Name: Faten Almosawi
Hometown: Saar, Bahrain
What year did you graduate? 2020
Where are you working? Job Title?
Design coordinator at Contin Architecture and Design
How did you get your job?
The firm principal, Juan Contin, is also a professor here at FIU. I had taken his Design 6 course during my first year at FIU. He called me a few months after I graduated and told me he had a job opening in his firm. He explained that he had asked another professor [Jason Chandler, chair of the architecture department] if he had anyone in mind that would be interested and my other professor referred me to him, which I was so grateful for.
What was your greatest fear going into your first job and how did you face it or overcome it?
My greatest fear was not knowing information about building codes or construction drawings, therefore forcing me to ask those above me for help. I overcame this by realizing it is perfectly normal to ask for help in the training phase of any job. It is better to ask than to assume wrong.
What surprised you the most about your first job?
The responsibilities that an architect has in a project were more than I thought they would be. We make many decisions both technical and design-related that I didn't think would be our decisions.
What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process?
Try to use the connections you have around you in the architecture community, many jobs people land are through referrals, whether through professors or even other classmates.
What does a day on the job look like?
Since it is a small local firm, I have a range of responsibilities, which makes every day different. Most days, I will usually be at work by 9 a.m. and go to my desk and work on a project I have been assigned or the one that is most urgent. On other days, I could be preparing for a meeting with a client or going on a site visit. It really depends.
How does your job connect back to your coursework?
Depending on the phase of the project, I would be relating to different aspects of my coursework. When in the design phase, I use the knowledge I have from design classes, but when in the construction phase, I use the knowledge I gained from classes like Integrated Building Systems and Comprehensive Design.
How has the pandemic affected your job?
We actually have had more clients during this time surprisingly, which we are very grateful for! We've been lucky with developers who are trying to make use of the time where everything is slower on certain projects or clients that want house renovations.
How has your day-to-day work life changed due to the pandemic?
Since it is a local firm with few employees, we stayed working in person. However, communicating with others like the city building department, which have closed their offices since the pandemic started, has made processes way slower.
How has your transition from school to work? How do you balance your time?
It took some time getting used to working a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job rather than choosing my own time when I would prefer to work on design or homework the way I could while in school.
What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far?
The coolest thing about my job is working on interesting real projects that I will witness come to fruition in the near future!