Architect / Solution Design

Architecture and Solution Design are senior roles within an organisation and can cover multiple domains such as infrastructure, applications, data and business or sit holistically above these at enterprise level. Solution design is the most technically hands-on of the roles, moving further away from this and into a high-level strategic view in architecture.

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Solutions Architect in the IT industry

What is a Solutions Architect?

Solutions Architects help organisations find the right IT tools for the job. The role can encompass one-off projects to enterprise-wide systems. Simply put, they design technology systems that meet business needs and objectives – from one-off projects to entire organisations.


Skills a Solutions Architect needs

Successful Solutions Architects have a broad range of skills:

  • Problem-solving – Astute Solutions Architects identify and analyse problems, and come up with creative solutions.
  • A can-do attitude – The best Solutions Architects are flexible, adaptable and can think on their feet.
  • Strategic thinking requires a thorough understanding of the business needs now and how they are likely to change in the future.
  • Leadership – Solutions Architects are trusted decision-makers – negotiating, advising and coaching the team throughout the design and implementation process.
  • Technology – Broad IT industry experience is a must, along with knowledge of the latest technology tools and how they can improve business in the short and long term.
  • Expert communicator –  Convincing written and oral presentation skills, along with the ability to explain their vision and the business gains in plain English.
  • Collaboration – Solutions Architects understand people. They bring together a range of business teams and negotiate conflicting motivations and interests as required


Solutions Architects roles and responsibilities

With an eye on the big picture Solutions Architects create a technological roadmap for the business.

  • Develop a thorough understanding of the needs of the business – and customers.
  • Assess and advise on the impact of technology (eg software or platforms) and how it can be integrated as a system.
  • Design and recommend technology solutions or improvements that are scalable and future-proof.
  • Develop clear plans, budgets and documentation for the successful roll-out of the agreed solution by internal or external teams.
  • Support IT development and operations, and other business teams throughout the implementation process including training.
  • Foster and maintain stakeholder buy-in throughout.


The day-to-day work of a Solutions Architect

In today’s competitive world, technology can make or break a business.

Solutions Architects design fit-for-purpose computing systems, and in doing so play a key role in helping an organisation achieve its goals and objectives.

To do this they must first clearly understand the business needs and problems. They spend a lot of time talking to staff, customers, and stakeholders – sometimes with support from other specialists.

With their extensive and in-depth knowledge of technology tools, they’ll assess a range of options, look at how they work together, and consider the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Following analysis, including testing and modelling, the Solutions Architect will choose the best set of tools for the job, designing a computing system blueprint, before supporting the rollout including coaching and training.

Operating at a strategic level, Solutions Architects also play a technical leadership role, helping organisations understand the real-world implications of technology choices.


Solutions Architect courses and qualifications

The successful Solutions Architect will bring broad business experience and expertise to the role along with a tertiary qualification in an IT-related field such as information systems and probably have completed TOGAF training.

Ongoing professional development and training  will also ensure Solutions Architects keep current with new IT products, trends, tools and developments.

Industry certification is not required, but is available from several industry bodies.


Solutions Architect salary

There is strong demand for Solutions Architect, with salary expectations on a par with the senior nature of this role and the level of experience required.  The pay scale ranges from an average annual salary of $112,000 to $160,000.


Further reading