If You’re Going to Steal our Title, at Least Give Us the Bucks

According to Work + Money Magazine, six of the ten highest paid jobs of 2017 have one thing in common. That’s in addition to the fact that they are male-dominated techie-jobs with elusive descriptions that didn’t exist a generation ago. Take a look at this list, and find the clue:

  • Enterprise Architect: $112,500
  • IT Architect: $105,303
  • Software Architect: $104,754
  • Solutions Architect: $102,678
  • Data Architect: $102,091
  • Systems Architect: $97,873

That’s right, six of the top ten jobs have the word ‘Architect’ in their title. Yet, not one of those jobs is actually… ummmm… an architect: a person who went to architecture school, passed their exams, completed their internship and is registered to call himself, or herself, by that name.

I admit that being an architect is at least 95% cool. It may not be a top 1% profession, like being a movie star or a professional athlete or Beyoncé. But I get a one hundred percent eyebrow lift rate at parties when I tell someone I’m an architect. Paul Simon writes songs about us, Mr. Brady-bunch is one of us, Mr. Ed’s human is one of us. Thanks to Ayn Rand and Frank Lloyd Wright, everyone thinks architects are cool. Do a Goggle image search for ‘Architect’ and see a world of trim white guys with cropped hair and colorful hardhats unrolling luscious drawings before the world. No matter that we actually sit before monitors all day, just like other office dweebs. Even when I divulge the second level fact that I design healthcare facilities, a cool-factor demerit for sure, most people still think what I do is cool. Regardless that it has nothing to do with Enterprise/IT/Software/Data/ System/Solutions.


I don’t mind, in principle, that geeks skim my title. But I do note the disparity between the salaries these ‘faux’ architects command compared to what the world pays the real deal. Average pay for an actual architect in 2017, per US News and World Report, is $78,470, 25% less than these guys (almost all guys) who tack ‘architect’ to their name.

In the grand scheme of world problems, people embellishing their title with the word ‘architect’ is minor. But since our wacky world is inclined to pay these guys much more money than the folks who actually ensure our buildings stand tall, perhaps the American Institute of Architects ought to franchise the title it made so desirable. People don’t pay architects all that much. But apparently they can get paid handsomely for calling themselves one.


About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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6 Responses to If You’re Going to Steal our Title, at Least Give Us the Bucks

  1. yogibattle says:

    Old: rip-off artist. New: rip-off archetect.

  2. paulefallon says:

    Ha Ha! I love it!

  3. Edward Hammer says:

    Great story and oh-so-true perspective.
    I forwarded this to several REAL architects I know, who will enjoy and appreciate it!
    Thank you.

    • paulefallon says:

      Thanks Ed. It is funny to me how the word ‘architect’ has such cache. People don’t command six figures by calling themselves, ‘laborer’ or ‘farmer’ or, out your way, ‘cowboy.’ Although cowboy enjoys another kind of romance.

  4. Joe Gaken says:

    do you never see a ‘fat’ architect the way you never see a ‘fat’ venture cap person (someone pointed that out to me when i work in non-prof)

  5. paulefallon says:

    True. I can recall only a few folks I worked with who were overweight. However, the fact that the media does not portray architects as ‘fat’ has more to do with the aura they lay on the profession.

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