17. Complaining about IT professionals

Architects take a lot of pride in their profession.  They make sure to dress sharp, engage in banter about the merits of all things design and generally police the use of jargon to make sure it doesn’t get watered down.  Architects bristle at the mention of ‘outsiders’ engaging in design (how much could they possibly know?).  They hem and haw over projects that are awarded merits that are obviously plain and uninspired (must have been a rigged competition). However, nothing gets under the skin of an architect more than IT professionals calling themselves architects in some form.

It seems innocent enough: an IT professional builds systems and digital infrastructure, so they feel a title of “systems architect” or “information architect” is appropriate.

The architect takes much offense to this logic.  It is a rather unanimously held belief that the title of “architect” is far superior to any other title, and thus muddling it with words in other industries dilutes and degrades us as creative individuals.  Yes, it’s that personal.

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If you listen to an architect argue their point for the pact to keep the term ‘architect’ protected, you’ll hear a variety of reasoning, but it all boils down to the same general principles.

“We pulled over 1,000 all nighters during college!  We put up with our know-it-all professors who were unimpressed with our masterpieces (they so were!) as they dissected our design decisions and railed on our projects, reducing us to hollow, soul-less critics.  We cut off appendages (by accident of course), glued ourselves to at least five models, made several trips to the ER after using a band saw at 3 a.m. and surely could have been certified as insane on multiple occasions.  All of this before graduating from 5 long years of grueling torturous brainwashing, memorization and regurgitation of architectural theory!  Then we spent hundreds of hours studying for 7 professional exams (used to be NINE!) that we took on antiquated machinery using programs that aren’t even used in the real world.  We argued with the evil bureaucratic organizations for months about why we failed the tests when we only missed one question.  We paid our hundreds of dollars in fees for paper pushers to finally give us our beloved – and revered! – stamps that prove we are truly architects (even if its all digital now anyway).  I’ll be damned if I allow a computer geek to call himself an architect after all that I went through!  They don’t even know what design IS!!!” *Commence pouting*

I think the summation of such rants is that architects feel they are much more entitled to such glamorous terms as ‘architect’ than any other industry professional even if the work does relate somehow.  They’re just irritable because they can’t find a job listing in the sea of posts for “IT Architect” (not that there are any architecture jobs available anyway).

I guess what they really mean is, “Stop stealing our thunder!”

Since architects can’t do much to stop the over-use of the term in the IT world – and it would take a very expensive team of lawyers to enforce protection of the term ‘architect – they resort to taking out their aggression on those who are an easier target.  For example, the ones who actually hold architecture degrees, have taken and passed almost all of their exams, and after getting laid off from their job of 7 years use the title “Architectural Designer” while looking for jobs.  Architects pounce on these poor souls and fine them for all they’re worth (not much), citing ‘illegal use of the term ‘architect’ and all its forms’.

Perhaps the best job hunting strategy for almost-architects today is to use the “IT Architect” title.  There’s plenty of job openings, and you won’t get sued for trying to come up with a way to describe your occupation on your resume.

Thanks, IT guys!

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