Last week, launched its newest resource – Careers in Architecture and Beyond.  Today’s guest essay is further proof of the myriad careers that architectural graduates can pursue.   Today’s guest author holds a professional Bachelor of Architecture and is now entrenched in business; learn his perspective on what “transferrable skills” from architecture can be used to build a new career beyond architecture.


Broken toys, everywhere!  My parents were often confused with me as a child when they would find my brand-new toys disassembled and scattered throughout our house.  For me, taking my toys apart was a method to understand how the pieces worked together; this was just as much fun as playing with the toys, even if it meant sacrificing a few action figures along the way!  I have always had a passion and a curiosity for understanding how different things work together.  It was that same passion that drew me to the profession of architecture. This same curiosity drove me to register for the “Careers in Architecture” course while in school – a decision that ultimately helped me navigate from the discipline of architecture into the world of business.  An education in architecture will develop many transferrable skills that will open new doors for those who are interested.  My education in architecture put me on the path to where I am today: I lead teams and organizations through digital transformation.


Architects create functional spaces that inspire by bringing geometry, color, and space together in beautiful ways that serve an intended purpose. Similarly, in business, leaders create functional teams by bringing together the right people with a clear vision and a defined path forward.  Through my education in architecture, I learned many transferrable skills that continue to serve me daily.





The top three transferrable skills that benefited me are:

  • Creating Strategy: architects must create a vision for each project and work to harmonize and sequence many ideas to achieve the greatest impact. I spent endless hours at the drafting table and behind the computer balancing the “creative” with the “analytical.”


  • Displaying Information, Optimally: A key skill learned in architecture school is to understand how every element added to a page or display plays a part in the information presentation. In school, we would spend hours working on proportions, layouts, and spacing to create a work of art that inspires and conveys the concept.  In business, we do the same – while the medium is different, the concepts are the same.  Visualizing information displays is a key skill learned in architecture.


  • Presenting Ideas and Accepting Critique: Design critiques can be terrifying and nerve-wracking. Through repetition and familiarity, I learned how to pull my thoughts together and share my ideas. Perhaps even more importantly, I also learned that differing perspectives are valuable. If you can find the merit in the critique, you can improve the design.  Let us be honest, sometimes critique can be brutal – separating the message from its method of delivery is key!


These three transferable skills have helped me navigate as my passion and curiosity took me from architectural intern to Vice President of Digital Solutions.  While my “career in architecture” took a different path, my education ensured that I was prepared to have a wonderful experience of continuing to chase my passion and feed my curiosity of learning “how things go together.”


Steve Martinez is the Vice President of Digital Solutions for Univar Solutions. He leads a team of product managers, marketers, merchandisers, and analysts to accelerate adoption and drive revenue through Univar Solutions digital channels.  Steve earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology and his master’s degree in business administration from Kellogg School of Management, both located in Chicago, Illinois.

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