Architecture and Beyond: Career Paths of an Architect

Earlier this week, the professor who teaches the introductory course on architecture and the built environment approached me asking if I would be willing to substitute for her and present a lecture to her class.  Earlier in the summer, I offered to present on my favorite topic – Careers Paths of an Architect, but I never heard back.

Regardless, I accepted her offer and quickly prepared since I had less than two days.  Of course, I had a standing presentation at the ready, but I had to update, adjust, and shorten.  I actually combined two presentations and edited accordingly.

I will not share the full presentation, but suffice it to say, I want the first year architecture students to “think” about their future careers in architecture and/of beyond.  Below was the first slide.

Thru the presentation, I outlined the traditional career path of the architect, i.e., working in an architecture firm.  I also discussed the career paths outside traditional practice – government, non-profit, education, research, & corporations.  I shared my McDonald’s story — asking how many would like to work at McDonald’s after graduation; as expected, none raised their hands — I proceeded to share that architects are hired by McDonald’s and other corporations for design work.

However, the majority for the presentation was on Beyond Architecture – I highlighted lists that I had created over the years as well as resources for more details including this article from 2012.

Architects Branch Out: https://archpaper.com/2012/05/architects-branch-out/

I also shared personal career stories of those that have pursued careers beyond architecture.  My newest addition was Alice Chiang, Sr. Designer with Cantina.  Alice is a former student of mine when we were both at Maryland.  The article below provides details on her career path, but my summary slide is listed below.

Alice Chiang: https://tinyurl.com/yc538g69

Afterwards, I projected what might be pants for the future – robots, sustainability, globalization, space architecture, etc.  At the end, I challenged them to “start now” on their career in architecture.  Of course, we will need to wait a few years to see whether they listened.

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