12 Insider Tips from Intern Architects

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

In my last post, I wrote a set of tips to become the worlds greatest intern architect. (15 Steps) This was from an employers point of view. So I decided to give my own interns a shot at a similar list. So below is the list they created. Some interesting similarities and some conflicts as well. But it makes for a nice comparison.  This was a good opportunity to make them actually think about how they work and what it means to be an intern architect of awesomeness; and chance to contemplate professional development.  So without further commentary, I present a dozen additional tips from the intern architects at Hawkins Architecture . . . 

1: Attitude is key. Work is what you make of it. The attitude you bring to work directly reflects the type of day you will have.

2: The first few weeks will be overwhelming. Do not stress about learning specific ways a firm standardizes, organizes, names and brands things in the office. After enough practice this will become second nature.

3: Do not hesitate to ask questions. If YouTube and Google searches do not answer your question, do not shy away from asking coworkers for help, chances are they been in your situation and have figured out a solution already. Smart coworkers and interns will pull together to create and act as resources of knowledge and skill for one another.

Work well with other interns

Work well with other interns

4: Use the internet to your advantage. YouTube tutorials and Google searches will become one of your best friends. Before you ask someone for help, try figuring it out the solution to your problem independently.

5: Never sell yourself short and refrain from overselling yourself. Your knowledge and skill-set is valuable and essential to the firm just as theirs is to you. During your interview and/or throughout the course of your employment, do not promise to deliver on a skill-set that in reality you do not possess, the aftermath of doing so will result in unnecessary problems and stress on both you and your employers ends and will make you appear unreliable.

6: Constantly push to broaden software knowledge. Always strive to find ways to make software work to your advantage and to better strengthen your efficiency of completing the task at hand.

Learn software effeciecny

Learn software efficiency

7: Brace yourself. You will feel as if you have learned more in your first year of professional work than over the course of your 4 or 5 year degree.  On the same note, do not be under the impression that your first job out of school will entail designing multi-million dollar residences or facilities.

8: Take notes. Rely on both written and photographic documentation to aid you in the learning process. Take notes and pictures on and of everything you are engaged in and learning about.

Notes, notes and more notes.

Notes, notes and more notes.

9: Be familiar with IDP. This includes categories, rules/regulations, and documenting hours. Do not procrastinate when it comes to recording your hours, you do not want to lose your hard earned time. Use excel sheet provided by NCARB as a resource and guide.

Be knowledgeable about IDP

Be knowledgeable about IDP

10: Use every day surroundings to enhance learning. Take mental notes of your surrounding and environments in which you are engaged in in regards to their spatial relationships. This will become an essential manner in which you learn about scale.

11: Keep up with the profession. Whether or not you are using the latest tools and technologies in your current position, an opportunity to do so may present itself and with that you have the potential to make a lasting impression on a superior. Stay informed and up to date.

12: Become involved with the local AIA chapter. Establishing connections with other local interns, emerging professionals, and architects is of utmost importance and will enable your professional growth. Attend lunch and learns! Also keep up with the state and national levels too. Attend the state/regional conventions if your company will allow it.

Texas Architects Annual Convention

Texas Architects Annual Convention

So there you have 12 additional tips from actual intern architects who have been on the job for less than 4 years. Sometimes they agree with my list, and as expected, they dont always (see internet). But now you have two sides of the intern architect coin.  I would like to think that these two posts would provide the most complete  list of suggestions for life as an intern architect and to becoming the MVI ( Most Valued Intern) at your workplace. 

– Andrew Hawkins

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