Entry Level Architects


I graduated in May 08 with an MArch and am just wondering how other recent grads are doing right now. I had a job for four months in New York before being laid off and it just seems that there is absolutely nowhere to look at this job level. Compared to when I was searching 6 or 7 months ago it seems that many jobs of similar responsibilities have been retitled as internships allowing companies to get away without paying for work. I don't know many other recent grads especially around NYC area and would like to know how people with a degree and minimal experience are faring?

Jan 5, 09 5:08 pm

hey, same here. i just graduated April 08 with a BArch from outside the US and moved here to New York. Its been half a year already and I still haven't found any job. I think what makes it more difficult for me is that i didn't get my degree here.

I got sick of hopeless job-huntings (i think i applied to more than 30 NYC firms and didnt get any single call) so i stopped and started working on my grad school apps. hope i get in as i dunno what i'll be doing if i don't. might as well look for other kinds of jobs to keep me running. it's really a bad time for the field.

Jan 5, 09 6:43 pm
Nicholas Brewster

These posts aren't desirable but definitely insightful. I've been trying to find folks who just graduated (preferably with a MArch in the NY area) to ask them how their job hunting is coming along.

My Brother is pursuing his undergrad degree in Civil Engineering (part time) and he's moving to his 3rd firm in 2 years. He has a couple years experience from abroad but the layoffs keep coming.

I'm applying for a MArch program for Fall 2010 and I was wondering how things would fair after graduating.

JRGZ1023 when you had the 4 mth job was the pay decent? Did you get the job through your school's career center or did you find it on your own? Where you able to accumulate any IDP credits since graduating?

If you guys don't get jobs soon what alternatives will you pursue?

Jan 5, 09 7:16 pm

work in the trades or the millwork shops for a bit....

Jan 5, 09 7:20 pm
MArch n' unemployed

my username says it all, i graduated with a MArch in may as well. i've come very close a few times only to have hiring freezes get in my way.

i've been recovering from a torn labrum which doesn't help me pursue anything in the trades, but with each passing day i wonder if i should have pursued my other

Jan 5, 09 8:01 pm

Nicholas Brewster - I graduated in May and worked Sept-Dec and was satisfied with pay (just below the average salary on the archinect polls which I'd gladly take now) and I got some good experience in addition to the IDP credits. I believe I found this job on craigslist or archinect (i've tried every career site i could poss think of in addition to blind e-mails to firms - if anyone knows of any better methods aside from connections; please share)

I was notified that I was being laid off mid-Nov and had a month and half to look with every bit of effort and can only note how many less entry level jobs there were as opposed to only a few months earlier (granted holiday season is horrible time to look even without economy in shambles).

I paint and have done some random freelance graphic design but these are not things that I can see as a viable career option; kinda ironic - the reason I went into arch in the first place is because I figured it would be the only way to pursue an artistic/creative field and make a living...

This is really the first regular week of being off and I hate to be a pessimist but I'd at least like to assume that this is grounded in reality.

Jan 5, 09 8:47 pm

this is why i tell people to diversify themselves. you can learn all you want about architecture and the like but when the time comes to layoff people/etc, your just a number

i would recommend looking at teaching considering some folks have a masters. even if it's a part time gig, at least it will look good on the resume later on.

and i'm sure the postal service is hiring. they make about 45-55gs a year starting.. depending on your position


Jan 5, 09 10:29 pm

Hey everyone.

I am in the same boat. I graduated w M.Arch in May, and after working through August I relocated to another geographic region.

Since then I have not been able to find work. Many firms have expressed interest in my resume and work samples, but were unable to hire due to the floundering economy.

One thing that has bothered me a lot is the fact that most job posting I find are looking for candidates with 5+ years experience. For recent graduates like myself, this presents a major problem as I need a job to get experience, but can;t get a job because I don;t have experience.

Though while I hate to say it, it makes me feel better that I am not the only one.

Good luck to everyone in the job hunt / struggle.

Jan 5, 09 11:33 pm
Nicholas Brewster

Yeah this sounds a little crazy. I'm a Network Administrator and I will make closer to 80K for 2009. Giving this up to study for 3 years for a MArch then intern an additional 3 years for IDP to potentially not have a job and/or make less than 80k sounds ridiculous.

In reference to employment is Architecture going through a growing pain or paradigm shift or something? Why is it the field we love and so many are drawn to rewards us so poorly?

Jan 6, 09 10:09 am
Chili Davis
Compared to when I was searching 6 or 7 months ago it seems that many jobs of similar responsibilities have been retitled as internships allowing companies to get away without paying for work. -JRGZ1023

Who would do such a thing? The fact that people are still willing to work for free is what is causing entry-level designers/architects to have such a hard time finding decent paying jobs. Why pay someone $45K a year when we can get someone with a nearly identical skill set minus a degree for $0K a year?

Anyway, I've worked for an engineering firm in the architecture department for nearly 3 years and the work is steady (though definately not high-design) and the pay is good (right on par with national average) even in the worst state in the country for unemployment.

Jan 6, 09 11:42 am

At this point in our careers I think its pretty agreeable that experience is most important. However throw in this financial crisis and who is willing to take on entry level employees who are essentially seen for their potential rather than instant results. Nice little catch-22 we got here

Jan 6, 09 12:11 pm
MArch n' unemployed

i've got that magic 5 years experience as well as a recent MArch and in the words of a certain spaceball...i ain't found shit

Jan 6, 09 12:18 pm

MArch n' unemployed
are you doing Kaplan study guides yet? I am drilling them into my head in preparation to take a few

the risk of failure with no reimbursement makes me want to be very confident in passing before i call the testing center

Jan 6, 09 12:36 pm
MArch n' unemployed

no anti im not...its been a rough end to 2008 for me. im trying to rehab my shoulder after it popped out of its socket 3 times in one night. ended up with a small fracture and a tear of my labrum.

but 2009 is a new year and my shoulder is slowly starting to get better. i hadn't thought about taking that route, but it's not a bad idea.

Jan 6, 09 12:40 pm

i feel your pain. i got a stent in my ureter and some planned lazer surgery (endoscopy) to remove a genetic defect, found out i have only had one working kidney with the onset of some unusual pain.

another worry with the salary freezes in effect and such would being registered even have a effect? either way if i was on my own i would like to be able to stamp one day i suppose.

Jan 6, 09 12:52 pm
MArch n' unemployed

well let's hope for health and prosperity in '09

and you know now that you say that, i wonder if having more credentials would actually work against us. after all that means more money to potential employers...catch 22

Jan 6, 09 1:39 pm

Another barrier I encounter is the Revit skills, I did not have the opportunity to learn this software while in school and I am reading the book before I get the trial version. The formal classes with the software vendors are really expensive 1,200 per weekend. But Revit is the Key to getting past the 5-8 years experience barrier, but it is not a cheap software to acquire “legitimately”

Another thing I did that has helped land jobs is to set up a simple website I used Host monster since they have a simple built in template, just cut and paste portfolio pages and presto you have an online portfolio, it is not a fancy wiz-bang thing but it is nice to have.

I think is has been useful for landing interviews outside of my region since responsible professionals wont ask 50 people to fly in for an interview when there is only one position and it is only 60% chance of happening. A few interviews I had out of town actually mentioned it when they asked me to come out for an interview.

You should all file unemployment even if you are working if you are making less than your previous salary you may be eligible for some benefits and most states have a decent job hunting services program where they coach you on interviews and alert you to job fairs and state jobs.

As for the original question I have mixed feelings I think a brief explainer that you are looking for work out of necessity such as “I am seeking work after being laid off” made sense last year since many firms have had bad experiences with interns and mid level professionals jumping ship every 8-14 months to get a higher salary or to work for a more prestigious office. Maybe mentioning your roots in the community is a good idea but I still think the past few years of interns hop-scotching around has many HR and Office managers wondering if this person is going to stay or will they leave after we train them on software or whatnot.

The non-for-profit I was on the board for spent nearly 6K filling an 18k a year part time position and the training, adds, equipment, and initial loss of productivity added up quick. So remember bringing someone on is not cheap or easy. If they quit or walk out or are let go that is a big loss.

Jan 6, 09 3:15 pm

given they do need to have at least 1 on staff...

stamp stamp
sign sign
redline redline
review review


i am so into doing a diverse array of things and if being 'that guy' meant i couldn't be also 'this guy' i might be hesitant.

Jan 6, 09 3:19 pm
MArch n' unemployed

PJN26 -

what i did was paid someone to teach me revit, im sure you can find someone you know who knows the software well. much cheaper than a formal class and the one-on-one instruction will really help pick it up quickly.

Jan 6, 09 3:29 pm
MArch n' unemployed

just heard back from a firm i flew to interview with, they ended up calling my references but today they let me know they won't be hiring anyone for at least 3-4 months. terrific. cock teasers.

Jan 6, 09 4:04 pm


Jan 6, 09 4:44 pm

REVIT is BIM Building Info Modeling

Jan 6, 09 11:19 pm

how worthwhile is Revit when there is no work coming in anymore??

Jan 6, 09 11:47 pm

Pirate the software (revit). The only way you will learn it is by using it on your own time. It will not get you to a point of understanding it at a professional level, but it will get you to a point of being able to tell a future employers that you understand the program.

I am in the same situation you guys are and this is the route I have taken. After revamping my portfolio with revit I feel like I understand the program.

Classes or 'paying someone to teach you' is a waste of time and money. The best way to learn is to apply yourself and follow the tutorials. The help option is actually pretty helpful with revit.

Jan 9, 09 4:51 am

I will not hire someone who has pirated software for one simple reason. I would always have the feeling in the back of my mind they
want to steal something from me.

I have very little patients with the Software Companies who are financially kicking our asses with soft ware cost however when someone is stealing their product and then using it for commercial gain it just isn't right for all of the people out there who are purchasing it and using licensed software.

Hopefully you can find a student version which has a water mark to learn on. I could give a rats ass if a water mark shows up on someones portfolio if there showing me quailty work. I would be more suspect if there is not a watermark and you just out of school
So lesson be told, you might think your smart but people hiring are alot smarter than you might think.

Jan 9, 09 11:19 am

With all due respect, I think you're in a small minority on that one snook_dude. If I am looking to hire someone I wouldn't even think about whether or not they had pirated the software to make the stuff they're showing me.

Jan 9, 09 11:30 am

Snook - they want you to steal it, they just dont want you to steal it and use it for profit. Why do you think it's so easy to get a key gen and crack it?

Jan 9, 09 11:32 am

This seems like a moot point.

How would you know if someone pirated the software they used to produce the images in their portfolio?

Jan 9, 09 12:21 pm

The piracy of software has been discussed on archinect multiple times. I am not encouraging anyone to go out there and get the program and then turn around and use it for profit. Single users that are using the program for non-profit personal reasons, a portfolio for example, would be alright by my standards. I am also willing to guess that autodesk feels the same way. They are making their money off of firms and companies.
This topic was specifically about entry level positions, or people just out of school. I highly doubt they are in any situation to use pirated software for major profit. I would hope that if they were in that situation they would invest in the cost of getting a clean version.

Just clearing things up on my end.

Jan 9, 09 2:46 pm

I graduated Dec of 2007, and have luckily survived in my current job since Feb 2008. I work at a small firm (4 architects) that focuses on industrial and commercial/retail. Thing have started to pick up again...cautiously though.

Jan 28, 09 4:46 pm
On the fence

You guys think its bad now? Just wait.

During the next 4 -12 months more layoffs will occur. Not only that but 4 months from now a new class of March and Barch students will be graduating. Of course we will still be in a recession so the Barch students will stay in school for another year/two. By the time architecture firms start to hire people there is going to be lines and lines of architects/interns applying for one job.

Do you know who is going to be hired yet? The most qualified who will accept the lowest pay. This recession will probably drive the salary down far below what anybody thinks it should be and we all know how we feel about our salaries compared to other professions, right? People, already laid off but with experience, will either have to take drastic pay decreases or be replaced with the newly graduated March's and Barch's who will certainly take less and actually be able to survuve on less.

I'm just saying folks, it's going to get ugly here.

Jan 28, 09 5:03 pm

you necro'ed a 4 year old thread to post a headhunter ad?  there is an employment section here on archinect.

are you sure you want to post to a random forum you are not familiar with?  seems odd you would really be having trouble finding architects looking for work.  if you went out front of you local barnes and noble, one of the panhandlers is probably an architect....

Mar 5, 13 4:15 pm

posted in 09'

Do you know who is going to be hired yet? The most qualified who will accept the lowest pay. This recession will probably drive the salary down far below what anybody thinks it should be and we all know how we feel about our salaries compared to other professions, right? People, already laid off but with experience, will either have to take drastic pay decreases or be replaced with the newly graduated March's and Barch's who will certainly take less and actually be able to survive on less.

I'm just saying folks, it's going to get ugly here.

Boy did it ever - 4 years later and all I can say is "If I told you all that went down it would burn off both of your ears."

Mar 5, 13 5:33 pm

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