Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Emerging Professionals

A Diverse Group Defined by Common Needs
From newly minted to seasoned practitioner, emerging professionals are the future.

by Kevin Fitzgerald, AIA

Director of the AIA Center for Emerging Professionals (CEP)

The definition of architecture’s emerging professionals (EPs) is wide and diverse, given to many classifications and perhaps a few misunderstandings. But possibly the most unasked question about this group is simply: what, exactly, are they emerging from? College? Internships? Are they emerging from established practices to hang their shingle? Are they emerging from the economic morass of the Great Recession? Or are they simply coming into their own as designers?
Answer: All of the above, and more.

Who they are

The AIA defines emerging professionals as architecture students, intern architects, and architects licensed for less than ten years. If you had to put them in an average age range, it’s roughly 18-38 years. But this broad age range may be too simplistic. Emerging professionals can also be second-career architects whose ages range into their forties and fifties. For simplicity’s sake, EPs are the group of architects in the first decades of the architectural profession, climbing its steep learning curve and establishing themselves as architects or allied design professionals.

As EPs move beyond academic education and the Intern Development Program, they enter into the profession as architects, and practice management becomes a greater concern: mastering design and project management, building client relationships, and promoting their abilities in the marketplace.

EPs are struggling with the state of the economy, but their problem solving skills and self-motivation has kept them working on independent design projects, competitions, and other professional development programs. They are apprehensive about job prospects, and challenged by less opportunity for crucial work experiences. Remember the first time you detailed a wall section for a project in construction documents or wrote your first proposal? Rest assured, EPs that work with (or for) you have the same thirst to learn.

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