While pursuing an architectural degree, you garner the knowledge to design and build. But just theoretical education is not enough to become successful in the field of architecture. Practical knowledge is an essential part of any profession, making architectural internships a crucial step towards defining your career and enhancing your skill-set.
How to Choose the Right Architecture Firm for Your Internship
Writer at Oneistox
● 7 mins read
Choosing the right architecture firm can serve as a keystone for your future and set the stage for your architectural practice. It is therefore important to conduct research while looking for firms and organisations for an internship. Factors like the type of projects, career goals, interests and the scale of the firm are what’ll ultimately influence your decision-making process.
If you’re an architecture student looking out for the right internship, this blog is for you. Here are a few pointers to help you make a strategic decision and opt for the right firm or studio for your college internship.
1. Where do your interests lie?
Take time to think about what type of designs you are interested in creating. Internships prove to be investments to your career rather than just an experience. They hone your skill and provide a base to your expertise. In case of confusion between multiple sectors of design, it is advisable to go for different architecture internships and find the kind of work you enjoy and excel in the most.
[Read: 10 Respected Parametric Design Firms in India to Look Out For]
2. What region/geographical location do you want to explore?
It is preferable to look for internships locally instead of going abroad. The experience from a local firm will be more relevant if you wish to settle in your country itself. It will not only create a strong base within the country but also assist you in making connections that go a long way. The topography can be considered too when looking for internships. Architectural firms in specific terrains will focus more on crafting designs in their nearby context. For instance, a firm in coastal areas might design a lot of projects on stilts. Geography becomes an equally important factor in the regions you would like to explore.
3. Select firms of interest and study their portfolios.
Once you shortlist the firms on the basis of design specialisation, do a detailed research of the work they have completed. Firms can have a singular portfolio where they excel in a particular typology of building or it could be a mix of a variety of projects. Look into the firm’s portfolio, and if their work appeals to you and makes you envision yourself being a part of that process, then go for it and select it.
4. How big or small is the firm?
Large firms may seem like a popular choice for kickstarting your career with a bang, but small firms offer more scope to learn and grow as an intern. With fewer employees, smaller firms allot more responsibilities to interns in comparison to large firms where professional employees take up the big roles and leave the small jobs for interns. Client profile is also something to consider. High-profile clients lead to a stable firm with a strong network. On the other hand, smaller firms provide opportunities to work with clients closely and learn how to build industry relations. So choose wisely and keep in mind all aspects of a firm and the work profile.
[Read: Small or Big? How to Choose the Right Architecture Firm for Yourself]
5. Connect with the current/former employees.
It is important to ask around and look for reviews of the selected firm. The work culture, environment, and reputation are a few points that tend to get missed in one’s hurry to land a job. No matter the scale, most of the firms have former employee reviews on Google, Glassdoor or other forums. Your seniors with previous experience in the firm can also guide you on the firm's standing. Nobody wants to land in an uncomfortable environment, especially in their first work experience. So do your research in advance and avoid firms with toxic work culture!
6. What does the remuneration look like?
The idea of unpaid internships should not be entertained by you or future architects. Though most of the firms provide some sort of stipend, a lot of firms choose not to pay at all, or worse, “pay in exposure”. It is necessary to talk about it in the interview stage and stick to your expectations. The stipend should be fair with respect to the living standards of that particular geographic location.The salary is a means to determine the respect and value a firm holds for its employees, no matter their position. Paid internships will also guarantee that you aren’t assigned menial jobs in the company later on.
[Read: How to Negotiate a Higher Salary in Architecture Job Interviews]
Take the right decision by doing thorough research on all these pointers. The goal is your transformation from a student to a professional. Take a stand wherever necessary and establish mutual respect in any firm you decide to be a part of.
In the meantime, keep enhancing your skills with Oneistox’s online courses.
Shriya recently graduated from SCET, Surat with a B.Arch degree. With an architect's eyes, she has a passion and flair for writing and has been working as an architectural content writer. Her zest for research, writing and communication has led her to craft curated articles, interview esteemed architects and give words to built forms all around.
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