A solutions architect comes up with the overall technical plan for how to solve a business problem. They design the solution, describe it, and run it. In a lot of ways, this person connects a business problem to a technology solution and lays out all of the steps and requirements that the solution needs to work.
What does an architect of solutions do?
A good solutions architect looks at the current situation and figures out what technologies are available and what software product needs to be made to solve the problem in the best way. From there, the solutions architect makes an overall technical strategic vision, similar to how an architect makes a building’s blueprint. Based on that vision, they make a budget for making a software product.
After everyone agrees on the project, it’s up to the solutions architect to keep an eye on the process and keep everyone updated on how things are going. Most of the time, the project involves both technical and non-technical stakeholders, and the solutions architect must make sure that each party’s needs are considered and factored into the project’s scope.
Tasks and obligations
- Depending on the company you work for and the project you’re working on, your daily tasks as a solutions architect might include:
- giving suggestions and plans for how to solve problems
- Designing, fixing, and analysing how well solutions work
- Keeping track of and sharing what works best for new solutions
- arguing for process improvements and helping to come up with answers
- Regularly communicating new features and benefits to partners, customers, and other stakeholders
- Providing technical leadership to a team throughout the project lifecycle
- Creating “proof-of-concept” projects to see if your ideas work
- checking out and approving the designs of solutions from other team members
Why should I pursue a career as a solutions architect?
As a solutions architect, you need to be creative, analytical, outgoing, practical, and able to explain problems and solutions to both technical and non-technical people.
The average annual base pay for a solutions architect, according to Glassdoor, is $124,960, although it ranges from about $91,000 to $172,000. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for computer network architects is bright for the future. From 2020 to 2030, the number of jobs is expected to grow by 5%, making it a field with faster growth than many others. As companies continue expanding their information technology networks, the demand for solutions architects will likely increase.
How do I start working as a solutions architect?
You can’t become a solutions architect in just one way. Solutions architects can come from many different backgrounds, but some of the most common bachelor’s degrees they have are in information technology, computer science, or software information. A candidate with an MBA in information systems might also be a good fit for a job as a solutions architect.
Most solution architects have worked in software development for at least a few years. This helps them learn a lot about the tools and technologies that are used to design solutions. It’s common to have five to ten years of hands-on experience in network administration or IT systems, but this can change depending on what a company wants.
Enterprise architect vs solution technical architect vs. the architect
- Solution architecture is a complicated, multi-step process that connects business problems with technology solutions. Among its goals are:
- Find the best way to use technology to solve a business problem.
- Explain to project stakeholders how the software is put together, what its features are, how it works, and other things.
- Define features, development phases, and solution requirements.
- Give the rules for how the solution is to be defined, managed, and delivered.
- But the enterprise architect and the software architect are two more architect-level jobs that people often mix up. Let’s talk about what’s different.
What does a business architect do?
We wrote a whole article about enterprise architecture, which focuses on building complex enterprise ecosystems and solving high-level strategic problems. The strategic directions of the business architecture are set by the enterprise architecture. This lets you know what kinds of technology facilities are needed to support the architecture. So, the enterprise architect tells the solution architect what needs to be done, and the solution architect decides how to do it.
The enterprise architect has the most complete picture of how the company is set up and what its goals are. This expert is in charge of making a strategic plan for putting technical changes into place. This person works closely with top-level executives and decision-makers to show them the business value of the technical projects they suggest.
What is a technical or software architect?
The main job of software or technical architect is to solve engineering problems and design software. We have a detailed article about what a software architect does and how important their job is to the success of the company.
Unlike the solution architect, the software architect usually doesn’t deal with financial and organizational issues. This person works on all the parts of a project that have to do with software engineerings, such as development, implementation, maintenance, support, and evolution. Software architects work closely with development teams and are in charge of the whole process of making software. So, to continue with the example from before, the software architect decides what needs to be done and how the result can be kept up.
What is a person who plans infrastructure?
An infrastructure architect is similar to a technical architect, but their focus is on the servers and cloud systems that a company uses. This means that an infrastructure specialist helps grow and maintain the production side of a company’s software ecosystem, not the software development itself. These experts keep an eye on the IT systems and networks that are already in place. They also look for and add new ones, making sure they meet all the requirements for reliability, security, performance, availability, etc.
In the end, technical architects decide how the software should be built, while infrastructure architects make sure that the software is successfully deployed and works well. Still, a technical architect may also be in charge of infrastructure. So, there isn’t much difference between these two roles.
Solution architecture describes how different parts of a solution’s business, information, and technology architectures work together. Solution architecture acts as a bridge between enterprise architecture and technical architecture because it is more focused on the details and technologies of a solution to a specific business problem. The second one is only concerned with technical issues. Combining enterprise architecture with solution architecture and technical architecture is a good way for companies to work.
Solution architecture and the main things that go into it
A well-built solution architecture helps teams finish the product on time and on budget and makes sure it solves the problem it was made to solve. So, what does solution architecture do in real life?
Getting solutions to work in the business world
Most businesses already have operating systems, a context for their information, and integration requirements. The solution architecture helps make sure that a new system will fit into the business environment as it is now. To do this, a solution architect needs to know how all the parts of the business model, such as processes, operating systems, and application architectures, work together. If they understand these things, they will be able to come up with a solution that works best in that environment.
Meeting the needs of everyone involved
Meeting the needs of the stakeholders is one of the most difficult parts of making software products. Most of the time, a product has many stakeholders who are both technical and non-technical experts. The goal of solution architecture is to make sure that all of their needs are met. Stakeholders need to know about the product development process, costs, and budgeting on a regular basis. Usually, a solution architect does these things. This is because a solution architect translates technical project details into a language that management and stakeholders who are not technical can understand.
Solution architect role description and responsibilities
The solution architect’s job is to make decisions at the solution level and analyze how those decisions affect the overall business goals and results. In the same way that an architect creates a general plan for a building, a person in this position must have a deep understanding of the available technologies in order to suggest the best solution based on the needs of the client and the current environment. So, we can say that a solution architect’s job is to come up with a set of technological solutions and a plan for how to use them.
After coming up with a strategic technical vision for the product, the solution architect helps figure out how much it will cost and presents it to the stakeholders. Once everyone agrees on everything, he or she keeps an eye on the development process and lets everyone know how things are going.