There are many people involved in the architectural process – technologists and structural engineers, for instance. However, the chief proponent of the architectural process is, of course, the architect.
The architect plans, designs and manages the building process. So they have significant responsibility for public safety (buildings, once up, need to stay up). This is why becoming an architect can take a long time. In the UK, for instance, it takes seven years to become a fully qualified architect (though a BA or BSc in architecture can be completed in three years).
Architects tend to work mostly in small firms with little formal organisational structure, though medium sized firms with up to 50 employees may be organised departmentally between design, production, business development, finance and construction administration, etc.
The architectural profession developed out of the artisanal activities of stone masons and carpenters, who rose to the position of master builder. Until the dawn of the industrial revolution, there was little distinction between an architect and an engineer, but they were eventually separated by the widening gap between aesthetics and structural feasibility.
To become an architect, as well as a lengthy education in the subject, one must also acquire an appropriate licence, certificate or registration.