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How ArchiStar member Ricardo Torres Landed Himself a Great Job (And What You Can Learn From His Story)

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How ArchiStar Academy member Ricardo Torres Landed Himself a Great Job (And What You Can Learn From His Story)

The right skills can land you the job of your dreams. But what do you do when you need to upskill in a limited amount of time? Archistar has the answer.

The architectural sector fosters competition among new graduates. The leading firms want to attract the best and brightest talent. As a result, graduates need to come prepared to demonstrate a wide array of skills.

Knowledge of the general concepts of architecture isn’t enough in the modern industry. Graduates must understand difficult concepts, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM). They also need to understand new technologies, such as virtual reality and 3D printing. Simply put, they need to know where the industry will head, as well as where it stands right now.

Of course, students also need a solid grounding in an array of digital design software packages. “Array” is the important work here. Expertise in one software package may help you, but it also limits you. A wider breadth of knowledge opens up new opportunities.

And therein lies the problem for many graduates and students. There are simply so many digital design software packages that it can feel impossible to choose the right one. And even when you know which software to focus on, you still need to dedicate time to learning it.

That’s where Ricardo Torres found himself. In his hunt for a new job, he discovered that he needed to expand his skillset. Here’s how Archistar helped him to do it.

Ricardo’s Story

Ricardo’s story starts back in 2015. He had his eye on a role at a major architecture firm in the United States and was preparing to apply for a job with them.

But to do that he needed to create an attractive portfolio. This portfolio didn’t just need to highlight his personal values and design thinking. It also had to show off some of the projects that he’d worked on and, by extension, the tools that he’d used during that work.

This left him with two challenges that he needed to overcome:

  1. Improve his rendering skills using Mental Ray and 3DS Max.
  2. Use a software package to create a stunning portfolio that would improve his chances of landing the job.

The First Challenge - Improving His Rendering Skills

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Ricardo needed to improve his rendering skills for two reasons. The first was so that he could add more to his portfolio. But Ricardo also had an active house project for which he needed to create two renders in one month.

He didn’t have any time to lose. Ricardo purchased several 3DS Max books to help him to get to grips with the subject. He also signed up to one of Archistar’s courses.

Ricardo knew he only had the most basic of rendering knowledge at the time, so he worked tirelessly to achieve results.

Happily, the possibility of working in the United States buoyed his spirits and he stuck with the course. He also kept buying books so that he could deepen his understanding of 3DS Max. In particular, he discovered how the software mimics real-world physics and how he could use that to his advantage.

His fast and furious studying, combined with the actual work, meant that his computer ran at peak rendering status for three consecutive days. But this allowed him to learn what he needed to through trial and error.

Ricardo managed to complete one of the two renderings during that first month. However, he’d completed the work to such a high standard that his client was more than happy to give him an extension.

In one month, Ricardo learned how to create professional-grade work.

Now, he had to create a second render. Thankfully, he felt much more comfortable in the skills he’d developed and work progressed smoothly. But an unexpected challenge reared its head.

The Unexpected Challenge

Now this challenge doesn’t directly relate to Ricardo’s experiences with Archistar. However, it does provide some insight into how a graduate can create new opportunities for themselves.

As Ricardo neared the end of the rendering of his second image, he ran into a problem.

He didn’t have enough 3D assets available to round out his design.

Time was running out, so he dived into searching for a supplier that could provide what he needed.

He came across a company called VIZPARK and he ordered some assets from them. After a little bit of back-and-forth with the company CEO, he made an offer.

Ricardo said that he would happily provide work to VIZPARK if they gave him the remaining assets that he needed in return.

Five days later, the CEO responded. He asked if Ricardo would be able to complete a set of material conversions using 3DS Max and the Corona rendering tool. In return, Ricardo would receive the assets he needed so that he could complete his portfolio.

Ricardo said yes, even though he’d never used Corona before. But buoyed by his quick success with 3DS Max, which he’d achieved using Archistar materials, Ricardo got to work.

He managed to complete the renders to a high enough standard that he received the assets in return. There was also an even more impressive result to come from this challenge, which we’ll get to in a moment.

But for now, Ricardo had used his ingenuity and the quick learning techniques he’d developed with Archistar to complete his portfolio.

The Final Challenge – Creating a Stunning Portfolio

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Finally, Ricardo had developed the skills he needed to send over his application.

But there was still one more challenge that he needed to overcome. Having the materials is one thing. But creating a professional-grade portfolio requires a whole other set of skills.

Again, Ricardo relied on Archistar to help him. He decided that Adobe Illustrator was the package that would achieve the desired results. So, he took another course. In a matter of weeks, he’d built a portfolio that he could feel proud of.

The End Result

Ricardo used his newfound skills and his portfolio to lodge applications with a number of US-based architectural firms.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to find one that offered a vacancy. And the vacancy that inspired him to get started had was now filled.

But that’s not where the story ends. Do you remember the mention of more to come out of the VIZPARK story? Ricardo’s skills eventually led to him becoming VIZPARK’s Quality Assurance Manager for a number of years.

Ricardo came away from the experience having learned a number of lessons. He discovered that applying yourself and creating a disciplined routine leads to fast learning outcomes. Moreover, he learned that failing in your initial goal is not always the end of the road. In fact, what you learn along the way may create new opportunities.

So, what can you learn from this story? Here are five tips that may help you to find a great job.

Tip #1 – Set Goals Early

No matter what you intend to do, setting goals as early as possible is one of the keys to success.

In Ricardo’s case, he set himself the goal of building a portfolio that would allow him to apply for a job in the United States. In doing so, he outlined the path that he needed to take to create that application. He needed to learn about 3DS Max and Mental Ray. Plus, he wanted to use Adobe Illustrator to create the portfolio itself.

Within his main goal sat three milestones. This allowed him to focus his studies using the Archistar platform. He knew what he needed to learn, which meant he didn’t waste time on extraneous information.

You need to do the same when preparing to apply for a job in the architectural sector. Don’t assume your existing skills are enough. Figure out what the role requires from you and set goals based on that information.

Tip #2 - Emphasise Your Design Ethos in Your Portfolio

While you’re learning a lot of new things, it’s important to remember that your own creativity still has to shine through. A portfolio filled with technically impressive designs may not impress if it doesn’t highlight your design ethos.

Understand who you are as a designer before sending your portfolio to potential employers. This allows you to accentuate your strengths and inform the employer about where your passions lie.

Technical skills are extremely important. But you can’t allow the creative skills that brought you into the industry to fall by the wayside.

Your portfolio needs to combine your digital design skills with your personal design ethos. That’s how you impress potential employers and show them the true breadth of your skills.

Tip #3 - Redraft Previous Work When You Learn New Skills

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Ricardo used his skills to create new renders that served both his client and his portfolio.

But he didn’t stop there.

Like most architects and designers, he’d built a portfolio of his work through the years. Of course, this portfolio also highlighted the progression of his skills. But that also meant that his earlier pieces were nowhere near the level of his later pieces.

Once Ricardo had learned his new skills, he worked backwards through his portfolio. Whenever he found a piece that he could improve, he got to work.

In the end, he created a much more attractive portfolio.

Developing new skills offers you the opportunity to improve on previous work, as well as create new work. Seize that opportunity to develop a more consistent portfolio.

Tip #4 – Get Creative When Confronted With Unexpected Challenges

You can plan a project or learning experience as well as possible. But you’ll often face unexpected challenges as you progress towards your goal.

That’s what happened to Ricardo when he found that he didn’t have the assets he needed for his work.

He could have given up and created substandard work. But instead, he got creative with the offer that he made to the VIZPARK CEO. In the end, he not only got the assets he needed, but he also ended up landing a job with the company.

Architects are creative people by their very nature. When setbacks or challenges occur, don’t avoid them. Get creative and think about ways that you can apply your skills to solving the problem.

That method of thinking will also serve you well in any role that you secure for yourself.

Tip #5 – Create a Sense of Urgency

This final tip applies most directly to your learning process.

Ricardo dedicated himself to his education because he created a sense of urgency. He knew he had a month to develop his rendering skills and he put everything he had into the work.

That sense of urgency allowed him to create a more defined plan of action. However, it also helped him to avoid procrastinating.

With no defined deadline for his work, Ricardo may have kept putting it back. This would have delayed his learning outcomes to the point where he’d have to relearn basic skills.

You can use the same technique when learning about a new digital design software package. Create a sense of urgency around your learning and you’re far more likely to succeed.

The Final Word

Ricardo’s journey may not have turned out quite how he expected it to. Despite his efforts, he didn’t secure a job in the United States.

But that doesn’t mean that his efforts were in vain. His diligence and dedication allowed him to develop a new set of skills in a short period of time. Moreover, his creativity helped him to secure a job, even if it wasn’t the job he initially intended to get.

There’s a lot that you can learn from his story in regard to being a better student and finding a job.

But first, you need to get your skills up to scratch. That’s where Archistar Academy can help.

Archistar offers an array of courses in everything from digital design software packages through to BIM methodology. You can also use the platform to learn about the latest technologies.

Register for a course today to receive tuition from industry experts and a host of online materials to help with your learning.


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Posted on 20 Jan 2020

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