The Architectural Technologies course is a demanding two-year program at SAIT in Calgary, Alta that helps to accelerate its students into the workforce faster than other options.

With a $42,000 median starting salary, and an 88% employment rate, Architectural Technologies is a fast-tracked, full-time program with only two-week breaks for the students enrolled.

“Usually a couple hours a day can be allotted to free time if your time is used wisely,” said Jake Braben, a 25-year-old Calgarian who is currently enrolled in his third semester.

“Free time is definitely hard to come by with this program.”

“Usually a couple hours a day can be allotted to free time if your time is used wisely,” said Jake Braben, a 25-year-old Calgarian who is currently enrolled in his third semester.

Braben said that he usually takes up any of the free time he has by staying active and going to the gym, or socializing with friends.

“I personally spend about just as much time working at school as I do in the classroom.”

“Since the scale of our projects are very large, I find that I am less distracted and concentrate better if I continue working in a school environment.”

Although the program admission requires only a 50 per cent from high school math and sciences, it is a competitive acceptance process, and waitlists are not uncommon.  

“Assignments are usually broken up into two categories: short term and long term.”

“Short term assignments are usually assigned in class and expected to be finished by the end of class.”

“Long term assignments are projects, usually assigned with four to five week due dates. Class time is often awarded but it’s crucial to stay on top of these assignments on your own time.”

Braben said that a keen eye for detail, creativity, and hard work are all very important skills to have in this program.

A few of the specific details that Braben finds himself consistently working on include: drafting, design, building systems, building structures, building code, and estimating.

“There are a few major computer programs that we use when working on these details.

“AutoCAD software drafts our construction drawings, and Sketchup and Revit create 3D models of our projects,” he said.

Braben said that he grounds himself from a demanding program by finding balance inside and outside of school, and by properly managing his time.

“I keep electronic and paper copy agendas to keep track of what I need to get done on a daily basis. This way I know exactly where I can spread any of my free time.”

Jonathon To, 24, is another Calgary born student currently enrolled in the Architectural Technologies program at SAIT, and shares a class of 30 other students with Braben.

“My favourite aspect about this field of study is the creative freedom that comes along with most projects,“ said To.

“It’s very rewarding to design and build something knowing you were the brains behind it.”

When asked what drew them both to this program, Braben and To had very similar stories.

“If I was going to enroll in post-secondary, Architecture was the only thing that interested me,” said Braben.

“I knew that I couldn’t handle, or afford the many years of schooling required in any other Architecture programs, so when I learned about the course offered through SAIT, I immediately applied.”

Braben was finally accepted to SAIT Polytechnic after his third attempt.

“I definitely see myself working in the industry at some point in my future, but I’m not sure what I’ll do yet.

“This program definitely opens up a lot of doors for its students, and there are a lot of different paths you can take.”

“I do hope that by the end of my next semester, I will have a clearer idea about which path I will take.”

To said that Architecture was always his passion, and that SAIT is a stepping-stone to furthering his architecture education.

“I needed to apply to a program that would help accelerate me into the field,” said To.

“In the future, I hope to have my masters in architecture and own a successful business.”

Braben and To will both be graduating in April 2018 among the 250 others enrolled in the program.