Architect is not a verb


Devhawk has a post on one of my pet peeves, the use of the word “architect” as a verb; people say “architecting.”


 


I also find the debate about what an architect is and does to be interesting.


 


One of my mentors here at Microsoft started his career as an architect; not a software architect, but a building architect.  He found designing office buildings was very dull and now designs web pages instead.  He taught me that there are two kinds of architects, design architects and structural architects.  Design architects decide how many rooms a building will have, what size they’ll be, how they’ll be arranged relative to each other, what the roof line will look like, etc.  The structural architects then are tasked with figuring out how to design the building so it won’t fall down.  The famous architect Frank Gehry, who designed the Experience Music Project building in Seattle and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao Spain among other buildings, is a design architect.  Once his, usually radical, design is complete he has a whole team of structural architects that figure out how to make the building stand up.


 


Here’s what I find interesting.  Outside of Microsoft the term “software architect” is usually used, as Devhawk does, to describe the design architect part of software development.  The term “software engineer” is usually used to describe the structural architect part of the job.  Internally, the term “software engineer” is almost never used and “architect” refers to the engineering portion of the job.  I don't know why we have this disconnect from the larger software development community.


 


[update]


 


More good stuff from a related Devhawk post.


 


This is excellent: "Engineering is about walls. Architecture is about the space between the walls."

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