10 Compelling Realizations I've Made While Working In An Architecture Firm

10. Firms come in all shapes and sizes

Previously, all the firms I visited were located in commercial buildings. So when I arrived for my interview at Shelterbelt, with their entrance located in a residential backyard, I was convinced I was trespassing on someone's private property. What I've come to find out, is that not only can a firm be in a house but it can also thrive with only two people. 


9. You have to track everything!

Tracking every detail and task is crucial for the business to know exactly how to bill clients and understand productivity.


8. save! save! save! 

I was sitting at my desk about to save when the screen went black! I had kicked the charge chord free from the outlet. Technical problems happen all the time so obsessively save your work! 


7. Floor plans need some getting used to

At first construction documents can be very overwhelming, just hang in there. Things will start to make sense the more you practice and observe. 


6. Obey the code

There is a standard for designing buildings -- so don't make it up. The International Building Code (IBC) is a slog but regulates all aspects of buildings for health and safety.


5. Be able to wear multiple hats

Everyday I wear the drafting hat, the marketing hat, the errands hat, the research hat, the 'whatever else they come up with' hat, and, of course, my favorite baseball cap. 


4. Collaboration is fun



When everyone's ideas are considered, you reap the rewards of inspiration. We recently created a collage that featured everyone's input; it was a ton of fun!


3. Just go for it

I was really interested in learning more about architecture. When I saw a job posting for an architectural internship I knew this was going to be a great opportunity. I applied, interviewed, and here I am writing a blog about my experience thus far. Jumping into new fields can be intimidating, but don't let that stop you from entering new territory and learning what you want to know. 


2. Be Patient & Persistent

Not only do you have to learn and know certain programs, you also have to learn the firm's standards within those programs -- and different firms will have different standards. It can be challenging to remember and follow every specific standard, however with patience, persistence, and determination you will get by. 


1. Writing is a part of everything

This has been one of the most important and challenging aspects of my internship at ShelterBelt. Communication, in all fields, is key to growth and success – especially design – so get writing!

About the Author...


Derek Dozbaba

I was born and raised in Iowa, moved around with my family to Pennsylvania and have lived in Colorado for the past 7 years. Moving has allowed me to be exposed to so many different aspects of life, and has shaped me into a passionate individual who loves art, design and is always open for a new adventure!