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You won't find Coby Godfrey's work in Architectural Digest, and he's fine with that.
He knows his job as an architectural drafter has a different kind of impact. He designs the spaces where life plays out: home.
The 44-year-old is a residential designer and draftsman with Professional Design Services Inc. He's been drafting for eight years, with the last three at the Columbus, Ohio, company.
Why did you get into this line of work? And did you always want to do this?
I have always had an appreciation for residential design. After years of floating around at various jobs, I finally decided I wanted to have a career. I have been drawn to architecture since I was in high school. I had a desire to be a fully licensed architect but started college in my 30s so the full architecture program wasn’t in the cards.
What does a typical day look like?
Because the company I work for is small (five employees), we all wear multiple hats throughout the course of the day. Some of the possible options can include going out in the field to do a site measure for a remodeling project, drawing contracts for new projects, updating symbols and details for projects, or answering phone calls from clients, engineers or builders to answer project-specific questions. Of course there's also drafting and redlining projects.
What do you like most about your job? And least?
The variety of tasks I can have in any day. Some days are 100% drafting with minimal contact with coworkers or clients.
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
When most people hear custom home or architectural draftsman, they envision designing creative and spectacular projects that land on the pages of Architectural Digest. In reality, most projects are much more basic than that.
What do you wish you knew about the job before you got into it?
I get along very well with my coworkers, but there are literally days that go by that we may not even talk to each other because we are all busy with our own projects.
How did you train for this job?
I have an associate degree in applied science in architecture. In my state there are no set requirements to design residential projects.
What personality traits or qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?
The ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. Strong communication skills help when discussing projects with all the different people who can be involved in a project, even with a custom home. Self-motivation and drive are key if you intend to work as a contractor.
What are some of the risks and rewards of the work you do?
The biggest risk is that the whole industry is tied to your specific local economy. I am lucky to be in a place where housing is currently in high demand. You might not have the same level of job opportunities in your locale.
For me the rewards come from helping people design their dream home. I fully understand that I don’t just design buildings; I design places where people will live their lives and raise their children — and that matters to me.