A solution architect is a senior developer – one of the most senior kinds of developer, in fact. Solution architects earn salaries around the $100,000 mark and are instrumental in delivering understandable and coherent computing networks, websites, and platforms. They typically get involved at the very beginning of a project along with a senior systems analyst and stay until after a project is delivered. They are not only developers, however. Solution architects are expected to be excellent communicators who can bring together a team and manage a project.
What, then, do they actually do? Here is a very brief guide to the role of a solution architect.
Big Picture People
Solution architects are big picture people. They need to take a step back and investigate how the different parts of a development project are working (or not working) together. Cloud computing solution architects, for instance, need to be able to monitor the progress of various developers creating communication, storage, application, and user experience elements of a network and make sure that they are all working towards the same goal. For some extra information about the role of the cloud solution architect, check out this page detailing the work that goes into completing an AWS solution architect learning path.
The same ability to look at a project structurally is essential in any solution architect role. The fundamental success of a computing project relies upon the way in which different elements work together.
Keeping Business Goals in Mind
Unlike less senior developers, solution architects are expected to plan technological solutions explicitly aimed at achieving business goals. Often, a solution architect can prove to be the decisive figure in pushing a business towards success. Uber, for instance, has a business strategy that relies almost entirely upon the success and coherence of its applications, payment systems, authentication systems, and mapping integration. Uber’s design architecture is key to its success and has changed along with the market that it helped to give birth to. Solution architects are expected to be vigilant and well-organized project managers.
Making the Complex Seem Simple
As well as their roles guiding development projects, solution architects are often the mouthpieces of a development team. When setbacks or mishaps have to be explained, it will be the solutions architect consulting with investors and upper management. When new and innovative solutions to problems have been found – you guessed it – the solutions architect will be expected to present the findings of the development team to bigwigs.
For this reason, solutions architects have to have the ability to make complex computing issues understandable to people who may not be familiar with them. This is no easy task. If anything, disseminating your specialist knowledge might well be just as hard as learning it in the first place. Great interpersonal skills, lots of empathy, and a really deep understanding of what you are talking about are essential if you want to be able to get your point across to colleagues and stakeholders.