By: Sanaz Alimardani

Architecture school back in Iran gave me design, analytical thinking, and problem solving skills that I needed in my career. Courses such as history, philosophy, several design studios, etc. were all essential to give me the foundation that I needed. When I got close to graduation, it was really important to make a decision and see what I wanted to learn and who I wanted to work for. Since I loved to design, sketch, and make models, I decided to work for a design-based architecture firm.

I collaborated on several projects mostly at preliminary and schematic design stages. While it was a great experience to be creative in a team based environment and have fun designing different projects at a very early stage, after a few years, I was concerned that I may be missing other aspects of the architectural profession such as construction document, construction administration, etc.

Moving to the US in 2008, I knew I wanted to get my license. After evaluation of my MARCH degree by Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA), I was told that I needed to complete a few general courses plus an English composition course. Therefore, I applied for a graduate program at UIUC and got admitted in 2011. After graduation in 2013, I faced the same question: who would I want to work for and what would I like to learn? This time, I chose to work for a company focused on all aspects of architecture, from preliminary design to construction administration.

Working at StudioGC, I mostly work on construction documentation and administration of a project which compliments my previous experience. I get to see the final construction and I’ve learned a lot about construction in the past 3 years, I could not have learned if I had stayed in a design-based firm.

Architecture is a broad profession; although architecture schools give you a foundation to start your career, when it comes to finding your job or changing it, you still have a big and important question to answer: Who do you want to work for and what do you want to learn?