Sure, being an architect may seem like a great job. I mean, building houses from Lego was great as a kid, right?! But, what kind of person do you really need to be to find architecture rewarding?
What Architects Actually Do
Being interested in beautiful buildings is just part of the job.
All architects spend a lot of time:
Talking to clients in meetings
Analyzing building sites
Reviewing land-use bylaws, codes, and regulations
Figuring out costs
Developing and presenting concept sketches
Developing actual designs that include tons of detailed specifications
Working with other contractors
And, there are different types of architects who all do some things a little differently:
Residential architects — they work with homeowners or developers on housing projects.
Commercial architects — think skyscrapers, schools, or bridges. Although commercial architects usually specialize in one of those particular areas, they all focus on the big stuff. They work with commercial companies and usually make good money.
Landscape architects — they create beautiful parks and garden areas, but it's also their job to consider how the space interacts with other things, such as people and traffic.
Interior design architects —think about home improvement shows where people come and make the most out of small spaces, or anything else inside the house or building.
Urban design architects — they may work with a section of entire blocks in a town or city. Think landscape architect but with concrete. Again, the interaction of peoples' needs with the space is important here, too.
Green architects —the environment is key here. Whether it's landscape or urban areas, large buildings or homes, the main focus is on positive interaction between buildings and the environment.
Industrial architects — they design highly functional buildings or spaces like factories. Check out the brutalist architecture style as an example.
What Kinds of People Love Being Architects
Generally, people like the jobs that are best suited to their personality. According to the ALIS website, architects should have the following traits:
Innovative and creative — think outside the box to find new solutions.
Social and collaborative — you'll spend a lot of time working with others.
Technical and precise — imagine the big picture but pay attention to the details.
Confident and motivated — don't be afraid to make your own decisions.
Emily is very artistic and loves beautiful buildings. She took a skills inventory evaluation to see if it architecture was the right fit, but she scored low on "detail-oriented". What can she do to improve this skill?
What Kind of Pay You Can Expect
Yes, architects make good money. They average about $100,000 per year in Canada and $95,914 in the US. But getting there takes some work.
What the Career Path Looks Like
It takes aboutsix years of post-secondary education to be a certified architect. Unfortunately (for some right-brain creative types) this is likely to include a pre-requisite in math.
Architecture requirescompeting aptitudes — how you think and learn, and what you're good at. Students need to be as comfortable in math and science as they would be with creative arts like drawing.
The market is bit flooded right now in Canada and the US. Make sure you have a great resume and sweet networking skills.
Make sure you don't invest too much time and money into something that doesn't end up making you happy! If you think being an architect would bring you joy: