In this short but intense post, we will talk about the numerous alternative jobs for architects and designers to open up a different career for you.
Being a graduate in architecture does not necessarily mean ending up as a designer in some larger or smaller studio.
The skills you have developed during your university career will be helpful to you in many fields, as well as the ability that you have inevitably developed to adapt, know how to play with any program and become very intuitive in learning new notions. And techniques.
An interesting article is also the one proposed by Architizer, recounting six alternatives to a career as an architect, or that of Archdaily, who, reversing the topic, lists the unexpected works from which seven famous architects of today have begun. Both are undoubtedly useful, but below, we offer you our list of ideas – if you can think of other possible ones, do not hesitate to write them in the comments!
These want to be more than anything else ideas, inspirations. However, each of these paths requires commitment and dedication and is often not enough. Many of these alternatives would deserve a specialization course or, even better, a master’s to be conducted properly.
Before starting, remember that you will need to promote your brand and your professional profile whatever path you choose. In this post, we have collected our best tips. Also, remember that it is crucial nowadays to make good communication about yourself.
Please note that this article originally appeared (in Italian) on our partner site Marketing For Architects. From the same author.
Some alternatives careers for architects and designers
Without detracting from the graphic designers who have completed a dedicated course of study, they will certainly have an edge, especially in the first years. Still, nothing prevents you from taking specialization courses and studying, getting inspired by the best graphic designers (which does not mean copying them) and specializing more and more in a field that always needs new professionals.
Said like this, it means everything, and it means nothing. Communication is such a vast field that it can’t be described in a few lines. I want to emphasize that if you have a passion for marketing, mainly digital, you may come across numerous opportunities in the business world. People who deal with this subject related to the world of architecture are not so ordinary. If you are interested, this is part of the path I have decided to take.
A great way to get started and figure out if this could be your path is to apply to become an Archiobjects contributor!
Here we go, more specifically. If you don’t even know what it is, let’s move on. Otherwise, know that I have discovered that it is a figure that in medium-large studies can be decidedly valuable and therefore sought after.
Here it takes years of experience, excellent communication skills and almost necessarily a support course or master’s. But if you understand that you are natural-born t for this field, many doors could open for you.
Also, in this case, a training course is much more than recommended, but once you start in this field, your career can reserve you great satisfaction. Few architectural firms need figures of this kind. Moreover, applying with a relevant cultural background will only make you preferable over the candidates.
The photographer is one of the favourite professions for those who choose not to be architects. Here the offer is great, and to stand out, you have to focus a lot on quality, on your portfolio (and therefore promote yourself), and personal relationships. Also, you have to have it inside. Otherwise, it risks being another detour along your path that will only make you waste more time.
If this is your way, you can aspire to enter this list of the best photographers based in Milan! (if you are from the area, of course)
Journalist or Editor
There are many magazines and magazines in the architecture/design sector. And if it is true that publishing is not experiencing an excellent period, it is also true that truly relevant realities are emerging, especially in the digital field. Designboom, Dezeen & Co. come to mind, and they also have offices in Italy.
Also, in this case, an excellent place to start is a collaboration with the Architecture or Design section of Objects.
It is useless to ignore it. Architects are creatives who often have to keep their ideas at bay and compromise with reality. But what if you decide to let all the ideas that come to your mind flow? The Startup road is not to be underestimated.
Clear. Needless to say. From a family-run one to an international one with hundreds of employees, any architecture studio needs to produce graphics that can make the client say “wow”. So, you can become a master in one of the many moderation and photo editing programs and sell your services as a freelancer or collaborator.
A critic of the History of Architecture or Guide
If you love history, you cannot fail to consider this path, but go further if you don’t love it. Becoming a critic or a guide could be an excellent alternative for all those who more willingly spend their time in books, magazines, and essays rather than planning.
Much rarer than renderers, indeed sought after to a lesser extent, but it is equally valid that modelling is a profession that is profitable and satisfying if you know how to do it well and in the required times (often limited).
“Wayfinding” (or way-finding) encompasses all of how people (and animals) orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place.”
It is often a recurring theme in architectural projects. Signage and everything related to orientation is undoubtedly part of the design process, and being an expert in this field could open many roads.
Ok, maybe you won’t be able to write lines of code right away. Still, the ability that architects or designers usually have to know how to “fiddle” with programs or to learn them quickly by reading forums, tutorials, etc., will certainly take you far. First of all, there must be a passion, of course, but website design is always in demand, and if you can combine graphics and communication skills, it could be interesting.
Much more niche than most of the other alternatives to work as an architect featured in this post, the Type designer should still be considered if you have a passion for fonts.
An event, if we want, is a project. You have to prepare all the steps, and you need to control all the processes. So for this, it could be an alternative. On the other hand, events are also very present in the architecture and design world so you may find space in this sector.
Being a freelancer has its pros and cons. In the past, I wrote a post on how to make money as a freelance architect. Next, you find all the opportunities and platforms that potentially allow you to take advantage of your best skills right away.
As you may have noticed, many of those we have just mentioned are jobs that fall into the “creative industry”, as the Americans would say. So here is the reason for the last concluding paragraph:
Creative jobs, where to find the best offers
Now that you have more suggestions on possible alternatives to the classic architectural job, it is also good to know where to look for these opportunities.
In many cases, you will have to get involved yourself. As a freelancer, you will have to go and propose yourself. In other cases, you will have to do a lot of research on conventional channels and scan all the offers until you find the right one. Finally, especially for the most creative works among those we have just mentioned, there are dedicated platforms where companies in the sector usually refer.
Unfortunately, looking for a job can be a long and nerve-wracking activity. Still, the important thing is to maintain awareness of one’s means and continue updating and training if possible. Maybe by taking online courses, you will be able to “sell” yourself in the interview phase or the subsequent search for creative jobs.
Here are some of the most authoritative platforms where you can find announcements of creative jobs:
- Creative Jobs Board
- Behance Job list
- Dribble Jobs
- The District
- Lavori Creativi
- If you could jobs
- LinkedIn Jobs
It is clear that the road is still uphill, and this post does not solve anything, but now that you have at least a couple of alternatives to working as an architect in mind, you can think about it and consider all the options. Just as you can still consider a career as a designer, I am certainly not advising you to change paths by force – but rather to be able to broaden your reach and your possibilities to make you choose the best way for you with more awareness. And your future.
Again these are just a couple of tips and some links, but I hope they will be useful to you. In any case, this article does not want to offer solutions but ideas and inspiration.