What is a Solution Architect?

Do you love being in charge of things, and of finding answers and solutions to problems? Are you also interested in a career that combines both the technical and business inner workings of a company? You may be interested in working as a solution architect!

Solution architects evaluate a specific need that a business may have and build and integrate information and computer systems that meet that need. This can take the form of products or services, and involves integrating the software and hardware that will best meet requirements. They also examine the current systems architecture, and work with business and technical staff to recommend solutions that result in more effective systems.

What does a Solution Architect do?

Solution architects possess a balanced mix of technical and business skills, and are responsible for the design of one or more applications or services within an organization.

Once solution architects are given a problem, they are not only in charge of finding the answers, but of actively leading the technical vision to success. Most solution architects have spent many years in the software development world and have therefore learned dozens of tools designed to help them be more effective and productive.

They are typically part of a solution development team, often working with enterprise architects and computer network architects for strategic planning discussions.

Their main focus is on the technical decisions being made regarding the solution and how they impact the business outcomes. The rest of the development team will then use the information to implement the solution.

A solution architect having a meeting with the solution development team.

Solution Architects focus on:

  • how technology can be used to solve a given business problem
  • which framework, platform, or tech-stack can be used to create a solution
  • how the application will look, what the modules will be, and how they interact with each other
  • how things will scale for the future and how they will be maintained
  • understanding and mitigating the risk in third-party frameworks/platforms
  • finding a solution to a business problem

Solution architects become involved with a project at the time the computer systems analyst is developing requirements. They then remain involved throughout the balance of the project. They organize the development effort, and are often expected to provide motivation and guidance to the entire development team during the systems development life cycle. They are ultimately responsible for the vision that underlies the solution and the execution of that vision into the solution.

Some solution architects may look after the programming, integration, and testing of software systems and associated devices. The process used typically involves selecting the most appropriate technology for a problem, as well as balancing architectural concerns of the project with the concerns of the enterprise.

Solution architects need significant people and process skills. They are often in front of management, trying to explain a complex problem in laymen's terms. They have to find ways to say the same thing using different words for different types of audiences, and they also need to really understand the business' processes in order to create a cohesive vision of a usable product.

Are you suited to be a solution architect?

Solution architects have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also enterprising, meaning they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic.

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What is the workplace of a Solution Architect like?

Similar to other types of systems or computer network architects, solution architects work full time, with the occasional required overtime. They spend most of their time in an office setting. Very little physical activity is associated with this career, but it may involve meeting strict deadlines and performance standards.

Solution Architects are also known as:
Solutions Architect