Next Up: Lead Draftsman
Tanner Lester started taking classes at Tyler while still in high school; he leveraged his interests in drawing and design to become a lead draftsman for a housing developer.
While in high school, Tanner Lester set in motion a career in architectural drafting.
He took three classes through Tyler and found a way to leverage his lifelong interest in drawing and design.
“I wanted to find a two-year degree that launched me straight into a career,” Tanner said. “After I earned those architectural drafting skills, I really didn’t need to take more classes for my career path.”
After completing his associate degree, he landed a full-time job as a Revit drafter with a major housing developer. Now he creates residential construction plans for clients and loves putting a personal stamp on their new homes.
"Every house is different. Everything is unique to the person building the house. It’s kind of cool to put my name on it and make that house for them."
Here’s how he did it:
Learn the tools of the trade
At Tyler, Tanner learned the ins and outs of AutoCAD and Revit—two software programs widely used in the architectural industry to create floor plans, 3-D models, and construction documents.
“Employers look for experience in AutoCAD and Revit, depending on the type of job,” Tanner said, “and now I have the capability of using both programs.”
Early in the program, Tanner completed a class project that primed him for his current job: modeling a two-story house from the ground up.
“There were a lot of points throughout that project that I had to dig through the textbook, and it was really cool when I figured something out,” Tanner said. “It was the most important course for figuring out what I do now.”
During his final class at Tyler, his professor brought in building design professionals to grade class projects. He and his classmates had to build a rest stop with offices on the top floor, concepting the interior with their own unique designs.
“I got an A and very positive responses,” Tanner said. “The building design professionals all made the point that we were a step ahead with our skill set, especially at our age. They were impressed.”
Experience the industry firsthand
Tanner put his AutoCAD chops to work in a real-world environment long before he graduated. He landed a three-month internship with HHHunt Homes, working alongside a lead draftsman to review client design requests and modify house plans.
“It was cool just experiencing it all, and it prepared me for the job I’m working in now,” Tanner said. “I came back to class the next semester feeling a lot more confident about knowing the industry and skill set.”