Case study

Architectural assistant — Pradumn Pamidighantam

Pradumn discovered that to succeed in architecture, you need patience, perseverance and passion, qualities he acquired as he studied...

How did you get your job?

After I graduated with a BArch (Part 1) from Nottingham Trent University, I undertook an MArch (Part 2) qualification from Liverpool University in 2013. I currently work as a Part 2 architectural assistant at BLOK Architecture. I was quite structured about my job search. Having put together a good CV along with a portfolio that showcased my skills and experience, I searched websites, magazines and followed up tip-offs from people I knew in the industry. I also maintained a spreadsheet to monitor my applications. I found out about my current job when my lecturer informed me that there was a vacancy in a practice in Liverpool. Once I got to the interview stage, I read about the practice as much as possible, in order to prepare. Jobs in this industry are very hard to secure as you have a lot of competition. It pays to build your contacts with peers, academics in university and professionals in the industry. Just say hello, it never hurts.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

An architecture degree is an essential requirement to enter the profession; it is a professional course which trains you for a specific purpose. It is however a well thought of degree in general and can help you to move into many other industries.

What are your main work activities?

My daily activities are varied and include: liaising with clients, consultants and suppliers (via email, in person and on the phone); producing drawings for feasibility, tender or construction; writing reports; commenting and advising on consultants' work; managing project information; and learning new skills to help me in my job.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I have gradually built up my skills and experience to the point where I have now been given the responsibility to assist the principal director with managing projects on a day-to-day basis, reporting back to him with progress. My career ambition is to become a chartered architect and continue to progress to the role of project architect and finally a director - either within a company or with my own company.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I thrive on a challenge and this job is challenging. It may sound like a cliché, but every day is different. I may start the day with a phone call with a consultant, then move onto designing a part of a building and ending it with writing a report and having a meeting with my director.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

One of the most challenging parts of the job is when something unexpected happens. You have a new deadline and usually it's less time than you need - so you have to think quickly about how to solve the problem.

Any advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Patience, perseverance and passion! I believe you need all of these qualities for this job. I didn't necessarily have these elements when I started my education, but through university and working in practice, I have developed these qualities. It is a very hard path to undertake, but I believe it is a rewarding one, especially when you spend months or even years drawing up a design and finally see the finished product.

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