Razan Altiraifi acknowledges that she took an unusual path to her career in architecture. She remembers being interested in architecture as far back as high school, but it was only one of many different interests. She considered a number of different colleges with different types of programs and ended up choosing one that didn’t have an architecture program at all. Instead, she enrolled at George Mason University originally intending to pursue civil engineering.
During her college years, Razan ended up changing her major a few times and exploring multiple career paths. Finally, she settled on an IT major, which she enjoyed because it gave her the opportunity to study many different things. She also minored in business, which gave her a background in project management. Razan graduated and began working as a government contractor, but she kept architecture in the back of her mind.
After five years as a government contractor and a few years working for a software company, Razan began exploring the idea of returning to architecture school in earnest. Before jumping in with both feet, she enrolled in a Harvard summer program that allowed her to explore a career in design or planning. She came out of the program more determined than ever to pursue a career in architecture.
Razan worked on building up her portfolio and taking some architecture-related classes and then began applying to architecture school. She ultimately opted for Georgia Tech because she felt that they appreciated her IT background.
Razan graduated from architecture school this past May. She explains that she was unsure about how best to carve her professional path, so she accepted an internship at Perkins and Will that led to a permanent full-time position. Razan is now a Design Applications Technician at Perkins and Will. Listen to the episode to hear more about Razan’s journey, how she ended up at the Young Architect Conference, and what she’s excited about working on going forward.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode
- How Razan became interested in architecture
- Why Razan chose to go to a college without an architecture program
- What Razan studied in college
- Razan’s first jobs after graduating from college
- When Razan began to explore the possibility of returning to school for an architecture degree
- How a Harvard summer program helped solidify Razan’s decision to go back to school for architecture
- What Razan liked about Georgia Tech’s architecture program
- What Razan’s job hunting experience after completing architecture school was like
- How Razan got her current job
- How VR can be used in architecture firms
- How Razan found the Young Architect Conference
- Razan’s interest in content creation
- Razan’s advice for aspiring architects
- The book that changed everything for Razan
- Razan’s favorite gadgets
- Razan’s best timesaving trick
- How listeners can connect with Razan
Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode
- The path to your ultimate goal doesn’t have to be a linear path
- Combining two or more passions can allow you to carve out your unique niche
- Networking is about making real connections
Razan Altiraifi’s Advice for Aspiring Architects
“My advice would be to just carve your own path, don’t worry about anyone else, embrace what makes you unique, different, quirky, or weird, whatever it is, that’s the thing that’s going to make you stand out.”
“The importance of networking. Not just networking for networking’s sake, but actually making connections, real connections with people.” Razan Altiraifi on what he knows today that she didn’t know back then
“For me, reading is kind of my escape from work and reality and that sort of thing.” – Razan Altiraifi on the book that changed everything
“The two things I don’t go anywhere without are my Kindle and my headphones.” – Razan Altiraifi on the resource she can’t live without
“My best timesaving trick is to time-block everything out.” – Razan Altiraifi on her best timesaving trick