I am starting my academic landscape architecture in university. Since I always found a gap between theory I learned from the class and the practical skills needed in jobs, I want to ask, as a practitioner in landscape architecture, what types of skills are important? I suppose it could help me to select the way I would like to focus on in the following studying.
great description of each LA tier!
I like your dad's saying "if you can’t get it done in work hours, you don’t belong here" it's a matter of managing your time effectively and knowing when to delegate work, of course there are exceptions to every rule.
In an entry-level position, I'd say the critical skills are probably the ability to balance creativity with practicality (have great ideas, but also understand what is buildable and what is specifically wanted/needed/required by the client and the context of the project), as well as efficiency (it's all well and good to be fluent in CAD and Sketchup and what have you, but if you can't crank out a landscape plan and a couple details in a reasonable amount of time, you're not doing your employers any favors. I think both of these issues get glossed over in school. But realistically, you need to be able to transition your ideas from fantasy to reality, and do it very quickly.
I agree with all above.
You'll be doing a lot of sections, plans, and putting together presentation packages for all phases of design. So you need to be able to follow direction well, and have the courage to jump right in and start making whatever they want you to do. That involves having the right technical skills (digital or hand depending on the office standard) and enough practice to know what works well and what doesn't. Research the office you like, see what they do, and try to produce equal or better quality... if you think you're work can belong on their website then you'll be a good fit for that office. So while you're in school make yourself very busy and keep practicing your skills till it becomes effortless. But don't forget to live a little ;)
Some of my best firms have a great salesmanship as well as design skills. Those who can successfully sell the benefits of their design and hone into their signature design from small to huge are quite successful in my own opinion. When it comes to plants and upgrading from a commodity to a new item, the palette with the larger client remains the same, unless you are able to confidently and quickly sell the plant you want to change within in the palette. The would take a speech class, if you can outside of landscape architecture to help you hone your skills in communication.
You have to be able to understand how Plans specifications and estimates work together to get what you want, or what the designer wants, and that includes a LOT of practical experience in construction, as well as the ability to follow a list of 500 points in something like a road profile, or a curve alignment, accurately, and I mean precisely accurately. Excel skills and reading comprehension skills are extremely important when it comes to plans specs and estimates. Patence, the ability to sit for ten-twelve hour stretches with no back pain or hand pain, and a co-operative spirit with keeping your eye on the goal are the only things that will get you through a complex design.