Solutions Architect: Job Description & Salary
Solutions architects are responsible for designing and implementing technology infrastructures for large organizations. Learn more about the duties, education requirements, salary, and expected growth for this field.
Overview of Solutions Architects
Solutions architects normally are brought to an organization when it is determined that the technology systems are no longer adequate, like after a period of fast growth. They are tasked with creating a new and lasting foundation of technology tools that will facilitate communication, collaboration, and efficiency across levels and departments. Check out the following table for more details about this career.
|Median Salary (2019)||$116,863*|
|Career Growth (2018-2028)||10% (computer occupations, all other)**|
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree|
|Fields of Study||Computer science, computer engineering, data analysis, database administration, systems administration, business administration, finance, marketing|
|Key Skills||Current knowledge of programming and hardware; database administration strengths; strong communicator|
Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What is a Day in the Life of a Solutions Architect Like?
Because solutions architects must thoroughly assess the needs of an organization before designing the proper technology systems, their work is as social as it is technical. They often go through a long process of evaluation that relies heavily on staff interviews and research (both of technology tools available in the market, and the systems used by other organizations to solve similar problems). The process of evaluating current systems and potential solutions is as important as the design and implementation of the improvements themselves.
In general, solutions architects study and understand the business needs of an organization, align those needs with computer-based processes, identify the proper technology tools that can satisfy them, and build new systems that join those tools together to improve performance, reliability and speed.
What Should I Study to Become a Solutions Architect?
Solutions architects are as experienced in business processes as they are in technology tools. To pursue this career, you might combine a degree in computer science, computer engineering, or information technology with an advanced degree in business, business administration, finance or marketing. Some employers look for applicants with a Master's of Business Administration in an area such as information systems.
What are the Skills Necessary to Become a Solutions Architect?
Solutions architects need a working knowledge of all information technology-based solutions for business problems, including computer programming, database administration, systems administration and hardware maintenance. They should have a strong foundational knowledge of several programming languages and always be aware of the newest tools available in the market.
Beyond a good grasp of these concepts, the skills required vary greatly depending on the industry or size of the organization. In general, effective solutions architects understand the relationship between business needs and computer-based solutions and have the ability to design systems that integrate the processes and results of those solutions.
Because they often need to explain their proposed systems to professionals who are not well versed in high technology, these architects should also have excellent communication skills.
What Kind of Salary and Career Outlook Should I Expect?
According to Payscale.com, solutions architects had a median salary of $116,863 in 2019. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes solutions architects inside the larger category of 'computer occupations, all other.' This groups of occupations has a projected job growth of 10% between 2018 and 2028.
What are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Depending on your skills and interests, several related fields might be a better fit for you. If you are excited about the prospect of researching and developing innovative ways of using technology, but are not interested in the communications skills required to succeed as a solutions architect, a career as a computer and information research scientist might be a better fit for you.
If you like the idea of designing networks and infrastructure, but are more interested in hardware (cables, switchboards, routers, and modems) than software (databases, data management, software tools), you may want to consider a career as a computer network architect.
Finally, if you are more excited about the effective use of data and its proper maintenance (rather than the design and implementation of new systems), you could learn more about pursuing a career as a database administrator.