOUL DRAINING very quickly.  From the tick tock of my morning commute (when I realized that I was recognizing the shoes of other commuters on a daily basis while walking up the steps from the subway, it sank in....) to the demeaning work I was expected to do (being the lowest on the totem pole, at one point I was asked to empty the rat trap of the deceased rat from the prior night's execution) to the miniscule pay, which is one of the catch-22's of this profession -- if you live in a major design city, you won't be able to pay for it.  If you don't, work can be particularly hard to find.  So when the tuition to a school offering classes in the evenings taught by instructors on a VOLUNTEER basis went to the max amount available for which one could get a loan, I had to bail.  Getting into debt to that amount simply wasn't an option, especially because it would take longer to complete the degree given it's a work / study program.

So I moved to NYC and began work in a development company dealing with adaptive reuse design.  Woo hoo, I'd finally found where my passion lies -- in adaptive reuse!  Pay was better than the previous job, and the hours were again long.  But with actually feeling like I was in the right place at the right time, doing what I truly love to do -- I was on my way.  Then the recession hit, and the foreign investors who owned the company pulled out of the US market, and the firm shuttered. 

I moved back to the west coast and started writing freelance, as I'd always written well in college.  Eventually, one thing led to another and I ended up getting involved in screenwriting.  People ask how.  Well, it's a lot of the same process as designing a building.  You need to see something in your head before you get it down on paper, and the thought process is parallel in a lot of ways.  It's also hard work, and can be very, very frustrating and "notes"....meaning criticism of your work....can be brutal.  But if you've lived through wine and cheese crits in architecture school, especially the ones at toward the end of a session when the wine's been flowing -- it's a cake walk. 

I'm writing professionally now, and finally I'm in a position when I can breathe easier with regard to finances.  It's a bit of a tenuous position because you never know if there will be more work after you finish a project.  (Sound familiar....?)  But that nagging desire to work in design has never gone away and I'm now able to pursue that education that I didn't complete previously.  So I am at present mid-way through an interior design qualification.  I chose to pursue interior design because a) the hoops one needs to jump through to become qualified are less than with architecture and consequently the cost of education is less b) I love working with color / texture / textiles, etc.  Granted, one works with those in architecture too, but not as extensively.  And c) interior design fits in with my love of adaptive reuse design.  I'm still writing, and will probably continue to write for a while yet, and / or concurrently with design work.  I've learned in life that it's great to make plans, but not plans that are too firm because things can change on a dime.  Additionally, I'm not in a "pillow picking" track, but more of an architectural one, so I didn't compromise my ambitions entirely.  I just deviated from the traditional route I had originally planned to take. 

But the point of this opus is that if one has the passion for design, it won't go away.  Whether one leaves and comes back, or toughs it out and sacrifices things from college on that other people won't sacrifice in exchange for career satisfaction you end up at the same place.  Actually, it's not career satisfaction, it's more like a burning desire to create, and if you have it it's not likely you'll be happy doing anything else.  As for the graphic designer a few posts back....not everyone enjoys 2D design.  I find it boring and uninspiring.  The beige cubicle thing with the engineers would drive some to suicide (the cubicle I worked in in the architecture firm I worked in while in the M. Arch program nearly drove me to thoughts of suicide) and computer programming, well, that's for a special breed too, I'm sure.  I could never imagine it, just like someone else couldn't work as a freelance writer.  The point is, my background in psychology / art / architectural school put me in a unique place to be able to write screenplays (and a fair bit of hard work to hone the skill set).  But rolling all those experiences into a new career, I plan to get into development doing adaptive reuse design.  If you want to reinvent yourself in another career, you have to define what you really like to do and what you are good at.

Career changing is hard.  I'm not a youngish hipster, I'm a mid-career changer and regardless of my background and qualifications I likely won't ever get hired to work in an interior design or architecture firm.  I know, because I've interviewed at several, even got hired by one for 48 hours until they found a candidate just out of school willing to work for 2/3 of what they offered me.  I got a call the Sunday night before the Monday I was to begin work informing me I didn't need to come to the office after all--so it pays to be prepared for anything.  I'll echo what someone said earlier, become an OWNER and then you control your own destiny.  You just need to get very clear on what it is you want to do, master your new skill set, be willing to "live lean" for a while until you get established and then go for it.  You only live once, and it's just too hard to struggle doing something you aren't happy doing or that is crushing your soul.

Aug 3, 17 9:19 pm

Anything artistic pays rubbish unless you are at the top of the profession.

But real life is tough - many people do rubbish jobs to stay alive and support family. Thats life. You can only change when you are young and have no responsibilities and even then its hard work learning something new from scratch whilst you continue to get a wage.

But it can be done.

Aug 4, 17 4:41 am

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