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  • Writer's pictureViktor Kuzev

How to get a better salary as an architect?

This is a follow-up to the last post. You can also watch the video here, but bear in mind I’m still kinda awkward in front of the camera. I’ll try to do better next time.

I’ll try to keep it clean and concise here in the post, since the video is once again a bit longer then it could be.

To play this video, view this post from your live site.

I’m talking about getting a better salary as an architect. So I’m excluding from this topic things like starting your own business - because that’s another topic on its own and it’s a vast one.

I also briefly mentioned that architects around the world are paid differently but more or less the ratio of the average architect salary to the average salary seems to be pretty similar to me (what do you think about it?)

That’s why I’m not talking about things like “move to the country of X to get a better salary”.

Which by the way people do that all the time.

Something I didn’t mention in the video, but I think I should have is that usually architects working for construction companies and contractors make more than architects working for design architecture studios. So if the payment is your priority you should consider finding a job in such a company.

The factors I talk about in the video are:

Experience. It is probably the most important thing in most places. And something that makes you look more trustworthy and makes people assume you’ve got the experience necessary is your age or how old you look.

Looks matter - in terms of looking like a serious person who knows what they’re doing. You can actually increase your perceived age and experience by dressing in a certain more formal way, by the way, you talk and act. Still, if your ID says you’re 25, your colleagues who are 35 are going to make more most likely.

This differs a lot around the world. There are some places where being a middle-aged white dude automatically gets you more than being a young girl of colour. However, there are also places where companies are forced to hire a certain amount of men, a certain amount of women, a certain amount of people of different races. So if they already filled their quota for white men they will need to pick someone who’s not white and a man. Skills are not the top priority there.

Tell me what’s your experience with that.

Speaking of skills. Skills are still important and since they are the one thing fully in your control they’re actually the most important. That’s the thing you can change.

Tech skills - working for a company they most probably hired you for your technical skills. You should be able to work with common software well. Currently, all the Revit technicians and BIM specialists tend to be paid better than design architects. So you can focus on these skills - Revit and BIM.

Revit is a specific tool that in my observation many architects if left without an expert’s supervision don’t use the way it is intended to be used.

The reason is many people with no prior experience are just thrown in projects without proper training, so they have to catch up in the projects.

If you browse through job offers you will also see Dynamo and Navisworks amongst the most common requirements.

If you have a natural inclination towards coding you might want to keep up with it. There are some niches in the architectural world like computational design where you would benefit a lot from coding skills.

That said if you like coding more than architecture you might get a better salary as a programmer.

Soft skills. Just as important as tech skills are your soft skills or social skills.

You should know how to behave at work. How to handle people. How to work in a team. How to be likeable. If you’re a lot off with your social skills that’s going to show even during your interview so depending on the position you’re applying for that might be crucial.

Basically, architects in companies never work alone. You should know how to ask politely about something. As I mention in the video - I’ve seen people putting off tasks that involve people they don’t like. I mean it’s totally fine if you don’t like somebody - nobody will make you marry them right. Just don’t take it personally.

My philosophy is simple: when I’m at work I work. When I step outside the office I don’t even think about work or whatever someone said or did. Work is work, life is life. Every work would have people you don’t like and boring things to do. Just be professional about it, keep your cool, breathe deeply and let go of it. Don’t get angry or nervous because of things that happened at work. They’re not important. Think of it as a computer game. You go and play the role of the guy who plants bombs and shoots others, but then you stop the game and it’s you again. You forget what happened in the game.

If you decide you want to step up your Dynamo game quickly consider checking out my from Zero to Hero course. You can find its program here:

If you’re not sure if it is worthy for your goals apply for a free consultation with me and I’ll do my best to advise you as best as I can. You can apply below, but bear in mind I’m quite busy and I might not be able to reply immediately. The application includes some questions that would help me have some info prior to the consultation which will make it more relevant to you.

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