If you are thinking of going to architecture school or are currently enrolled, you may be interested in learning about what you need to do to be successful. Although some activities are obvious, such as studying hard and getting work experience, there are other skills that you can work on honing while you are in school so that you are better prepared once you graduate. These include learning to be organized, practicing working with computers, and developing strong visualization skills.
In addition to the creative process of designing plans for different buildings, architects often have to take on administrative and managerial duties as well. Projects typically involve contracts that govern the people involved in the job and dictate important aspects such as budget, types of materials, and timeline. As an architect, you may be charged with the task of managing this contract and making sure that its stipulations are followed. For this reason you should have strong organizational skills that allow you to keep track of budgets and inventories. You may have to keep track of a whole stack of papers that each outline different parts of the project. You should be able to detect if and when the job gets over budget and if work is going too slowly to be completed on time. The more organized you are the more smoothly the project will progress and the easier it will be for you to report to others about its headway.
In past decades, most architectural designs were done on draft paper, and architects sketched out their designs by hand. You may recall scenes from The Brady Bunch, a popular television show that aired in the late sixties and early seventies, where Mr. Brady used pencils, rulers, and other measurement tools to draft blueprints in his home office. In large part, however, such methods are a thing of the past. Nowadays architects use CADD technology (computer aided design and drafting) to come up with designs and create models of buildings and structures. These models are sometimes referred to as integrated BIM (building information modeling). It is important that you have knowledge of computers and how to use various aspects of technology in order to be successful as an architect. You will most likely receive extensive training in this area while you are earning a degree in architecture or design.
Architecture is a very visual field that requires people in the position to be able to come up with pictures in their mind and think spatially about how different parts of a design relate to each other. The visual aspect of the job goes hand in hand with the creative aspect, in that once an architect has an idea for a house, office space, or other structure, he or she must first come up with a mental picture of what the finished product should look like. As an architect, you will have to constantly keep these visualizations in mind as you create plans and accommodate the needs of different structural systems, such as plumbing and electrical systems. The computer programs that come up with virtual representations of buildings will help you in the visualization process, although you should not depend on this technology entirely.