Career path discussion – LA + Environ specialist/GIS?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Career path discussion – LA + Environ specialist/GIS?

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    Hi, guys,

    Hi, Everyone,

    I am just asking anyone’s suggestion about my career path as a landscape architect. I am now preparing the L.A.R.E and hopefully to get registered this year. But after that, except for finishing one project after another(hopefully they are the projects you like to do!), get trained on different projects and if fortunately to become a project manager, I have already found that our profession is very dependant on the inputs from other professions, such as civil, architect, structural engineer, transportation engineer….etc. For myself, I do not feel I have the real talent to become a “project manager” , also I feel as an immigrant, I really do not have the advantage to deal with different people. So I am a little concerned about what will happen to me after like 3 years, 5 years, 10 years? I am seeking both progress on my salary as well as my depth and width in my profession.

    One way I am thinking about is that a landscape architect could also as an environmental specialist? I have a solid scientific background (with a master’s degree in Science) and I am very interested in water resources management, like building up hydro models, stream restoration, wastewater management. I am wondering if it will be a possible path to get in touch with some restoration projects as both landscape designer and an environmental specialist. Yesterday, when I was studying LARE, I happen to read one of the study materials done by Barrett L. Kays, who is a soil scientist and a landscape architect, I feel very excited about it. (But he has a Ph.D. degree in soil management, I suppose a Ph.D. probably too much for me.)

    Another path is GIS and data, but it relates to city design and city planning. I am very interested in how data and geodesign could help with decisions on landscape design / urban planning.

    These are my two possible paths, I have been late to enter LA profession, I feel I waste a lot of time at my early 20s and I should have made a better career plan for myself, but later than never, I have the passion ( maybe not enough talent) and I believe as long as keep constantly updating my knowledge and absorbing new information, I will become a better and better designer.

    Also, I feel it always says that Landscape Architecture is an interdisciplinary major, but in reality, it seems that people are still doing their own specialty, and the outsiders can not quite understand and there is not much real application (Maybe I am wrong, maybe there are top firms have involved all these application very well. That would be my goal!)

    Thank you so much for any thoughts, advice and suggestion!!

    Andrew Garulay, RLA


    First – I think a lot of us go through a phase where we don’t see that our careers are moving forward. It is very easy to let yourself think that you don’t have what the employers are looking for. I am someone who is missing a lot of the skills on the check list of what “All Landscape Architects” need to be good at. Once I stopped worrying about that (which was way too long) my confidence built and then things came together. Don’t look for reasons why your career can’t move forward because you will find them and YOU will use them to keep yourself down. Stop that as soon as you can.

    Second – You are turning a corner in the way you are thinking about your career. That will fully come together when you identify where your skill sets fit rather than how are you going to make yourself fit where you don’t.

    Third – this flows where you may fit way more than you think and right away. There is a lot of growth in small environmental mitigation and restoration firms where I live and work. They are small growing companies in a niche industry. It is almost design/build landscaping, but focused just on the environmental portion of the projects. These are more often high end residential projects that are in wetlands protection jurisdiction. These firms are growing and hire people of varying backgrounds and advance from within. My interactions with them makes me feel like all their people are team members and not just people occupying seats. Message me if you want contact info to a couple of these firms.

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