Difference between Architect and Engineer

Published on January 27, 2016

While both do perform many parallel purposes and tasks, there are quite a few notable differences between the two. Knowing these may not mean much to most people, but for those aspiring architects and engineers, it may mean choosing the ideal career path.


Architect vs Engineer
Sydney Opera House with the creative design of architects

Architect – Derived from the Latin word architectus which was again derived from the Greek words arkhi (chief) and tekton (builder), it is the person responsible for planning, designing, and overseeing the construction of buildings. It simply means that architects provide the services where design and the construction of a building are related, including the space within the site surrounding the building.

Professionally, it is they who control decisions that may affect the safety of the public. That being said, an architect must undergo special training to earn a license; this mostly consists of advanced education and internship for practical experience.

Salary of an architect (excluding landscape or naval) can go from $42,000 to $96,000 (will depend on your region).

Note: the terms architect and architecture are also used in landscape architecture, naval architecture, and even information technology, and not exclusively for the construction of buildings.

A durable steelwork structure designed by engineers
A durable steelwork structure designed by engineers

Engineer – Taken from the Latin words ingeniare (to contrive,devise) and ingeniu (cleverness), an engineer is the one concerned with applying mathematics, ingenuity and scientific knowledge in developing solutions for technical, commercial and societal problems. Engineers are responsible for designing materials, structures and systems that will help the construction, while taking into consideration the limitations imposed for regulations, safety, and cost.

Professionally, they are fundamentally educated and trained appropriately in applying scientific methods. They also have the knowledge to analyze and come up with solutions for engineering problems. They are able to assume personal responsibility in developing and applying their engineering science and knowledge, especially in research, construction, manufacturing, superintending, and of course design. Simply put, engineering is a profession that applies science, math and ingenuity with intellectual capabilities that include good judgment, coming up with original thoughts, and management and supervision of the technical and administrative work of others.

Salary of an engineer (electrical, chemical, civil, and petroleum engineering) can go from $46,000 to $180,000 (will depend on your region).

Architect vs Engineer

What’s the difference between an architect and an engineer? Aside from their salaries, there are a few distinctions that need to be mentioned.

To become a good engineer, one must be precise, be good in math, and know how to apply scientific methods. An architect however, will have to be artistic, creative and be a theoretical thinker. While both have the purpose of building and planning structures, an engineer mainly focuses on the science and engineering, while architects mainly focus on the aesthetic principles of the design. This means that an engineer mainly handles the building part, and the architect focuses on the design and site planning.

To sum it all up, an engineer works in a field where math, physics and application are mostly used in the construction of buildings and materials, while an architect is concerned with creativity and artistic characteristics and their application in designing and planning of a building or other structure.

Comparison Chart

Salary can go from $42,000 to $96,000 (will depend on region)Salary can go from $46,000 to $180,000 (will depend on region)
Focuses on design, planning and overseeing constructionFocuses on application of math and science in construction
Artistic and creativeDisplays ingenuity


Here is a video that shows some fun facts about architecture.