Architecture or Computers?

I am a 18 year old senior in high school and I have always been interested in computers. Design, games, programs where you build things, how things work, and why they work. I can never go through the day without wondering why does something work the way it does. I am also intrested in architecture, but I am starting to find that my passion is for computers, I learned to take apart and put a computer back together in the 3rd grade. I wanted to know could you send me more information on how to go about obtaining my goal and if you think I could at all tie computers and architecture into one career? Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Da'Keisha
posted by Da'Keisha on March 28, 2012

Answer by Ms Erin Fitzgerald

Hi Da'Keisha. It's great to hear that you're finding a passion for something, and I'm definitely a cheerleader for women pursuing computers and engineering! The exciting news is that computer-oriented fields are growing more and more interdisciplinary every day. Architects of course are becoming increasingly dependent on specialized software tools as they design and build models (and someone needs to make them!). Though computer science/engineering and architecture rely on different skill sets and serve different purposes, both require a good deal of creativity and thoughtful planning as you use your knowledge of problem constraints, design requirements, and esthetic considerations and apply your knowledge to unsolved problems! The truth of course is that while it's theoretically possible to specialize in both areas, most likely you'll eventually have to choose one direction to really focus on. Studying computers involves thorough study of math, patterns, and the exciting complexities of storing and extracting information to solve new problems at lightening speeds...and with heavy courseloads. My architecture friends at CMU spent long hours into the night drafting and building models in their studios, and math (while important) was more practicality than science. Specializing in one does not mean ignoring the other though -- learning to combine two seemingly different fields opens opportunities (and makes you uniquely qualified for them!) and allows you to see creative solutions that others may not think of. When I was a music major and engineering student, I considered combining the two through acoustic engineering, sound recording, or even concert hall design (it's amazing the types of musical considerations needed in deciding the material and texture of the ceiling design, or the slope of the mezzanine seating!), and eventually found a path that interested me. I would recommend that you brainstorm what types of problems a computer whiz-architect might try to solve and go from there, perhaps talking to your school guidance counselor or faculty in both fields at prospective universities. In the meantime, keep studying math, keep asking questions about how things work, and keep loving what you do! Cheers, and good luck. -Erin