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Perhaps should be in an IT/Tech forum but interested in the correct way or saying. Also related - Plural for Solution Architecture, but not exact.

I am a Solutions Architect, as I architect solutions. I see a lot of people titled "Solution Architect", and it does sound more 'structured'.

Can both be used to describe a title?

Confusing examples I've thought of (there are many more of each):

Singular:

  1. Project/Product Manager - You do not see 'projects/products manager'

  2. Business Manager - No-one is named "businesses manager", although they conduct in a lot of business.

  3. Wikipedia

Plural:

  1. Sales Manager - I've never seen a "Sale Manager"

  2. Operations Manager - No Operation Manager

  3. AWS certificates

EDIT - Forget about the verb 'architect', it isn't relevant.

I now tend more to the singular option due to that 'ear thing'.

More English examples I've thought of, and please correct me if I am wrong.

One says:

A 7-day trip or a 5-mile hike..

Not 7-days trip and 5-miles hike.

The singular for sounds more rigid with the former word.

Does that make sense?

  • A simple web search reveals that both are used very commonly. Furthermore, "products manager" is used very commonly. It certainly makes sense that if one managers multiple projects, one might be more appropriately called a projects manager, and vice-versa. So with solution/solutions, imo. There is no one who can say that either the singular or the plural form is "correct" except as a matter of preference or opinion. Unless you have a more specific question that recognizes the above information, this question should be closed because it can be answered by a simple search query. – Jim Reynolds Oct 19 '16 at 14:12
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is easily answered by performing a web search. – Jim Reynolds Oct 19 '16 at 14:13
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    @Jim that is not a close reason. If a question shows lacks of research, you can downvote it, but that in itself cannot be a close reason. – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Oct 19 '16 at 15:58
  • The question asks if both of two options are "correct". As there is no authority governing what is or is not "correct" in English, and as the OP's own research shows that both are commonly used, it is off-topic as a subjective question, unless it is "constructive" as defined in Help > What kind of questions should I avoid asking. If the OP wishes for the community's subjective opinions on this matter, it should be re-written to reflect their problem more specifically, so that meaningful subjective responses are more explicitly solicited. Amended close reason: not constructive. – Jim Reynolds Oct 19 '16 at 16:33
  • I disagree that it is off-topic. Loads of questions are about style when one is an English language learner. Most of the responses here are "subjective". How could they be otherwise? They aren't machine generated. – Lambie Oct 19 '16 at 18:21
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OK, let's get this answered...

First of all, let's put aside the issue of whether you can use "architect" as a verb. In this job title, "architect" is definitely being used as a noun.

In contrast, "solution" or "solutions" is a noun modifier or noun adjunct. A noun adjunct is a noun being used to modify the sense of another noun and it fills a similar role to that of an adjective. You can see this by comparing some similar constructs:

  • residential architect
  • landscape architect
  • software architect
  • solution architect
  • solutions architect

The first two job titles refer to specialties within traditional architecture, the first using the adjective "residential" and the second the noun adjunct "landscape". Items 3-5 are all IT job titles and all use noun adjuncts. Because "software" is an uncountable, mass noun, there's no option to choose between singular and plural forms. But when we use count nouns as adjuncts, we have to decide whether to use the singular or plural form.

The standard grammatical approach used to be to use the singular form as a noun adjunct unless this would change the meaning. So we have "market trader" and "stock trader" but "futures trader" and "arms trader". Why? Because the latter pair do not make their money from selling the future or upper extremities.

With the profusion of new and co-opted vocabulary that the IT industry has created there are many more occasions now when people are using previously countable nouns (e.g. "solution", "operation") in plural form for a generic field of endeavor. Thus, the practice of keeping systems running becomes "operations" and we don't really think about each individual singular "operation" that makes this up.

For this reason it's natural to use the plural version of the noun when forming "operations manager".

The concept of "solutions" is part way along this scale. We do talk about a specific "solution" in the sense of a product or configuration. But this type of "solution" isn't very countable -- you could imagine choosing among three solutions, but you probably wouldn't say you designed 171 solutions in May. In many cases, IT "solutions" are not discrete items but just the general concept of an implemented and integrated set of products.

So, when it comes to picking a job title, people have trouble deciding which of their gut instincts to trust and you end up with both solutions architects and solution architects.

My own feeling is that solutions architect is the more common. My experience is that almost no-one else cares which form I use.

Source: I am a solution(s) architect and a former copy editor

  • A solution architect and a copy editor - can't get a better source than that! :-) – Phylyp Jan 30 '18 at 2:04
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There is a tendency in IT and some other fields to take NOUNS and make them into ADJECTIVES. Many of the nouns which are used as adjectives are now taken for granted. Three of them are: product, project and business.

That said, if you design solutions, or run operations or manage sales, these do not drop the S. There is no hard-and-fast rule for this. It's really an "ear thing". Some sound right and others do not. I wish there were a rule I could cite but there isn't.

PS: I would avoid architect as a verb and use design. Architects design things.

  • 3
    Actually, it's very common for nouns to be used attributively (to modify other nouns). If this is not as old as sliced bread, I think it is at least as old as wheat bread. Otherwise, is ear an adjective in your noun phrase an "ear thing"? :) There is no authoritative basis for proscribing the use of architect as a verb. And while dictionaries are often of limited use in determining a word class, the first two I looked at included definitions of architect labelled as verbs. So, architects apparently can and do architect things. – Jim Reynolds Oct 19 '16 at 13:52
  • It's called adjectivizing a noun, fyi. There may not be any reason to proscribe using /architect a solution/, there is every reason to edit it so it becomes /design a solution/. It's a question of stylistic elegance and editorial know how. Not something which is "googlable". There is this terrible fallacy abroad (in the Shakesperean sense of the word) regarding that. – Lambie Oct 19 '16 at 14:50
  • There may be different ways to describe nouns that modify other nouns. Such nouns are sometimes said to "function adjectively", which is almost calling them adjectives, and we can find gray zones or fuzziness between adjectives and nouns. I grant all of that. However, the modern definition most linguists use to categorize such words are "noun adjuncts" and "attributive nouns". To adjectivize a noun, means, at least most commonly, to transform a noun into an adjective morphologically: eg, man --> manly. – Jim Reynolds Oct 19 '16 at 15:18
  • And I see, reading more carefully, that you present the avoid architect as verb idea as a personal preference, which no one can argue with. But that's an entirely subjective matter. The statement "architects design things" can be taken to imply that things can't be architected, and that's not so. – Jim Reynolds Oct 19 '16 at 15:21
  • I never said any of that. i said "I would avoid using architect and use design. Architects design things". That is called high-level editing and, of course, a personal preference to stay away from architect as a verb. – Lambie Oct 19 '16 at 15:31

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