Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree
Average Salary: $73,000-$150,000
Job Outlook: Good
A solution architect is a computer engineer with a broad knowledge of both hardware and software. These individuals have experience in many fields and with many operating systems, and they are often involved in architecting a software development from the front end as well as communicating with business owners to deliver a software solution that perfectly suits their needs. Many problems with the design process and the end product end up being solved by the solution architect, who then creates solutions to fix the problem.
Solutions architects may focus on workflow, applications, and integration, among other things. The solutions architect does not usually manage technical and development teams, but they often work with and communicate with these teams during the development of a software solution. They are the technical experts in the development process and guide much of the decision making process when it comes to creating new software developments.
Besides this, solutions architects often analyze the technology a business already has in place in order to improve it for the customer. This involves testing systems for functionality as well as improving the overall process of the applications used by a business.
Education and Training Requirements
A solutions architect needs at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field, though many also have advanced degrees in these areas. Typically, solutions architects also have years of experience in programming or related information technology jobs. Cisco and Microsoft both offer certification programs for solutions architects that may make them more marketable.
Some on the job training can be expected, as solutions architects must learn company policies and procedures. However, most solutions architects are already well-versed in their field by the time they get into such a position. Many companies will provide or pay for continuing education so that solutions architects can stay on top of the latest technological developments in their field.
Getting the Job
Solutions architects are often promoted from within, but they may also be hired from outside of a company. Typically, they have at least a few years of experience to draw from before they apply for these jobs.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
Jobs in this area are expected to grow by about 30% in the next few years, so many jobs will be available. However, this is a competitive field, so the solutions architect with the best experience and education will be at an advantage.
Some solution architects go on to higher level positions within the company they are working for. Many break off to create their own contracting or consulting companies, which can be quite lucrative.
Working Conditions and Environment
Solutions architects must communicate well, but they often do much of their work on a computer. In some cases, they are required to travel to customer sites to see the hardware and software in action first hand. Other than this, though, they’re likely to work in an office setting.
This is not a particularly stressful position, but it is deadline-based. This means that as deadlines close in, solution architects and their teams may put in long hours to ensure that the product is ready to go by the set deadline.
Salary and Benefits
The average salary for a solutions architect is about $106,000 per year, though it can range from $70,000 to $130,000, depending on the company for which the solutions architect works and the experience they bring to the table. Often times, this job comes with profit sharing and bonus options that boost the average income up to $73,000 to $150,000.
These full time jobs typically come with health benefits and vacation benefits, and may also include paid personal and sick days.
Where to Go for More Information
Association for Computing Machinery
2 Penn Plaza, Ste. 701
New York, NY 10121
Association of Women in Technology
PO Box 12962
Newport Beach, CA 92658
Computing Research Association
1828 L St. NW, Ste. 800
Washington, DC 20036