Lately I have had some run-ins with structural architects who have warned me that calling myself or our user group Architects is against the law in Illinois.  I still need to sort out if this is actually the case or not, but it makes me ask a number of questions.

Clearly the law was not intended to protect the word Architect.  It was meant to protect the profession and protect the public from people who were practicing architecture without proper training.  We wouldn’t want buildings and bridges falling down.

Since we are not representing ourselves as experts in the design of physical structures why is this such a hot topic?  Personally I don’t care what my title is as long as I am helping to build software that helps people do business.

I think we also need to take this situation as a warning to ourselves.  A lot of the IT community already looks at people with architect titles as being aloof ivory tower types.  Let’s make sure that it doesn’t get to the point where we are claiming that we own words because they were first applied to IT.  Hey, if a bank wants to call their vault a database, knock yourself out.  It is only a word and has meaning within context.

Personally I think they would have a tough time winning a court battle over this since architect has been a title in IT for well over a decade.  If I remember correctly it was the title that Bill Gates held in Microsoft.  Companies such as Allstate have an entire group in their IT call Protection Architecture.

I hope that the few structural architects who have contacted us are not representative of the profession as a whole.  I have to believe that most people with that level of education are much more reasonable.  I hope we can all be civil and not bring lawsuits about things as silly as words.