An architect is a professional who plans, designs, and oversees the construction of buildings. Architects must have a strong understanding of mathematics, engineering, and physics in order to design structures that are safe and functional. They must also be able to visualize how a building will look once it is completed. Architects typically have a college degree in architecture or a related field.
As a young architect on the path to building your career, you are bound to face a fair bit of challenges. However, pursuing a career in architecture can be a challenging but rewarding experience. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve great things. The growth curve isn’t linear but rather filled with ups and downs. To make it through the initial hurdles and have high growth prospects in line with your career, here are 11 tips to follow to help you grow.
Authenticity; it is important to develop your style and voice. The Architecture field is one driven largely by creativity. Because of that, each person often develops their style of doing work. Some marveled and tried to incorporate ancient architecture, others are futuristic. Everyone has their style. Do not try to mimic other architects – be yourself and let your work speak for itself. One mistake young architects make is trying to mimic those who they consider successful. Following that direction kills your unique creativity. Be patient and perfect your style. You cannot successfully copy a style that is not yours, the same way only you can execute your unique style.
Get involved: Become a member of professional organizations and attend events. In Uganda, the governing body for professional architects is the Architects Registration Board (ARB) Getting involved with such organizations and eventually getting registered gives you a competitive edge as an architect. Getting registered is an easy process that involves several steps and criteria to be met. To learn more about ARB, visit their website by clicking here.
Be selective: Choose projects that will challenge you and help you grow. When gauging options for which projects to take up, most starting architects make the mistake of considering only how lucrative a project is. When starting, growth is more important than short-term financial gain. Growth is an investment into the future while sacrificing short-term financial gain. One way of identifying a project that will help you grow exposes you to mentors and people further along in the architecture field. Knowledge and mentorship are invaluable when it comes to growth. As a young architect, if you have to make a choice, choose long-term growth over short-term financial gain.
Forge relationships; “Your network is your net worth” That is probably cliche by now, but the wisdom in it is timeless. Meeting people in the industry and building your network is one of the key ingredients to growing your career. That is how you increase your chances of getting opportunities. Every bond you form is a potential open door. To forge relationships, you need to consider two major aspects: where to find people to network with, and working on your social skills so that you can make an impression when you first meet. Make an effort to attend architecture conferences and networking events to meet new people. When it comes to social skills, get friends or mentors who are already good in that area and learn from them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Ask professionals for advice and learn from their experience. Most professionals are open to interaction and will share with you any kind of information or advice you need. However, there will be instances where you will come across unresponsive professionals or professionals who will only interact with you after the payment of a consultancy fee. What do you do in such a case? It is easier to connect with professionals in unofficial settings. That is why it is important to attend seminars and networking events. It is easier to connect with professionals as friends rather than walking to their office or sending them an email. Try and establish friendly relationships with them, and if that fails, there are always countless other professionals to interact with.
Mentorship and apprenticeship; One of the best decisions you can ever make is finding a good mentor and seeking an apprenticeship. A mentor is an icon you can look up to and a guide in an unknown field. Their years of experience in that field make them untapped wells, rich in knowledge and wisdom. Don’t be afraid to approach people further along than you for mentorship. Most of them will willingly spare you their time because chances are that they too had mentors when they started.
Stay up to date on the latest trends and technology in the industry; In an ever-changing world, the ability to keep up with current trends makes you more adaptable and flexible as an architect. The architectural landscape is always changing with the emergence of new better designs, and innovative new trends like computer-aided drawing, virtual reality, and machine learning, all of which affect the profession. Keeping up with such changing trends makes you a valuable asset as a young architect since it makes you adaptable, creative, and innovative. It helps you come up with new ways of solving problems. You can do this by following the news, blogs, sites, and relevant figures in the field. The moral is to always have your nose in the architectural space to always stay informed about what’s going on.
Be patient, it takes time to become a successful architect; One of the biggest mistakes young people make is that they enter the field with unrealistic expectations. They expect to build up to a seven-figure career straight out of university. Such expectations make them impatient especially when they realize that on the contrary, it takes several years to build a high-paying career, years of self-development, and work experience. The architecture field is a rich one, however, growth and development take time. As a young architect, it’s important to be patient as you get experience, network, and climb through the ranks. The rewards take time, but when they eventually come, they are worth the wait.
Effective communication; As an architect, it is not enough to have creative ideas, you also have to have effective communication skills to have a good platform from which to convey your ideas. It might either be through writing or speech. There will often be moments in which you are tasked to articulate your ideas like; a meeting with a potential client, a presentation to your bosses, or a written academic publication. effective communication adds value to your ideas and works and it helps you to share them.
Continual learner; Always be willing to learn and take on new challenges. One mistake young architects make just after tasting a bit of success is to become proud, rigid, and averse to new knowledge and experience. As you start to climb the ranks, it’s always important to remember to stay a humble learner. No one knows everything and you can always improve your skills by studying the work of others and attending workshops and seminars. Staying a humble continual learner keeps you curious and hungry for knowledge.
Experience; The architecture profession requires a great deal of experience and expertise. For young architects, this can be both daunting and exciting. It is important to be proactive in your career and to take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way. Just like any other profession, architecture is a field that will demand your experience. From every job advert to the interview panel, you will always be asked for a certain minimum of years of experience. This often leaves a young professional with a chicken and egg paradox; you can only get employment if you have experience, but you can only get experience from getting a job. One way around this is to consider volunteering. Even though volunteering doesn’t pay the bills, the earned experience can open future doors.
In conclusion, young architects should always stay humble and remember their roots. Keep learning and keep growing as an architect, and never stop pursuing new opportunities. Always put your clients first and always strive for excellence in your work. Finally, stay involved in the architectural community and give back whenever you can. Architects are a critical part of society, and we need more professionals who are committed to making a difference in the world. Hopefully, this article has been helpful.