Over the past few years, conversations with my sister about architecture have started with her reminding me that she’s an architect and I’m not. She’s the building type. Got certified and licensed. Advanced degree. She believes that we shouldn’t even be using the term architect in our IT centered world — since they have a licensed use of the term for their kind of professionals, no other professionals should use it.
But this week over dinner she has relented a little. She actually used the term information architect in a sentence, a positive or at least not negative sentence. I don’t think it was just because I paid for dinner. Then, she forwarded me this article:
Apparently she wasn’t the only one of the building kind that has wondered what “our kind” were up to, usurping their job name. But, as the article points out, perhaps the building kind is getting used to the idea of enterprise or IT or information kinds of architects. In fact, the article notes that it’s flattery of a sort to have your name co-opted.
Granted, EA has taken it’s cue in many ways from the building architecture discipline. The city planning metaphor for standardization. The pattern idea adapted from Christopher Alexander (et. al.) in A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. And so on.
Did we realize we stole the name and that others actually cared about our theft?
Maybe we do want to get to a point of having strong meaningful useful certification for enterprise architects. But, when we get to that level, I don’t think we’ll get to just call ourselves architects. The name’s already taken, professionally. That’s going to make things interesting, since it has been my experience that many IT roles have added the architect label to them to gain … a pay raise, I guess. We have a lot of architects in IT — and we’ll all have to get some adjectives to distinguish ourselves. At least enterprise architects have their adjective. Now if I could just get my sister to use that in a sentence. That may take another dinner. Maybe even drinks.