7 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be An Architect

Since I am often asked what it is like to be an architect I thought I would share a few of the benefits of choosing a career in architecture. So whether you are thinking about a change in profession or a high school student wondering if you should major in architecture, here are my ten reasons why it rocks to be an architect.

To help you with your architecture job search, I've created a mega-pack of free resources that includes architecture resumes, cover letters, and an extensive collection of application documents. Click for a free download:

1. Many career specialization options

I previously discussed in, 10 Potential Career Paths Within Architecture, there are a wide range of career specialization options within the architecture profession. Examples include technical and design architects, BIM Managers, interior designers, project mangers and urban designers just to name a few. 

Beyond just the ten paths I discussed above there are an almost infinite number of related careers that can be leveraged from the experience gained as an architect. You can do chose something just for fun like furniture design or help others such as becoming an architecture professor. 

2. You can work anywhere

Not to be confused with "you can work FROM anywhere", since architecture generally requires your physical presence in an office. At this stage remote working is still fairly limited within the profession, however that may be changing. 

That being said, architecture is such a ubiquitous profession that you can work anywhere. I spoke recently to a friend who said his classmate is currently in a very remote fishing village in China. He is the only architect for miles, and has been finding very fascinating projects there. I also know other architects working in global hub cities as well as the rural countryside. 

Wherever you decide to live, there is a likelihood you can find a job in architecture. Of course if you are interested in international airport design, living in the middle of nowhere may be a challenge. However, small scale residential projects are everywhere. 

See also: All The Great Jobs For Architects Are In Cities

3. You get to be creative and analytical

Architecture is one of the rare professions that allows you to be both creative and analytical on a daily basis. For example on a typical work day I might calculate and compare multiple floor area options. Then later in the day I will sketch up a design for a particular detail or portion of a project. 

I find this variation in my workflow to be quite nice, giving me a range of tasks to keep things interesting. However, to some, this switching back and forth might be distracting and may find it difficult to get things done. This largely depends on your personality type, however over time you will get better and multitasking and switching from your so called "right brain" to "left brain".

I use those terms as an analogy for creative an analytical since it has been shown that the whole left and right brain thing is a myth. Left Brain vs. Right: It's a Myth, Research Finds.

4. A comfortable work environment

During high school and college I had a lot of odd jobs. From mowing lawns to roofing houses I have done my fair share of outside work. While it can be great to spend your working hours in the sunshine this isn't always the case. On a freezing cold or windy and rainy morning I often think how lucky I am to be working away from the elements. 

If you prefer to spend most of you time outside there are certainly niches within architecture that will allow you to do this. Construction administration on building sites would be your best bet. However, typically architects work in (obviously well designed) comfortable offices.

Most architecture firms use open office layouts to encourage collaboration (and to fit more staff). Desk configurations vary depending on the firm but cubicles or rows of tables are the norm. 

5. You get a strong sense of accomplishment

Very few professions provide concrete (literally) proof of the work you have done. An accountant for example provides a helpful service but when their work is done there is little evidence to an outsider that anything has been accomplished. However, this is not the case with architecture.

Not all projects that start end up being built, there are a million steps along the way that can derail a project. But assuming all goes well, your hard work and dedication can result in a physical representation of your work. We call this thing a building.

Whether it is a single family home or a tower downtown, the sense of accomplishment you get from pointing at it and saying, "I helped create that" is very satisfying. 

6. You can be an entrepreneur or employee

Most architects start out as employee's to gain the required experience within the profession and many go on to start their own offices, as described below. Other architects choose to remain employees for the duration of their career, neither option is right or wrong, it simply depends on your priorities and goals. 

Sole Proprietorship's make up almost a third of all architects working today. This is just a single architect working alone with perhaps a few assistants. This is quite common in small scale residential projects as the workload is manageable for one person.

This is perhaps the option that offers the most freedom and flexibility when it comes to the architecture profession. You can set your own hours, select what projects you want to pursue and create designs exactly as you wish (along with the client of course). However with this flexibility comes all of the risks of entrepreneurship. That being said, the benefits both monetarily and professionally can be very rewarding. 

7. Great income potential

As I have previously discussed in, How To Earn A Six Figure Architecture Salary, the architecture profession has great income potential. While salaries for young architects starting out can be low for the equivalent training and education in another profession, the pay steadily increases with experience. 

I always tell young architects that ask how they can earn more I always encourage them to become licensed. I have found this really gives a boost to your career in both the short and long term. The sooner you can get the license out of the way the better. 

I hope this has been helpful and now I am sure you will agree why I think it rocks to be an architect.

Want to find your dream architecture job?
Check out The Architect's Guide Resources. 

To help you with your architecture job search, I've created a mega-pack of free resources that includes architecture resumes, cover letters, and an extensive collection of application documents. Click for a free download:

Thanks for reading, see also my posts on:

The Two Page Architecture Portfolio

Where To Apply For Architecture Jobs Online

25 Things To Consider When Choosing An Architecture Job Offer

Good luck!

Brandon Hubbard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C

Have a suggestion for a future blog post? Please let me know in the comments below.