none
The Title "Architect" is illegal in Texas and msay be as well oin other states.

    Question

  • I was informed today (Aug. 14, 2008) by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners that the use of the lone word “Architect” is illegal in the state of Texas not only in email signatures but business cards, using it verbally, even the company title being so written may be illegal and that it is that way in many states. I wrote back the guy and thank him for the legal text he sent on this matter which is below and he called me up and told me he was sending in a letter of complain because I was still using the title “Architect” in my signature. I apologized and explained to him I had not changed my signature yet so he is not making the complain. I told him my title of “Architect” is my company title with no prefixes nor does my company wants me to include anything else with the title. He said the company title is in violation as well. So I have changed my signature at this time and have my HR and company legal informed.Below is what I was sent and note the wording of section 1.123c which to me says the word “Architect” and “Architecture” is forbidden in all uses unless one is a architect involved with building design, landscape, or interior design. If this is correct all ITS based companies, vendors, publications, books, online sites etc. are in violation.  Has anyone else had this happen to them or know anything about such an issue?

     

     

    The Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) regulates the architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design professions in Texas. The Texas Architecture Act is Chapter 1051 of the Texas Occupations Code, and the TBAE Architect Rules are located at Title 22 of the Texas Administrative Code. All of TBAE’s laws & rules can be found on our web site at www.tbae.state.tx.us.

     

    I attached the pertinent laws and rules below for your review. TBAE recognizes that the title of Software Architect relates to the technology field. TBAE’s not in the business of deciding whether or not the context of an email would allow a person to use the title of architect. So, TBAE must defer to the laws it’s charged to enforce.

     

    As an international company, Thomson Reuters is experienced in complying with international, national, state, county, and municipal regulations. As a representative of Thomson Reuters, I’m sure you recognize this responsibility and that you and TR will comply with Texas law on this issue.

     

    I conferred with TBAE’s managing investigator on this matter. Please be advised that should you continue to identify yourself as an architect, TBAE will file a formal complaint against you.

     

    Thank You,

     

          

     

    Law:

    Sec. 1051.001.  DEFINITIONS.  In this subtitle:

     

    (1)  "Architect" means a person registered under this chapter to engage in the practice of architecture.

     

    Sec. 1051.701.  REGISTRATION REQUIRED(a)  A person may not engage in the practice of architecture, or offer or attempt to engage in the practice of architecture, as defined in Section 1051.001(7)(A), (B), or (C) unless the person is registered as an architect under this chapter.

    (b)  A firm, partnership, corporation, or association, including a firm, partnership, corporation, or joint stock association engaged in the practice of engineering under Section 1001.405, may engage in the practice of architecture, represent to the public that the entity is engaged in the practice of architecture or is offering architectural services, or use the word "architect" or "architecture" in any manner in its name only if any practice of architecture or architectural service performed on behalf of the entity is performed by or through a person registered as an architect under this chapter.

    Rules:

    1.123       titles

    (a)    Architects duly registered in Texas are authorized to use any form of the word "architect" or the word "architecture" to describe themselves and to describe services they offer and perform in Texas. 

    (b)    A firm, partnership, corporation, or other business association may use any form of the word "architect" or the word "architecture" in its name or to describe services it offers or performs in Texas only under the following conditions:

    (1)   The business employs at least one Architect on a full-time basis or associates with at least one Architect pursuant to the provisions of section 1.122; and

    (2)   The Architect(s) employed by or associated with the business pursuant to subsection (b)(1) of this section exercise Supervision and Control over all architectural services performed by nonregistrants on behalf of the business, or in the case of services rendered pursuant to section 1.122(e), exercise, at a minimum, Responsible Charge over all such services.

    (c)    No entity other than those qualified in subsections (a) and (b) of this section may use any form of the word "architect" or "architecture" in its name or to describe services it offers or performs in Texas.

    (d)    A person enrolled in the Intern Development Program (IDP) may use the title "architectural intern."

     

     

     

     

    Thursday, August 14, 2008 8:12 PM

Answers

  • "A formal eduction is a pre-requisite of being a building architect." - You are correct.  The principles in designing buildings do not change much over time.  Yes building codes change, but the tools of your trade remain constant principles by which your profession is based off of.  In software engineering, these principles rapidly change by the advancement of technologies in which software is created. 

     

    "You only have to be capable to be a software architect." - If you believe this to be so, go back to designing your buildings and bridges without autocad or project software written by software architects.

     

    "What is the minimum educational requirement of a software architect? none!  what is the minimum amount of knowledge you have to acquire to call yourself a software architect? none.  all you have to do is persuade somone that you are capable." - You are correct, but as mentioned in the first point, traditional universities could not keep pace with industry trends and provide current education.  They could in the 60's through the 80's, but by the 90's they had to revamp their entire curriculum just to provide a basic understanding of where the industry is in this century.  Even though someone may profess to be a software architect, it is very easy to determine quickly if they do have the capability or not. 

     

    "Not surprising building architects want to protect the name of thier profession from being diluted by the IT industry." - What about Naval Architects?  They are not protected under this stature, even though their industry is similar in concepts to the building industry.  The only difference is they deal with construction of sea going vessels.

     

    "I wouldn't hire an accountant, solicitor or building architect that wasn't accredited by the relevant professional body after all." - I wouldn't either, and I have never met a software architect that claimed to be able to construct a building.

     

    Thursday, October 16, 2008 10:37 PM

All replies

  • I think that building architects were the first ones around and people understand that if you are an architect, you design buildings. So to avoid misunderstanding, if you architect software, you should be Software Architect, not Architect. But of course also software architects are one kinds of architects - software ones. So when you talk with software people, they might talk about you as "the architect" or even more friendlier "the arch" if you know each other, while they mean "the Software Architect".
    Friday, August 15, 2008 7:29 AM
  • Surely we all can notice that this is not about the wording, but the profession, the vocation, behind the wording and what the general public could expect from the behavior of professionals holding the wording in their trade titles.

    There are people among us in software that truly resemble that behavior from other professions, but unfortunately the wording is all what there is for the case of many, many others in our field.

    Can we really say that so-called ‘architects’ in software map in professional practice to those in the old endeavor of building? To those building amazing structures that last and provide security and shelter to the general public?

    Perhaps, a better mapping for many so-called ‘architects’ in software could be that of bad sellers.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 6:21 AM
  • What building architects have that software / system architects don't have?
    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 9:31 AM
  • A formal eduction is a pre-requisite of being a building architect.  You only have to be capable to be a software architect.

     

    What is the minimum educational requirement of a software architect? none!  what is the minimum amount of knowledge you have to acquire to call yourself a software architect? none.  all you have to do is persuade somone that you are capable.

     

    Not surprising building architects want to protect the name of thier profession from being diluted by the IT industry.

     

    I wouldn't hire an accountant, solicitor or building architect that wasn't accredited by the relevant professional body after all.

     

    Therefore, I think building archtiects are ahead of us by having a defined minimum level of knowledge, understanding and competence.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 10:50 AM
  • In software engineering we have universities that produce people with degree and a professional alignment like "Algorithms", "Software", "User-interface", or "Systems". But there is no "Software Architects" coming out from universities. "Software Architect" is more like an earned title in a career path (or just a hat that is changed to lead developer hat once in a while). But I am sure that there are universities that produce "Architects" for building. So this needs to change so that Sowftware Architects come straight from universities. The students could then practice architecting software, do some smaller architecting projects, and then go to job market showing the project portfolios.
    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 11:25 AM
  • In the progress path for software, as has been for other professions, is the proliferation of reflecting practitioners as portrayed by Donald A. Schön, those with critical thinking habits that continuously challenge mainstream beliefs so they can be improved. In other words:

    "Knowledge increases not by the matching of mind images with the real world -which is impossible-, that is, not by the direct perception of truth, but by a relentless bias toward the perception of error. This is as true of folk knowledge as it is of science" - Kenneth Boulding

    For example, many authorities are currently teaching that software development is a branch of engineering discipline. What amount of truth contains such a belief? Enough to state equivalence so similar decisions can be derived as in any engineering discipline? Are we really ready to fully automate the creation of end-to-end software goods? How far we really are from the engineering perspective? What can be said about the level of integrity in those who hold and endorse the engineering perspective in software as if we were already there?

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 2:25 PM
  • I think the question of is or should Software Engineering be engineering / automated is somewhat an another subject.

    But there is nothing wrong in doing blue prints for example flow charts and then create software that is the actual program. In metal works they do also Auto-Cad designs and then go and forge the items with machinery, maybe with automatic robots. They create even cars with robots (eg. Toyota), and cars risk human life in traffic. Human lives are already at the risks of stuff created semi- or most automatically. So why not produce software with state machines like software generators?

    In fact there already are lots of software code generators but also IDEs, database servers and such. Generators in fact reduce the amount of mistakes, because machines do not do that much mistakes as hand crafters. On the contrary,
    the biggest sales speeches of information systems has the fact, that when information is handled by programs, there is less user errors. So, we can and we should use programs to create programs.

    Anyway, I don't say that also design phase should be automated, but it can be streamlined and made more efficient.

    Then comes business rule engines with default business rules, so that you don't have to write whole business engines. You can just buy them like you select an engine for your new car. But these things need a Software Architect to help make the architectures.
    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 4:27 PM
  • The very points you made —which are very common among mainstream software architects— are part of the reason I think further pursuing such perspectives in so-called software architecture is hurting all, software consumers and creators alike.

    I have done the homework, cross-checking with other design professions and the attributes for their key blueprints simply do not match the attributes of diagrams and pictures made by many outdated software people, which leads to a significant waste of time and money in doing them; what matches those attributes is the actual programming language source text delivered to the compiler (the real software factory) which produces what is to be executed (the actual software product).

    Yes, code generators have historically been very important because deliver good business and technical value, as long as they provide a reliable abstraction level avoiding any need to change —ever— the generated code, at all. Any changes are made at the same original abstraction level of the conveyed input design.

    Designing is not a phase, this is fully documented already, it is a continuous activity running simultaneously along with analysis, testing, etc.

    What we need is to find a better name for what many so-called software architects really are doing.

    Monday, August 25, 2008 11:13 PM
  • This has been an issue in Canada too: See the use of "Software Engineer":

    http://www.peo.on.ca/enforcement/Software_engineering_page.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_over_the_term_Engineer

    In Quebec, MS was fined $1000 for using "Engineer". In Alberta, a similar case against and individual was dismissed. The PEO says they haven't sued anyone because there's been no case of someone actually misleading the public into thinking they were a Professional Engineer (which is the protected legal title).

    But, who knows what Texas would do Stick out tongue. Maybe you should ask that guy to file a complaint against Microsoft for using "Architect", and see how it gets resolved.
    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/technology/default.mspx
    http://www.microsoft.com/services/Microsoftservices/srv_architecture.mspx
    That's two different Architecture services Microsoft offers, and they have 4 sales offices in Texas. Seems like it's a pretty direct violation.

    -Michael
    Monday, September 01, 2008 7:23 PM
  • I think the law relates to the use of Architect without prefixes.  The Microsoft program is prefixed with 'Microsoft Certified' so I don't think this is misleading.

     

    The second link relating to 'Architecture and planning services' may be more misleading. 

     

    Although, Microsoft may be well known enough to ensure nobody confuses an architecture and planning service provided by microsoft as related to building architecure.

     

    Be an interesting test case though..

    Thursday, September 04, 2008 10:34 AM
  • I'm basing everything off of the OP's paste:

    (c)    No entity other than those qualified in subsections (a) and (b) of this section may use any form of the word "architect" or "architecture" in its name or to describe services it offers or performs in Texas.


    Which seems rather clear that you can't use either in a name. Hence "Grand Architect", "Foobar Certified Architect", "Software Architect", etc. would not be allowed.


    Thursday, September 04, 2008 3:52 PM
  • Well, I don't know what are your arguments for software architecting not be architecting software? If they are that the modelling methods of buildings are not the same as modelling methods of software, then so what? Of course they are not the same, but they both are still architecting. So in my opinion some laws are misleading, if they claim that software doesn't need software architecting.

    This problem is indeed more obvious with the word engineer in software engineer. Building software might be crafting when done in an adhoc manner. But nowadays it has started to be more like engineering, not crafting. So it would be reasonable that software engineers are called exactly that: software engineers. And if there are software engineers, why not software architects too. Architecting is just something above engineering.

    I know that in US they base law much on previous cases of judges' decisions. For example if a judge ruled in a case, that so and so, then that rulement almost or practically fully becomes the law. But I don't support this kind of thinking in main cases, because law should be what it is made to be and what it will be made to be, not what some judge happened to rule once upon a time. So what ever happens, I think the law should be modernized to take into account what engineering and / or architecting is being done in software world.
    Wednesday, September 10, 2008 11:54 AM
  • "A formal eduction is a pre-requisite of being a building architect." - You are correct.  The principles in designing buildings do not change much over time.  Yes building codes change, but the tools of your trade remain constant principles by which your profession is based off of.  In software engineering, these principles rapidly change by the advancement of technologies in which software is created. 

     

    "You only have to be capable to be a software architect." - If you believe this to be so, go back to designing your buildings and bridges without autocad or project software written by software architects.

     

    "What is the minimum educational requirement of a software architect? none!  what is the minimum amount of knowledge you have to acquire to call yourself a software architect? none.  all you have to do is persuade somone that you are capable." - You are correct, but as mentioned in the first point, traditional universities could not keep pace with industry trends and provide current education.  They could in the 60's through the 80's, but by the 90's they had to revamp their entire curriculum just to provide a basic understanding of where the industry is in this century.  Even though someone may profess to be a software architect, it is very easy to determine quickly if they do have the capability or not. 

     

    "Not surprising building architects want to protect the name of thier profession from being diluted by the IT industry." - What about Naval Architects?  They are not protected under this stature, even though their industry is similar in concepts to the building industry.  The only difference is they deal with construction of sea going vessels.

     

    "I wouldn't hire an accountant, solicitor or building architect that wasn't accredited by the relevant professional body after all." - I wouldn't either, and I have never met a software architect that claimed to be able to construct a building.

     

    Thursday, October 16, 2008 10:37 PM
  • The use is illegal in the UK as well.
    Tuesday, October 21, 2008 7:55 AM
  •  jtierman wrote:
    "A formal eduction is a pre-requisite of being a building architect." - You are correct.  The principles in designing buildings do not change much over time.  Yes building codes change, but the tools of your trade remain constant principles by which your profession is based off of.  In software engineering, these principles rapidly change by the advancement of technologies in which software is created. ...


    The basic methods and tools of software engineering change over time. But one thing remains. You should use some kind of centralized solution design system - eg. architecting - in software building. If we start to think that "ooh, the industry changes really fast, we cannot keep up, lets just skip the architecting", we are in trouble.

    The role is constant, because you always need something else than plain builders. You have many builders (programmers), designers (software designers), and one architect (software architect). Some systems have like millions lines or tens of millions of lines of program code. You cannot survive properly, if you are not using some kind of centralized way of doing things.

    Sometimes programmers also design and then they are called developers. But lots of developers still need some higher level of solution architecting command in the chain.

    And not every building architect designs Burj Dubai skyscrapers. There are smaller buildings that need architects too. It's the same in software industry.
    Tuesday, October 28, 2008 9:42 AM