Architecture and Engineering

Find careers in the architecture and engineering fields.

Architecture and Engineering

City (Urban) Planner

City (urban) planners figure out the best way to use the land in cities and neighborhoods; they find and build the best location for houses, stores, and parks.

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers design things like roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, or water supply and sewage systems.


Drafters make drawings and plans; some plans show how to make objects like toys, toasters, and machinery or larger things like houses and office buildings.

Electrical Engineer

Electrical Engineers design new and better electronics; they also test equipment and solve problems.


Electricians bring us electricity. They put in the wires that carry electricity through houses, offices, and factories; they also fix electric machines.

Landscape Architect

Landscape architects design outdoor spaces including parks, recreational facilities, private homes, and other areas.


Surveyors do different types of work - some measure land, air space, and water areas - some describe where a certain area of land is.

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Video: Aerospace Engineer

Meet Acey, an engineer for NASA. He talks about his job and building the James Webb Space Telescope.

What we do here is, we build the explorers [satellites, spacecraft and probes] that go onboard the spaceships. So anything that goes up and kind of orbits the earth or goes out to space and visits other planets, we’ll build here, but other folks will build our spaceships for us.

What is the James Webb Space Telescope?

The James Webb Space Telescope itself is meant to follow up the Hubble Telescope, so there are a lot of differences and similarities.

So the Hubble [Telescope] orbited [moved around] the earth; whereas James Webb [Space Telescope] to do its work, it has to go literally almost a million miles away from the earth. And it needs to do that to look in what’s called the Infrared Spectrum and it needs to operate at a very cold temperature, we’re talking like -400 degrees F [Fahrenheit] in order to do what it needs to do.

So this is a scale model [smaller version] of what the eventual James Webb Telescope will look like. What we have here is called a primary mirror and what happens is light comes in, bounces off of here [the primary mirror]; goes into the secondary mirror.  There’s a third mirror [behind the primary mirror] and all of our science instruments are located back here [behind the primary mirror]

What’s interesting here is with this big primary mirror, it’s made out of all different smaller mirrors and it’s about six times larger than the Hubble mirror.

What we have down here [below the primary mirror] is called the sun shield. We need to keep all of these instruments cool, and on this side [below the sun shield] warm. So this side, over here, [the top of] the sun shield, it’s almost like you have a million SPF sunscreen protecting all of the instruments up at the top.

What’s behind me is a very, one of the largest clean rooms on the east coast. Everyone who works in there has to have a clean room suit and put on a mask and it’s very important to keep clean because the James Webb Space Telescope is an optical item [relating to or using light]. So we don’t want anything like dust or smudges or anything like that, or oils, to get onto the mirrors.  

What advice do you have for kids?

Try your best in school and always try and participate. I think one key trait here and almost anywhere is the ability to speak and listen. So if you’re able to answer questions or ask questions in class and become comfortable doing those things, that’ll help you out in the long run, no matter what you do. If you want something in engineering, looking up things like mechanical engineering drawing classes, things like that, that help you interpret [understand] drawings, that will be beneficial.

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Video: Architect

As a Regional Chief Architect, Tony works with a team to design energy efficient and eco-friendly government buildings.

Hi, I'm Antonio Alonso. I'm the Regional Chief Architect for the GSA (General Services Administration) National Capital Region.

My role is to review designs and approve design work what we hire architects who work on our buildings. Again, we do large new construction and renovation projects. And my role here as an architect with the government is to manage the design and lead a team of other architects, engineers also, historic preservationists, interior designers all working on these projects, and reviewing them.

Green Roofs

Buildings have a great impact on our environment and one-third of all greenhouse gasses come from buildings.

One of our favorite things we've been doing is using green roof technology on many of our projects. When it rains, what happens here is this area of green absorbs water and doesn't allow it to run into the gutters and down into the street where it gets mixed up with the sewer system. It also keeps the roof cooler than a traditional roof, so it serves as a form of insulation to the building.

Energy Efficient Lighting

So what was used here at One Constitution were two types of lighting that were different. One is called a compact fluorescent lamp. It is a fluorescent lamp that is very energy-efficient and lasts a really long time.

The other is something called a LED light, a light-emitting diode. These types of lights produce very little heat, they're cool to the touch, they last a very long time, and they're very durable. They're also environmentally conscious because they're made without any type of toxic material such as mercury.

How do I become an architect?

Architecture is an art and a science. So mathematics is very important. Geometry, for example, is fundamental to understanding and it's a skill that all architects needs to have. So study your Geometry.

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