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Project data & BIM
About BIM-based management of attributes, schedules, templates, favorites, hotlinks, projects in general, quality assurance, etc.

Can an Architectural graduate become a BIM manager?

Not applicable
I'm looking for career advice from established Architects and perhaps new hires too. I'm a fresh grad, and I've been offered a starting position at a mid-sized firm, but it seems that they want me more for my BIM skills than as a design architect. They heavily implied that I may move towards a BIM management role.
While I'm always willing to learn, this seems quite a bit out of my scope, and more of a building construction/facilities management type job that I have literally no experience with, academically or otherwise. Do you think that on-the-job training might be enough to bridge the gap? What sort of things should I be asking my potential employer?

Any help is appreciated.
Erwin Edel
I notice a trend in function name change along the line of the janitor is now the facility manager and a draftsman is now a bim modeller. A projectlead is suddenly a bim manager, but this is where things get sketchy since the one is not allways the same as the other.

It does sound like they want you to be more on the engineering side of things than the design side. As a fresh graduate you have a lot to learn in the field (in my experience) and I don't think it is unussual to start out as a draftsman to get some more experience with the building technology side of things. There should also be a career path that goes from that to being more focussed on design though.

Different markets will differ though, so just what I've seen locally here.
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten

Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5
You may get some more appropriate advice if we knew your location?

As a one man band I'm not best placed to answer, but what I see in the UK is a push from Government for data management with national layer and data exchange standards. This has created an almost specialist field for those who can do basic drafting and are able to provide a quality assurance (QA) layer to the design team by ensuring for example any wall drawn is appropriately coded and can be exported to CoBIE, IFC etc. If you enjoy basic drawing and data processing then it may suit, however, if your ambitions are geared more towards creative design then time spent in a smaller architectural practice may be more appropriate where the pressures of data processing are less onerous and your artistic abilities may be better appreciated.
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Eduardo Rolon
From USGS Blog. One of my students.
Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
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another Moderator

As an experienced Architect who is now a BIM Manager, I can only recommend patience. Things change rapidly in our business, and you can always make changes down the line. Don't be afraid of getting stuck in a role until death. BIM Management may be a great place to start, as long as there is a quid-pro-quo understanding that:

A) You wish to become a Registered Architect, and they will have to put you on tasks that will provide the required experience, and give you the partial time to accomplish them. This includes detailing, consultant coordination, design, specifications, and construction administration.

B) In exchange, you will utilize your experience working on projects and seeing first-hand the deficiencies of their workflows, in order to better innovate new technical solutions. They need to realize that a BIM Manager with no clear concept of an Architect's process is not very effective.

If you are not gaining the project experience you deserve, you need to be prepared to leave. This is where working for a smaller firm is of some benefit, as they typically need everyone to do everything, whereas larger firms tend to want people to specialize. Pigeon-holing can hurt you in your early career, but it's your responsibility to police your own path. Though this required splitting your time judiciously, I believe it's the only way to be a well-rounded, effective Design Technology Manager.
Chuck Kottka
Orcutt Winslow
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

ArchiCAD 25 (since 4.5)
Macbook Pro 15" Touchbar OSX 10.15 Core i7 2.9GHz/16GB RAM/Radeon Pro560 4GB
Not applicable
As a Project Architect with 15 years experience and 7 with Revit, I have had many friends leave our office to pursue design only to be pigeon holed into a BIM role. Whether it be production, management or simply to help the new company get into BIM. They weren't up front in their desires when being hired.

If you're just graduating, you might be hard pressed to find a job doing just design. They just don't really exist when you're 23, verses when you have a proving ground and some practical experience at, say 35. This doesn't mean you won't design or spend some amount of time as part of a design team. If you have trepidation about being a BIM manager, but have BIM experience, most places know that coming out of school you don't have BIM management experience. They may want your skills and train you up in the way they design, operate, coordinate, etc. You'll learn more in 9 months of on-the-job training than probably 5 years of Architectural school. At least I did.... Rest easy and good luck!
You have to clearly define what you want and not get distracted. In my time, knowing how to 3d model and do renders was the new skill, so obviously you got hired just for that. Personally i gave up a lot of money because i refused to be labeled as a render guy. Having said that, i think the most important part is getting in an office you want, and then is up to you to move up the ranks and avoid stagnation. Forget about 9 to 5, you are young so you need to put up as much hours as you can, but always with the intention of learning.
My belated 2 cents to this topic - in addition to other users advice...

Generally anyone with enough experience and interest BIM can become a BIM Manager.

However, and please do not be offended, I think it is questionable to offer any recent graduate a Manager role of any kind in Architecture.

Unfortunately, I have come across plenty of BIM Managers that although being very enthusiastic about BIM, which simply had no experience with either their primary tools (ARCHICAD, Solibri, SKUP, etc.) nor any basic management principles.

I agree with the advice above, and encourage you to first immerse yourself into your new profession to find out what your interests and strengths really are. Once you have a clear understanding of how the industry in your country actually works, then you will know where you want to go.
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