What does the market look like out there for a young architect? Everyone knows we’re at the tail end of the worst economic spell in the history of the modern architecture profession, and it’s pretty clear now that the explosive growth that drove the mid-naughts (which peaked in 2007) won’t be seen again in the foreseable future; that bubble is permanently burst. 

What’s the best strategy for getting a job? If only it were that simple. There is some hiring going on out there, and what differentiates younger architects from their older counterparts is experience with new technology and digital skills, and a willingness to see problems from a different perspective.

How will the role of architects change in the next decade? This is the biggest question of the day, in my view. The relationship between those who design, those who build, and those who own and operate projects–and the process by which all that stuff happens–is evolving, and the days of strict separation of church and state (design and construction) are ending.

Has my education prepared me for what I might face out there? I guess as an educator I’m supposed to proclaim “of course!” but honestly, I’m not really sure. We work very hard in our school to establish design bona fides in our students, and the foundational skills of design can be made to serve in a broad spectrum of issues that the profession must face.

What are my chances to stay in architecture? The pure math isn’t great (see 6,000 graduates/year), especially for folks who are looking for traditional roles in traditional firms. But maybe that’s the secret. For the last few spring terms (during the downturn) I have suggested to our students that they try to remain “on the grid” of the building industry, which actually employs millions of people–far more than the two hundred thousand architects working in firms here in the U.S. That grid includes firms of various flavors, engineering consultancies, contractors and subs, specialty consultants, even building product manufacturers.

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