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Thread: New planning student with new job concerns

  1. #1

    New planning student with new job concerns

    Hello all, Im new to the board, and generally new to Urban Planning. I am a disillusioned architecture student who is now beginning a new path towards urban planning, in which I've grown to be entusiastic and excited about.
    My biggest concern right now is starting a job (part time) that will allow me to begin accruing experience in planning and also allow for a slight learning curve, as I do not really have many technical skills yet. There are jobs for a part time code inspector, permit technician, and regular office assistant in a Building Department in a city close by. I guess Im not sure if Im reallly ready for the first two jobs, or if doing the office assistant job is just a waste of time. (I'm currently an office assistant on my campus).
    Would the code inspector or permit technician jobs really give me much valuable experience?
    Would it be better for me to wait for more classes ( which im stacked with this upcoming year)?
    Or should I wait until I can find an internship in a planning office?

    Like I said, Im new to this whole thing, and these are just some of the first concerns I have.
    BTW, this board has been key in giving me insight into what the profession is really like and about, thanks

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Welcome to Cyburbia! Personally, I don't think that being a code inspector is going to give you the exposure or experience you'll need (or even want) in planning, but it also depends on the department. I'd wait for an internship in a planning office. Get involved with the local APA chapter and see if you can shadow a planner for a few days to see what it's like.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  3. #3
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella
    Welcome to Cyburbia! Personally, I don't think that being a code inspector is going to give you the exposure or experience you'll need (or even want) in planning, but it also depends on the department. I'd wait for an internship in a planning office. Get involved with the local APA chapter and see if you can shadow a planner for a few days to see what it's like.
    yes, it can be hard to break out of code and get a decent position in planning -

    good luck, keep us "posted" and welcome!

  4. #4
    Thanks guys,
    I just want a job to have, while finishing up my bachelors, that will still help me and not be a waste of my time. Im thinking right now that I'll probably wait for the semester to start and then look for an internship in a planning office.
    Any ideas on whether I would be better off interning for a public or private office? And do you think as a novice to urban planning, I would be able to effectively hold down an internship? I guess Im asking, do they allow for you to learn things as you go?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    Central Texas
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    Yes, get an internship! My first planning job ever was an internship I got through grad school. It was with the planning department of a small but growing town, and I was thrown immediately into Census issues, zoning cases and learned about site plans and plat submittals.

    If you're really lucky, you'll get a chance to work on both current and long range projects as an intern. That'll give you an idea of what you want to focus your studies on. A private firm might not give you as wide a range of exposure - you'll be assigned to certain projects only and may not even see the fun stuff.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Austin, TX
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    Don't do GIS. You might think it's good planning-related experience, but it's not. You'll end up stuck as a GIS monkey for the rest of your life. Make sure that whatever you do is true planning.
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
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    Leap Ahead

    Quote Originally posted by jread
    Don't do GIS. You might think it's good planning-related experience, but it's not. You'll end up stuck as a GIS monkey for the rest of your life. Make sure that whatever you do is true planning.
    You mentioned you're an architecture student. Pal, creativity is already in your blood. Plus you add Planning, that's a real pretty good mix of ideas. Somehow when you profess into planning, you may still consider aesthetics in your site development plans. Just go on. I'ts exciting and you don't get bored.

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