Ever wonder what your job will look like after you complete architecture school?
As an architect, your main job is to design and plan houses, offices, and other structures. Your job will include meeting with clients to get an idea of what they want for the space, estimating the amount and what type of materials will be needed, as well as how long the project will take, and preparing the specifics of the structure. You might also direct other workers who will prepare documents and create drawings, or prepare scaled drawings yourself, often with the help of a computer program. You might also prepare and manage contracts with contractors and construction companies, and visit sites to make sure the construction sticks to your design. You will likely also have to actively seek work for you or your company by engaging in marketing techniques or giving presentations. As an architect, your projects and designs might be big or small. Some people in this occupation deal mostly with private projects building individual homes or other small spaces, while others work on large public projects, such as by planning office buildings or shopping malls. You might also focus primarily on indoor or outdoor spaces. Depending on your work, you might provide clients with a variety of other services as well, such as environmental impact studies, cost analysis, specific design requirements, or help with selecting a site.
What You’ll Need to Know
When you design buildings, you don’t just come up with a plan for what it is supposed to look like when it is done. You also have to design details of the structural system, such as air conditioning and heating units, ventilation systems, electrical systems, plumbing, communication systems, and potentially outdoor and landscape design. For this reason you will have to have some knowledge of how these systems work and what an appropriate design would look like. You will also have to have in depth knowledge of different building codes and regulations, as well as zoning laws and other ordinances, so that your project can move along smoothly and meets all the county’s expectations. You will also have to have knowledge of computer design aids that help you turn rough sketches into comprehensive pictures of buildings and rooms. You should also have the skills to set a budget, negotiate with contractors, and stay on a building schedule.
If you are an architect, there is about a 67% chance that you will end up working in the architectural and engineering services industry. There is about a 20% chance that you will be self-employed. Regardless of your employer, you will mostly likely spend the majority of your time either in an office or visiting a construction site. If you are self-employed or have the opportunity, you might work from home. There is a good chance you will work at least full time, if not overtime putting in long hours – particularly in the face of deadlines. You will still have to work long hours if you are self-employed, but your schedule might be a bit more flexible.