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Career in Architecture

Introduction

Architects are the real creators of amazing buildings and structures. Skyscrapers in metro cities would not have been possible without them. While capitalism furthers the growth and prosperity of human race, tall buildings with beautiful designs and glory show the grandeur. The rebuilding of ‘Twin Towers’ collapsed in 9/11 incident and other towers and structures shows the real dint of human talent and excellence, creativity and vision.

Considered as one the chic professions and looked as a profession for elite class students, architecture has changed tremendously in the last couple of decades where demographic set up of students has gone through tremendous changes; and, students from varied social background, disciplines, and streams have come to join Architecture colleges. Career in Architecture is attractive, high paying, and has lots of potential in terms of growth. Besides the required criteria, some essential skills are also required for a career in architecture.

Step-by-Step

As architects study planning and designing of building and structures, a mental inclination and orientation is necessary to move forward in the career of Architecture. Most of the Architecture colleges in India offer education in Architecture at undergraduate level and students with Mathematics at +2 level are preferred. Preparation for an All India Entrance Exam can be started soon after 10th Class. After completing graduation or during the time of graduation in Architecture, candidates can do an internship program either with some practicing architects or with an architecture firm to gain practical experience and better up job prospects.

Start Early

A person requires sound communication skills and immense physical stamina to get into the profession of architecture. He is expected to work on desk as well on the construction site. Excellent memory and sound concentration level, flexibility, patience, team spirit, responsibility and accountability, etc. are some common personality traits which are essential for professional success in architecture and design. But it is right credentials in academics which matters most in architecture wherein candidates with Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry at the 10+2 level only can apply for admission to study architecture at the graduate level.

Various colleges offer undergraduate course in B.Arch. which lasts for 5 years. The selection is done through an entrance exam conducted by the Council of Architecture throughout India. On the other hand engineering colleges select students on the basis of the result to the appropriate engineering courses. Similarly, some private colleges offering courses in architecture have their own criteria which are based on +2 marks of students. Students interested to further their knowledge in architecture can pursue post-graduation in architecture for two years.

Is it the Right Career for Me?

Architects design structures and give physical face-lift as well as provide functional utility, safety and economy. The job of an architect is not limited to designing corporate offices, rather they design houses, apartments and colonies, industrial complexes, hospitals, hotels, airport terminals, stadium, shopping and commercial complexes, schools etc. Architects focus on how to make living easy and comfortable for people ranging from lower-middle class to upper-class and offer them housing and shelter with luxury and style.
Moreover, increased demand for luxury accommodation from certain section of people drives architects to work on building such designs which fulfill the specific requirements.

The last century saw tremendous growth in scope of architectural designs. Though architects have been in existence since time immemorial, new concepts and designs as well as implementation of technological inputs increased in last century only. Architects provide professional services to new constructions, alterations and renovations, etc. of the existing buildings.

What would it Cost Me

Various private and government colleges and universities in India offer BArch course which lasts for 4 years. The fee of the course depends a lot upon the reputation of the institute or aid from the government. Similarly, the fee structure varies for degree and diploma courses. The government aided institutes or colleges charge nominal fee from students, which can be any amount in the range of 1,60000-2,30000, while in private institute, students are asked a hefty fee between 2,00000-3,50000. The fee does not include expenses incurred in the form of hostel charges, library fees, etc. Candidates who could not make out to degree level education in Architecture colleges may opt for a diploma course where in they may be asked to pay any fee in the range of  1, 30000- 200000.

Funding/Scholarship

Aga Khan Foundation offers a limited number of scholarships for students of Architecture who are willing to pursue higher education. The scholarship is given to the outstanding students from India who have no other means of financing their studies. According to the guidelines issued by the trust, the scholarships are awarded on a 50% grant:50% loan basis. Applications are invited once a year in June or July and students with excellent academic records, genuine financial need, admission to a reputable institution of higher learning, etc. only are eligible for the scholarship.

60 National Overseas Scholarships are offered to students belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, De-notified Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, etc. US$6,600 per year is the amount which is paid to qualified candidates doing the Master's. However, PhD candidates can get US $7,700 per year. There are other scholarships which are being offered to unprivileged meritorious students in various government aided institutes. Besides toppers, candidates who top in entrance exams conducted by the private institutes receive attractive discounts in fees. Education loans are available to students from nationalized banks and private banks at attractively low interest rates.

Job Prospects

Architects can work with construction companies wherein they are asked to serve as a designer. Initially an architect is expected to understand specific requirements of clients and strike a right balance between aesthetics and practicality. Additionally, an architect with skills can help clients by his ideas in terms of balancing the requirements of appearance, financial budget and time frame. Some architects even work independently and earn their livelihood through consultancy fees which entirely depends upon the skills and profile as well as work experience.

Most of the jobs in architecture come up in government organizations such as Public Works Department, the Archaeological Department, Ministry of Defense, National Building Organization, Town and Country Planning Organization, National Institute of Urban Affairs, Departments of Railways, Post and Telegraphs, Public Sector Undertakings, Housing and Urban Development Corporation, National Building Construction Corporation Ltd., etc. While some other organizations or bodies like State Departments, Housing Boards, Local Bodies for construction works, Builders, Architecture Firms, Consultants, etc. also hire architects.

Architects working independently have ample scope in terms of earning. However, the inherent hazard with independent practice is that the professional undergoes lots of work as he alone has to plan details of sizes, specification and estimates of the cost of the structure, etc. Moreover, he require good models and graphics as there would not be any other person to assist him which is the case when he works with some construction company. Specialization works well for better prospects in architecture as it is a matter of requirement.

Pay Packet

Starting salary for an Architect can be in the range of INR 20,000 to 30,000. The growth is registered after 2+ years. Candidates with work experience of more than 5 years can get salary in the range of INR 50,000 to 60,000. Moreover, when mammoth investment from government and private real estate developers is coming up, a huge crunch of trained architects is being felt. The starting salary can be even higher than average Indian salary if the candidate is from premier architecture college. According to some sources, projection of architects stands over 10,000. The demand is expected to increase in next couple of decades as India is going to expand FDI in real estate and it will attract huge money from foreign companies.

Demand and Supply

Despite the fact that India has more than 200 colleges which impart education in Architecture, there is acute shortage of trained architects who can fulfill the current requirement. Moreover, the mismatch of supply and demand is expected to widen up as urbanization, industrialization and the increased need for accommodation of all types is coming up in big way. Private construction companies require trained architects who can carry out various construction projects and for that these companies are willing to pay hefty salaries.

Market Watch

According to current demand for architects, India needs more than 10,000 trained professionals in various government and private organizations. Whereas qualified architects coming from top notch architecture colleges are placed in various real estate developing companies, the government jobs are filled by various examinations conducted each year at the national level. Professionally trained and qualified architects have plenty of options working with consultancy companies, architect firms, universities, etc. International market particularly the USA, Dubai, Australia offer attractive career for architecture professionals. Post-recession demand is expected to increase in the USA architect firms/real estate developing companies.

International Focus

Ample working opportunities are available for architects who have specialization in one segment or the other. Numerous internationally acclaimed construction and real estate development companies provide employment opportunities to candidates who are willing to explore career outside India. Companies like Atelier Bow-Wow, Leo A Daly, Zaha Hadid, Erick van Egeraat, Duda/Paine Architects, PageSoutherlandPage, Gresham, Smith and Partners, Rafael Vinoly Architects, etc. have international operations and invite applications from experienced architects from around the world.

Major attraction working with such architecture companies is that candidates receive attractive salary packages and other perquisites. Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai and many other cities have gone through tremendous changes in terms of raising high rising buildings and the architects have played crucial role in it. A great demand is coming up for architects specialised in urban designing, regional planning, etc.

Besides the architects who have done some specialization course in building engineering and management, architectural conservation, industrial design, landscape architecture, naval architecture, architecture concerning traffic and transport planning etc. too have bright career prospects in the USA and other western developing countries which are looking for sustainable development and settlement. Most of the overseas jobs in architecture come from private sector real estate developers who are looking to carve a niche with the help of design and planning.

Positives/Negatives

Career in Architecture has its own pros and cons. Whereas negatives such as insecurity, job pressure, odd hours of working, too much expectations, etc. haunt an architect, positives such as higher salaries, growth prospect, individual identity, international exposure, etc. are enticing elements to choose a career in architecture and design. Ambitious architects have higher job prospects in architecture companies, provided they are willing to change their location and do not have preferences in terms of work location as real estate companies have become global and have global operations.

Different Roles - Different Names

• Architect: Literally an architect is someone who has got training from an architecture institute on the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. Generally, architects are licensed to practice architecture. An architect either can work independently or for some architecture company or real estate developing firm.

• Architecture Designer: Architecture designers are the professionals who are involved in designing houses and other small buildings. However, these are not registered like an architect but perform various jobs such as designing buildings, designing light-frame buildings including of family homes, agricultural buildings, etc. Some additional duties for architecture designers may include designing of decorative facades malls or big to small sized buildings.

• Architecture Engineer: These professionals have dual qualification of architect and a civil engineer. Bestowed with the duty to provide the services of an architect and engineer, such professionals have attractive demand in job market.

• Interior Designer: Contrary to general belief that the career in interior designing belongs to women, men found it attractive and do courses in interior designing, interior decor, etc. Trained professionals can work with interior designing firms offering services in serene interiors, home interior, bedroom interior, bathroom interior, kitchen, furniture designing, etc.

Tips for Getting Hired

The top most priority for an architect should be to get an on-the-job training. An on-the-job training provides much needed exposure to candidates to get practical hand in architecture and job in an architecture company. Additionally, asking for association with practicing architects works well to get a breakthrough in career for the reason that candidate gets practical experience by doing day to day activities with an architect.  Internship programs with architects, structural engineers, or building designers help in enriching the profile which ultimately benefits candidate to get a job. Similarly, candidates should start building a portfolio with working drawings for design projects; the same can be shown during interview to mark credibility. A certification can be of added advantage to get a job in an architecture company.

Institutes

A number of colleges and institutes imparting education in architecture have come up in last six decades and some of them have global reputation. Some of the leading colleges of architecture are as follows:

School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi
 Punjab University, Chandigarh College of Architecture
 School of Architecture CEPT, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad
 Lucknow University, Govt. College of Architecture, Lucknow
 Goa University, College of Architecture
 University of Mumbai, Sir J J College of Architecture
 Indian Education Society's College of Architecture, Mumbai
 Pune University, Marathwada Mitra Mandal College of Architecture, Pune
 Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, School of Planning & Architecture, Hyderabad
 Kerala University, College of Engineering, Thiruvananthpuram
 Anna University, School of Architecture & Planning, Chennai

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