I'm an architect student. "Iteration" is a word I hear a lot. Our professors love to see progress, direction, and variation. From what I gather, Clients like to see different forms of the same concept facepalm
Iteration - to me - is to the process by which variants of an underlying concept are developed. In my experience, clients prefer to have a choice between concepts early on rather than iterations of a single concept. It isn't easy to achieve the right balance between overwhelming clients with a variety of concepts and/or too many iterations of the same one. And, many clients directly equate more options with higher fees and so our role is to guide the process sensibly.
Some of my studio professors are driving us to think more creatively. The issue I have is creating abstract and dynamic forms, setting new precedents. It really hurts my process when I'm constantly questioning, 'why am I making it look like this?' And I end up hitting a brick wall, while the other students make strides.
Your process will be unlike your peers, when you find the combination that works for you things will fall into place, but it takes time to figure this out. I used to have a box of discarded cardboard model parts that I would dig into when ideas weren't flowing. I would smash them together looking for opportunities, this always helped move me forward. Experiment...!
Yes, within the curriculum, we have to learn: building codes; structures; and materials. It's not as heavy as say Civil Engineering. There a great deal of other things we need to know. Mostly we're generalist, know a little bit about everything.