Hello, I am an architectural intern who is about to take the Architect Registration Exams. I am interested in working for a structural engineer to gain insight into how an engineer works and how to better work with engineers in the future as an Architect. As engineers, have you had employees with architectural backgrounds? What skills should I highlight that would be the most beneficial for an engineering office? Thank you.
by Jena, Arizona
on March 29, 2012
Before I answer your question, I suggest that you consider the impact on your ability to get your architecture license. Now, I work in New York, so you should definitely check the requirements in Arizona, since different states can have very different rules about who can get a license. Typically, you need to work under a licensed architect to earn eligible work experience towards your architect license. Working at an engineering firm most likely will earn you no credit. It's similar to how engineering licensing works: I had to work for professional engineers; if I had worked for an architect that time would not have been eligible for my license.
That being said, though I have no experience with it, it probably isn't unheard of for an architect to do design drafting for an engineer, so I won't discourage it completely, especially in this economy! I just want you to have the entire picture of how it will affect your future career. And I also would not expect to be allowed to do structural design - though again, that may depend on the rules in the state where you live.
Either way, I would definitely highlight any drafting-AutoCAD-MicroStation skills you have. The more software packages you're familiar with, the better. Beyond that, the general advice applies to highlighting writing/speaking/communication skills and any other extra you may have.
I truly hope this helps! Best of luck in your career!