Carrie Miller is in a much-coveted position as a recent college graduate. She has found a full time job just a few short months after graduation. Miller recently accepted a position with KA DesignWorks in Basalt, CO, having relocated from her native Florida where she studied architecture at Florida A&M.
What she has in common with many graduates is how much time she put into her job search. According to Miller, she spent a full six months sending applications, resumes and follow up emails and making phone calls. Job searching was a regular part of her routine. The persistence paid off and she received two responses at the same time from two firms using ArchiCAD. Online ads filed with GRAPHISOFT’s job board helped her locate her current position. After a phone interview, Skype face to face chat, and other screen sharing meetings, she was hired.
“I took advantage of all that technology and the software have to offer. In addition to applying, I created a free website where I could showcase my projects, write about myself and what my interests are – I was even able to send my ArchiCAD files to potential employers that expressed interest in me. Being open to that type of virtual “interview” really is important for graduates today – I ended up meeting my new employer for the first time at the AIA National show in Denver – before then we knew each other only on screen.”
Since being hired at KA DesignWorks, Miller has been responsible for using ArchiCAD to create construction documents, 3D modeling and new build residential design. She has also worked on creating fly-throughs using Artlantis in conjunction with ArchiCAD to help the firm communicate their designs to clients. KA DesignWorks specializes in residential architecture, renovations and additions. A good portion of their work is with contractors and architects in the area and out of state that need assistance with the strict permitting office requirements from the city of Aspen.
“I’m very new to the firm and I admit, I’m still learning so much. But I know I made the right choice in accepting a position here. I’m using the latest version of ArchiCAD and getting such good experience that no college education can give you. When you get down to it, becoming adept at county codes, permitting and what architects really do, the experience is more valuable than knowing how to put in doors and windows. ”
Miller was keen to make a mark while she studied and made a key choice at the beginning of her college career that would prove fruitful as she sought a position in the industry – because it set her apart from her fellow students and marked her as a leader.
“While the learning environment at Florida A&M was very hands-on, giving us a basis for learning how to design realistically with hand drawing over the first two years of the program, I felt uncomfortable using the BIM software they offered. Prior to enrollment at Florida A&M, I had started using ArchiCAD on my own and felt completely at ease with it almost from the beginning. So I completed my degree using ArchiCAD.”
In addition to learning architecture under the university’s curriculum, Miller decided to become a student ambassador for ArchiCAD. That role involved taking time out of her busy schedule to represent ArchiCAD to incoming freshmen, assist them on a volunteer basis and improve her own skills at the same time. In so doing, Miller made some valuable contacts, having had to receive some training and occasional support from GRAPHISOFT Southern Regional Sales Manager, Josh Bone.
“ArchiCAD always came out on top.”
During her term at Florida A&M, Miller approached the Dean of the Architecture program to ask that the school install the ArchiCAD educational version in the school’s computer labs. Prior to that, she was unable to work on her projects on campus. Not only has that been done, but the university is also planning to offer a seminar in ArchiCAD each semester. Miller’s ambassador role has been filled by an incoming student since her graduation.
“The university was not specifically endorsing any one software for their curriculum, but that lack of ArchiCAD in the labs was definitely an obstacle. I feel proud of the fact that I had something to do with that change. I had tried Revit prior to having used ArchiCAD and I could never get it to work well on my Mac. I remember spending equal amounts of time in each program – to see which worked best for me – and ArchiCAD always came out on top.”