College of Architecture + The Arts

Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts

Modesto A. Maidique Campus
Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture Building
11200 SW 8th Street Miami, Florida 33199

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My First Job as an Architectural Designer at Arcwerks

Name:  Kareem Alashi

Hometown: Gaza Strip, Palestine

Degree/Major: Architecture

Where are you working? Job Title? Architectural Designer at Arcwerks Inc.

How did you get your job?

Through the FIU School of Architecture Career Fair that was held earlier this year.

What was your greatest fear going into your first job and how did you face it or overcome it?

There wasn’t fear but excitement to start practicing architecture in real life. I had some difficulties getting used to the office standards as it changes from one office to another, but my co-workers offered a lot of help to get me on track.

What surprised you the most about your first job?

That working in architecture is completely a different experience than being in school. It requires a very good understanding of building code and to use the knowledge, tools, and techniques that we learn in school to better develop the design process.

What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process?

To start as early as you can and take any opportunity presented to you that way, you’ll start gaining experience. At first you might start off in an entry level position but gaining that experience is the best option to advance your career goals.

What does a day on the job look like?

Waking up excited to pick up where I left off the day before, getting my coffee, putting on slow music and start the design battle. Mid-day, it gets a little crazy as we get closer to the end of the day and the deadlines for some projects. My co-workers and I chat a lot as we discuss a lot of ideas and opinions about how things better work in a design. After we approach the best solution, we put all the work together to be submitted and we make sure that we back up everything before leaving. lastly, we make sure that everyone has a task to do for the next day.

How does your job connect back to your coursework?

It’s all connected in a way. The way I see it is that school is a tool that helps you approach the intended approach in any job. For example, you can’t start working as an architect without the background and knowledge that is gained through school. School helps a lot in how successful you become at work, it gives guidelines on how to apply the knowledge gained through the learning journey at any job and it all comes clear when you actually start your first job.

How has your transition from school to work? How do you balance your time?

It is a parallel relationship. I’m still a student (2 semesters away from graduating) and it is amazing how things started to make more sense as I learn and apply this knowledge in real life. I work on the days that I’m off from school and try to get my school assignments done after finishing work. It is not easy to balance my time but it’s doable and worth it in the long run.

What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far?

That I finally started designing and applying all the ideas I have in spaces and that actually gets built! I also discovered how much I love being an architect.

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