Career Paths for Young Architects are diverse, however, the best path is what the article seeks to identify. Unlike other professionals, many architects graduate annually to meet few or no job opportunities outside.
For the unprepared, this may be a setback because not all graduates are entrepreneurial. Most usually settle for work in organizations before setting out on their own. For those who set out as entrepreneurs, there are over 21 things you can do with your architecture degree.
What you need to know about professional registration
Owing to the way the practice of architecture is structured. Graduates are expected to work in firms under registered architects for 2-3 years post-graduation. This is in order to write and pass their professional examinations.
This is the standard world over.
Where can architects work
Some architects after graduation approach working in different ways. Either by freelancing; or working in big organizations such as banks, universities, and construction and manufacturing firms. Other work for the government or in architectural firms. The young architects’ decision to either work or be on their own is influenced by many factors. Some may include: being in control of his time, steady income, good pay, and better opportunities.
While others may be career growth, promotions, professional registration, job security, building a business etc. Ultimately these factors steer him in the direction he must take. However, whether it leads to happiness or dissatisfaction is a different thing.
Therefore one question every young architect must ask himself is:
What’s the best career path for me and will it guarantee a fulfilled life?
What determines the career path architects should take
Every career path has its merit and demerits. Your capabilities, talents, passion and personal desires are what should shape the path you take or do not take.
Sometimes, flexibility, determination and a combination of work types may be what is needed to attain that great height.
Should you Freelance or work in an organization immediately after graduation?
Choosing to freelance or work in an organization (other than an architectural firm) immediately after graduation isn’t always a good decision.
It has the tendency to deprive you of getting registered or licensed as an architect.
This is so because under such conditions (except in special cases) you won’t meet the requirements for professional registration. The requirement is to work as an intern for a minimum of 2 years under a registered architect while filling a logbook with your experiences.
This makes you eligible to sit for professional examinations.
The Pride of the architect
And as you may know, being professionally registered is the badge that legitimizes your practice of architecture.
Without which you become a quack architect even with all your degrees.
The solution, therefore, is to quickly after graduation commence your pupilage so as to finish in record time.
After which you can venture into freelancing, owning your firm or working for other organizations or governments.
Should you own your architectural firm post-registration?
Before you establish an architectural firm you should ask yourself a few questions because being an entrepreneur isn’t for everybody. Questions such as:
“Are you passionate enough about architecture and will you be willing to persevere even when things are tough”
“If when offered a job with an organization that guarantees steady pay and Job security, will your love and passion for architecture cause you to reject the offer and stick with the architectural firm you just set up?”
“Besides being good architecturally. Are you social enough or do you have the network or character to attract and retain commissions/ clients? Or do you have someone who can do this for me?”
Answers to the entrepreneurship question
If you answered these three questions with a convincing ‘YES’ then you can set up a firm.
In some cases, you may partner with someone who has some of the above skills. You may also decide to work in a good architectural firm and grow to become a partner there. But even when you decide to set up a firm you should also consider supporting yourself with additional sources of revenue.
Perhaps you may achieve this by also engaging in interior design, landscape design, design-build, sales of building and interior items, graphics design, lecturing, post-construction cleaning etc. If you were unable to convincingly answer the questions on entrepreneurship and still have a passion for architecture, then you should consider working in big organizations. Here, your skills and services are required for project management or supervisory departments of a big organization.
The only downside it may have is in the event of job loss. Besides that, it may guarantee a steady income, promotions, job security, etc.
Should you work in an architectural firm and how long
Due to the ways, architectural firms are structured (with the exception of the very big ones), they are mostly improperly developed organizations. They often have a single head whose presence and absence dictate the success of the firm.
The chances of career growth, job security and very good pay are slim.
One major merit of working in architectural firms is the chance for professional registration they provide. After which architects have to look elsewhere to improve their careers and finances.
When picking a firm to work for, especially if you intend to work there for a long and probably grow to be a partner, then the big ones are better.
If what you want is to learn and get professionally registered only, then the small ones are good. Here, you are more likely to get a one-on-one rapport with the boss.
The best career path for young architects is to immediately after graduation pursue professional registration or licencing.
After that decide on what path suits them based on their passion and capabilities.
They could decide to either go into owning their firm if they meet the requirements, work in an organization/ government or teach at the university.