Top Career Tips from New Architects

Jenny Kawecki

Jenny Kawecki

Content Producer, NCARB

Whether your goal this year is to gain more experience, complete the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®), or finally earn that license, our Architect Spotlight seriesis full of inspiration to keep you motivated along the way.

To celebrate two years of featuring recently licensed architects who committed themselves to getting licensed, here are our favorite pieces of advice from each of our architect spotlights.

Devanne Pena“Stay rigid in your goals and flexible in your methods. Change your study methods, document what works, and get it done! Get the experience you need, by any means. If you are fresh out of school, you may not find a job in your dream location.”—Devanne Pena, AIA, NOMA


Nick Thorn“Completing the ARE and the AXP is definitely a daunting task, but don’t make it a bigger mountain than it already is. Don’t forget to believe in yourself. You can do this.”—Nick Thorn


Gabriela-Baierle Atwood“Focus on finding the study schedule and methods that best suit you as a test-taker.”—Gabriela Baierle-Atwood


Joe Cannon Small“We all experience failure, and overcoming the sense of loss and moving toward the next win can be difficult. It’s easy to throw in the towel or take a break, but that break can easily turn into years. The best advice I received from a mentor was, ‘No matter what happens, even if you fail a test, you have to keep on going.’”—Joe Cannon, AIA, NCARB


Katelyn Grooms“Trust and respect yourself. Focus on your path and don’t get bogged down by statistics.”—Katelyn Grooms, AIA, NCARB


Scott Reynolds“Starting an internship in high school was one of the best decisions I ever made. I didn’t really know if I wanted to be an architect, but working in a firm helped clarify things at a young age.”—Scott Reynolds, AIA, NCARB


Mary Melissa Yohn“Being a woman in architecture is empowering—don’t underestimate your strengths, and strive to learn every day.”—Mary Melissa Yohn, AIA, NCARB


Alex Rios“By working with my supervisor to identify ways to gain hours outside of employment, and how to address each experience setting, I was able to complete the IDP quickly.”—Alex Rios, AIA, NCARB, CDT, LEED AP BD+C


Elizabeth Main“If you have a question or need help with a concept, never be afraid to ask around. If you don't have a study group like the ARE Success Team, ask around your office. You'll be surprised at how many professionals are willing to share their wisdom and mentor you in your studies!”—Elizabeth Main, AIA, NCARB


Avik Guha“Getting involved [in your local community] is a great outlet that builds connections, friendships, and can be an absolute blast!”—Avik Guha, AIA


Kara Haggerty“Set goals: short-term, long-term, specific and very general, realistic and far-fetched—there's no harm in being ambitious when planning your career.”—Kara Haggerty Wilson, AIA, NCARB


Ralph Raymond“My strategy was to study not only the questions covered in my study materials, but to analyze why those questions were asked. This way, I was able to better understand the intent of each concept, strategy, or piece of equipment.”—Ralph Raymond, AIA, NOMA, NCARB


Tyler Ashworth“Being mentored and supported on your path to licensure is a two-way road that requires dialogue. You might have to initiate the conversation. You might have to push, beg, or continually ask the leaders of your firm for help or support.”—Tyler Ashworth, AIA, LEED AP BD+C


Sara Rosenthal“Be your own advocate and take control of your career. While it is important to have mentors both in and outside of your job, you must also be mindful of your personal goals.”—Sara Rosenthal, AIA, LEED AP BD+C


Andrew Malanowski“I always concentrated my studying into a few intense weeks instead of drawing it out for a month or two. I took a little time off between each exam to recharge, eventually completing all divisions in 11 months.”—Andrew Malanowski, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C


Shannon Carpenter“It’s in your best interest as a professional to attend events, join committees, and immerse yourself in leadership whenever possible. After all, it is the younger generation that will one day be the voice of architects—and the ones leading firms and altering the built environment.”—Shannon Carpenter Bearden, AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Associate


Matt McKee“Architecture is a challenging field. In school, it seems like we work harder than other majors… We work later than our friends. However, in the face of all of these "downsides,” nothing beats walking into a space that you designed. Those are the days that make the late nights and hard work worth it.”—Matt McKee, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C


Krystal Rodrigues“Create a support network. The path to licensure can seem never-ending, and it helps to have a network of peers who are in various stages of the process. You'd be surprised how many people are going through the same things as you and have the same questions and fears.”—Krystal Rodrigues, AIA, NCARB

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