Building designers and architectural practice design teams often specialise in a particular area of design or construction, from houses to hospitals, shopping centres or sustainable communities, or the restoration of religious buildings. Anything that can be built, a building designer can specialise in. However, designers aren't necessarily limited to their area of speciality as many start in one area and move to another, or continually take on a variety of projects. They work primarily in offices but also spend time on building sites, working regular hours, although extra hours may need to be invested in order to meet project deadlines.
Various employment avenues exist for building designers, such as working for design firms, consultancies, government departments, residential developers or self-employment. With experience, building designers may move into senior management positions. Those with their own consulting firms usually have extensive business experience. Demand for building designers is currently strong; however, fluctuations in the economy affect the work available. Industry bodies forecast continued good opportunities for people dedicated to their craft.
If you're interested in becoming a building designer, practice drawing and design and building things. Try replicating houses or buildings and making them more eye-catching. It may be useful to phone a building designer to talk to them about their job. Read books from the library and the many architectural magazines you can find at newsagents. Also surf the Net to learn as much as you can about this exciting and evolving occupation. As far as technical skills are concerned, computer skills are of central importance. Graduates with strong CAD (computer-aided design) skills, both 2D and 3D, will find their employability greatly enhanced. Building designers also need to be able to visualise ideas in three-dimensional form, and have good problem solving, organisational, supervisory and communication skills.