Whether or not to do a Master’s after graduating remains a hot topic of discussion to date. Being the most common route students and architects decide to walk, post their bachelor’s for a better job and life opportunities, we fail to understand the true nature of doing a Master’s Degree. Be it the peer and family pressure of studying abroad or the blind decision of doing it for the sake of it. The pattern of finding an internship, graduating, finding a job is how it works for us architects usually. The dream of starting your practice has often compensated for the years spent working for a firm or a project where your design ideas differ. Here is where most of us struggle, because in practicality, there is a massive gap in the knowledge gained during academic years and the knowledge needed in the practical world. It’s a constant fight between the delusional and the tangible world, often leaving us wanting a Master’s Degree.
Now Architecture is a broad and multi-dimensional field, and young architects have many alternatives lined up for them. Landscaping, urban design, urban politics, restoration, research, lighting, and environmental comfort are few of the most established areas within the discipline. Moreover, it offers career alternatives in Art and Design as Painter, Photographer, UX/UI Designer, Product Designer, Industrial Designer, Set Designer, and many more. With an endless list of possibilities associated with a diverse field such as ours, it is most natural to question ourselves when dedicating two years for specialization.
So ask yourselves these four questions as the basis of a self discussion:
1. WHAT are you interested in doing?
As easy as it may sound, this is the most difficult to answer. This question can often feel daunting, flooding your head with a million answers. To narrow your goal, be calm and tackle each question one by one. Once done, research about this chosen field as a Master’s is a specialization. Two years of dedication is a massive challenge during which you need to understand its need, availability, and prospects for shaping your future.
2. WHY do you need it?
With a tough job market like ours, many of us hope for better job opportunities with two qualified degrees in hand, which works best when you’ve done your Master’s from a well-known university. In reality, alongside technical, on-site knowledge is what every firm is looking for out there. Hence, we often encounter this question during interviews about the total number of experienced years. Working after your bachelor’s, gives you the necessary exposure firms seek. The truth is, Architecture is a field that requires expertise that only comes from experience. So think about Masters only when you have a clear idea of what you want and what you will be gaining out of it. And if not, then maybe working with a firm will give you that clarity in the coming months.
3. WHEN is a good time to start your preparation?
Preparation is pivotal, especially when you are planning to study abroad. Research various universities that offer the course and go through their semester planning, which will help you be proactive about your work for the next two years. Give yourself enough time to plan and prepare for their entrance exams too. Once resolved, being aware of the fee structure is also necessary. As architects, we learn a lot about intelligent design and minimum wastage. The same is applicable when it comes to investing in your education. If unsure, take some time out and counsel your seniors or even your professors. Why burn a hole in your pocket if it’s not worth it?
4. HOW is it going to help me shape my future?
Probably the most dominant question of all. Luckily as Designers, we are accustomed to this questionnaire regarding projects and most things in our lives. Research the prospects your chosen field has in the coming years. Ask yourself: Will there be enough job opportunities? Is there financial growth in this field for me? What is its behavioural pattern in the market? Will there still be a demand for it in the future?
Once you have a crisp and valid answer for each of these questions, there remains little room for hesitation. Holding or not holding a Master’s degree has its unique struggle for every individual. Yes, more clients will be confident in getting their designs to bloom to reality by an M.Arch rather than a B.Arch holder, but I stand to differ in this popular opinion. To gain faith, you need to be confident in your job and have the ability to execute that job flawlessly. Architects hold immense power in shaping cities, nations, and the lives of their people. Our built environments are a direct reflection of us as humankind. Being a part of this noble field, we need to understand its power of impact on our surroundings. After all, with great power comes great responsibility.