Career in Architecture after BArch: Here's what students should know

With a lack of awareness regarding architecture, students suffer from an endless dilemma of whether to pursue the degree and what practices should be inhabited in order to excel
Career in Architecture? What should you know? | (Pic: EdexLive)
Career in Architecture? What should you know? | (Pic: EdexLive)

Many have lingering questions in their mind about the scope of Bachelor's in Architecture (BArch) degree and several other questions that surround the profession and how it can be enriching in ways that many do not know. How does one navigate through the waters then? Let’s find out.

Should I pursue the degree?
Professor Abhay Purohit, President of the body that conducts the National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA),  Council of Architecture (CoA), shares his wisdom with students who feel lost before pursuing this profession. He says that the programme trains individuals in a different fashion, wherein, individuals work towards acquiring skills that would employ their logic and creativity. “Architecture is the mother of all arts,” deems the professional who has been an architect for over 30 years now. 

Umesh Kumar GL, Founder and Director, DQ Labs, an institute that provides counselling, classes, seminars, workshops and study material for entrance examinations for admission into architecture and design colleges, says that there is a huge lack of awareness among aspirants. “Architecture is not a job, but a profession,” he adds, “Just like lawyers and doctors, architecture is another branch where the need to practice is high.” He further states that students should be aware that, to get results in this profession, would require gaining expertise and skill.

Purohit, who has also been teaching since 1989, talks about the passion that should drive an architecture student, as an area that can employ their vast creativity. He also says, “For 10,000 people we require one architect. If you see our country’s population, we almost require 14 lakh architects in the country, whereas, we only have around for every 1.25 lakh people, and by 2035, India is going to be the biggest architecture service provider to the world.”

What are the hurdles that I can face?
A student from Sri Venkateshwara College of Architecture (SVCA), Hyderabad, R Vignesh Mahadevan, says architecture for freshers can sometimes be confusing as many have no prior idea as to what they will be doing for the next five years and sometimes, it can be less rewarding. The other factor that affects the progress of the students is the lack of proper infrastructure but he says, “This should not deter the students from exploring and gaining experience.”  

Another architecture student, Onkar Pal, from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, (IIT KGP), says, “As an architecture student, I feel one of the major issues is the initial payment gap in the internship period as well as the salary we earn as freshers in a job in India. For an architecture intern, the stipend provided is almost one-fifth of what is provided to those pursuing other fields of interest. This acts as a deterrent and often, we end up telling juniors that they might want to steer clear from this if they don’t have a passion for it.”

He also adds that financial aid from the government can ease their process a bit without them having to think of the extra expenses of affording good quality software and equipment needed for the course.  

Kumar, who has also worked as an automobile designer with Land Rover in the United Kingdom, stresses the importance of awareness.  He says that students must deliberate over this with a professional or an academician who they can reach out via social media or other means. He also says, “There will be long hours of work and less pay and people might dissuade you from pursuing it, but it's better to not let the cloud of doubt hover during such a crucial time.”

What should I do?
The President of CoA lends the advice that students must accrue knowledge regarding technology such as computer-aided designs, UI/UX, virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence — basically about all such things that are going to revolutionise architecture. He says that it can be a rigorous degree but it is important to connect with one’s seniors, start networking and gain practical knowledge.

Kumar adds that a firm will not hire those with no experience. “Many students are of the notion that after five years, they would receive a certificate and then get a job but they should have completed or assisted with at least five projects.”  

He also adds that there must be a balance between focusing on academia and honing practical skills. 

What can I do after Architecture?
As it is already inferred that architecture is more about the utilisation of space and buildings are just a part of it, the opportunity to explore this sector is vast. Prof Purohit is of the opinion that architecture has a lot more to it, he says, “There is product designing, administrative planning, graphic design, interior designing, architects can also become developers.” 

To this, Umesh Kumar adds that there are plenty of avenues available, there are software companies such as Adobe and Canva that hire people to design their software. There are also ample chances to explore virtual spaces such as Meta, photography, film and communication. He also gives examples of personalities such as Ratan Tata, architect-turned-industrialist and Christopher Nolan, who holds a Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University and is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. 

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