Employment/Internship without knowledge of software?


I have no actual experience in the field of architecture other than a summer doing Harvard GSD's Career Discovery program and would like to get some experience working in the field. But I am wondering what kind of position I might be able to get at an architecture or design firm with so little experience? I have knowledge of Adobe Suite software and am familiar with model-making and basic design principles but I don't currently know how to use CAD or how to do renderings or anything of that sort. Can these things be learned on the job? What kind of options am I looking at? 


Background: BA in Film. MA in Media Studies. Work experience in the art/art administration and editorial fields. 

Mar 12, 14 11:50 pm
On the fence


Mar 13, 14 2:22 pm

The Architecture profession is flooded with under and post graduates of architecture. Without being incredibly proficient with software, rendering and model making I would think it would be almost impossible. 

Mar 13, 14 2:53 pm

Yea, you basically have no shot unless perhaps you know someone who can give you a chance. In the meantime, try to start getting a grasp on AutoCAD and Revit.

Mar 13, 14 3:36 pm

What about unpaid internships? 

Mar 13, 14 5:07 pm

Honestly - with (from the sounds of it) your very minimal skillset, being in an office will likely cost the firm more in their time explaining/editing your work than having done it themselves in the first place.

Paid > Unpaid > Payback...
Sorry to put it so bluntly, but there's really no way around it.

Mar 13, 14 5:40 pm

Again I think it would still be difficult as often the kinds of practices that offer internships are usually quite prestigious and therefore sought after positions. Even for unpaid positions its likely you would have to produce a portfolio showing examples of your work. And be reasonably proficient in model making/drawing, 3d rendering of some kind and CAD/BIM.

Perhaps spend some time developing a small portfolio. learn the basics of AutoCAD or revit and basic 3d modelling software such as sketchup/podium. Then apply locally for unpaid experience?

Mar 13, 14 5:42 pm

I actually don't think you should be looking for employment/internship right now.

What i suggest is to enroll at a local junior college and take some AutoCAD classes. That way, you can network as well as learn the basic skills needed to survive in this industry.

Mar 13, 14 7:19 pm

I took a revit class at a community college a long time ago and basically forgot it while in art school. turns out there are a ton of you tube videos where you can learn a lot of it.

Apr 3, 14 6:51 pm

sure why not... it would have to be an unpaid internship, support staff job .. you know.. handling office mail, stocking materials, photocopying, running errands etc.


why would you want experience in this field though? 

Apr 3, 14 7:20 pm


I was in a similar situation a year ago. Graduated with a BA in Human Geography and extracurricular training on AutoCAD and Landscape architectural drawing, I was hoping that I could find an entry position (mostly searched for a architectural technologist). Spent a countless amount of time trying to shine my resume and highlight the very little training I had over my irrelevant academic and professional backgrounds. It didn't work.

And my friends suggested that I look for a position at a design/engineering firm where I can get a good understanding of the industry itself regardless of job title. They were right. Normally, there are many supporting positions other than architect, technologist, engineer or intern that need to be filled up yet you can get a free ride on most of their training opportunities. Ever since I started working here, I've attended events and seminars with other architects and engineers, taken all the training courses the firm offers and learned about managing this kind of business inside and out. Architects and engineers in the office are always willing to give me advises on career choice, admission, preparation etc..  Although my job title does not fully utilize my previous education and work experiences, I have clearer goals for my career in architecture now and am grateful for this experience.

Apr 9, 14 2:00 pm

I'd like to see where someone with exceptional networking and interpersonal skills could get with this task.

Apr 10, 14 3:03 am

Why don't you try applying for a Marketing Coordinator position? You'll need to know InDesign, and maybe a little photoshop... other than that you'll need to know how to write, be outgoing, and be a "go-getter." While you're on the job, try to learn some of the software during your free time and ask people specific questions if you need to during your lunch time or whenever. Once you've come to a point where you feel you know the software well-enough, you can either:

1) Ask to be transferred to a department that does the work you need.

2) Retain your position as Marketing Coordinator while also helping out in architectural tasks once in a while.

3) Switch firms altogether. 

Jul 4, 14 10:43 pm

A whole bunch of nothing. Kids with a masters in architecture cant even get a job, what makes you so special.

Jul 5, 14 9:54 pm

You could be an administrative assistant.

Jul 8, 14 8:52 am

Seriously, it takes two to three days for anyone to get familiar with a software like CAD.  If I were an employer and you came to me looking for an architectural job without any knowledge of the softwares we use, I'd tell you to give up architecture.  You can't even be bothered to spend a few days learning a required tool. 

Jul 8, 14 11:31 am
Tinbeary There there

Yes, CAD can be learned on the job, it is easy enough. 

Jul 8, 14 11:47 am

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