Consulting: Ideal Alternative Career for Architects

Traditionally, architects follow a typical path: they graduate college and soon after join a design firm, where they encounter a demanding schedule teeming with projects and deadlines. Many architects feel overwhelmed and burn out after only a few years in the workforce, and then find themselves looking for a career change. That’s when consulting comes into play – this industry allows architects to utilize and further their design expertise, but unburdens them from a monotonous daily routine.

An Exciting Career Change

Though some may equate AECO consulting with frequent IT or managerial duties and little hands-on responsibility, the reality is anything but. Architecture and construction consultants are assigned to a company seeking guidance and assistance with a project, and the position requires frequent onsite work and evaluation. Consulting diversifies your experience; while many architecture firms operate in one niche, consulting allows you to explore and work with various kinds of projects you may not be introduced to in a conventional firm.

According to Cara Dorney, an Architectural Technology Consultant at Microdesk, consultants may not be the driving force behind the building designs, but their suggestions and contributions affect the team’s workflows and design process, and ultimately improve the final structure. An AECO consultant’s daily responsibilities can range from performing in-depth analyses to diagnose a client’s design issues, to using AEC technologies to solve workflow inefficiencies, to supporting the sales team with technical presentations and training sessions. AECO consultants are involved in the design stages, problem-solving stages, and everything in-between.

A “Big Picture” Outlook

In a typical firm, architects may spend most of their time tackling the next step in a series of tasks in a struggle to meet deadlines. However, Dorney explains how consulting detaches you from small, specialized steps and allows you to see the project’s big picture as well as understand the ins and outs of various processes and workflows. She says that eventually this ability to see and think “big picture” will accelerate your career.

A Way to Educate Others

A career in consulting can be very fulfilling. Finishing tasks efficiently by utilizing the full potential of the available technology adds a sense of satisfaction to the role. Architectural Technology Consultant Alan Liu explains that a consultant’s main purpose is to help people, which is rewarding in and of itself; teaching clients to master software that can help complete tasks more effectively is an integral part of the job. He also says that consultants have a responsibility to make clients feel comfortable, as most people would feel uneasy discussing their problems with a stranger. Improving your people skills is a surefire way to advance in a consulting career ­­­ꟷ or any other career path.

A typical position at an architectural design firm may consist of repetitive design work and meeting regular deadlines. But a consulting position allows you to assist with significant and exciting – sometimes groundbreaking – projects. No day is the same, as issues vary from client to client; and the diversity in projects and responsibilities will facilitate your expertise and experience. All you need to go down this exciting path is a first step, and our career page is a wonderful place to start.