There are many roads to becoming an architect. However, Iasa has determined through countless interviews, surveys and case studies that there is a distinct career path which leads to success as an individual and for organizations who employ architects.
Architecture is a unique profession in many ways. It is one of the world’s only global professions. A client is almost as likely to work with an architect from an international location as they are a local architect, though in those cases a local architect will likely be employed as the liaison and lead. That distinction puts architecture in a very unique position as regional variances, culture, industry verticals, education and career history (experience and learning) are all factors in a successful architect engagement with a client. Thus the architect career path must withstand pressures that traditional medical, legal, building architecture, accounting and the like are not forced to endure.
For many reasons, the individual, corporate and industry perspectives need to be considered separately yet shepherded by a single body:
- An individual grows through learning and experience and may reach levels of their career across many organizations.
- An individuals growth can be marked in ‘milestones’ of accomplishment.
- Most individual architects claim similar milestones in their career.
- Industry can impose a set of career certifications which distinguish individuals capabilities which need to be adopted by organizations.
- Organizations need a career path internally which consistently creates individuals who achieve similar results to successful architects.
- Organizations need to be able to hire individuals who are capable of delivering professional architecture value.
- It is exceedingly difficult and expensive for an organizations hiring process to determine who is or isn’t a qualified professional architect. (Note: this is true of all professions and the reason experience based certifications dominate complicated professions).
- Industry needs to provide a common definition of the professional capabilities to assure quality in individuals.
What is in a Career Path
The career path must consider the industry as a whole including employer hiring needs, individuals who want to become architects, already successful architects, existing or potential government regulations, standard education and university programs, regional and cultural variations. In understanding the architect career path, Iasa made use of its chapters and leadership to run global interviews and surveys to understand what experiences successful architects went through to achieve their current levels. In addition, Iasa considered junior architect aspirations, market job descriptions and other sources for understanding the needed career path.
Why Architects Need Certification
Iasa determined that a true career path, based on professional levels of knowledge and experience differentiated from specific technologies, frameworks and organizations is needed. Iasa did not make this determination easily or lightly. Professional certifications can be very expensive for individuals, organizations, and countries to maintain. If they lead to licensure they become even more onerous. The profession must impact a significant portion of a) health and human safety, b) corporate fiscal interests, c) social or cultural issues or all three to consider offering anything beyond very light weight certifications. Otherwise the profession is adding huge costs where none are necessary.
After countless interviews over 7 years, Iasa made the determination to offer certifications based on the following:
- Human Safety: Technology poses signficant risks to human safety and protection and no other full profession exists which has the influence, impact and strategic control to impact safety in the same way as architects. Technology penetration into medicine, air and ground travel, and personal information security are all deeply impacted by architects decisions.
- Note: Iasa is now seeking case studies into architects impacts in human safety. Please contact us to submit a case study.
- Corporate Fiscal Interests: This has been the most obvious impact of Iasa architects. The Iasa architects is involved in value identification through creation to value acquisition through innovation, risk mitigation and best implementation decisions and designs. Many firms hire architects specifically for idenitifying new business technology opportunities or for cost cutting in technology.
- Note: Iasa is now seeking case studies into architects impacts in corporate financial benefits. Please contact us to submit a case study.
- Social or Cultural Issues: The impact of architecture on investment decisions which result in cultural or social impacts is obvious in governmental activities, in non-profit work and in mass media. Consider the impact of Twitter on the Middle East and the impact of technology in those areas is clear. The impact of social media, mass communications, and global retail all highlight this impact.
- Note: Iasa is now seeking case studies into architects impacts in cultural. Please contact us to submit a case study.
Thus Iasa determined that a globally applicable certification is needed to impact the success of each of these areas.