What is a Solution Architect?

A solution architect is responsible for the design of one or more applications or services within an organization, and is typically part of a solution development team. He or she must have a balanced mix of technical and business skills, and will often work with an enterprise architect for strategic direction. The 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 solutions architect needs 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.

What does a Solution Architect do?

For many developers perhaps the most sought after role is the role of the solution architect. Solution architects build and integrate information and computer systems that meet specific needs. This typically involves integrating the software and hardware that will best meet the purpose defined by a customer. They also examine the current systems architecture, and work with business and technical staff to recommend solutions that result in more effective systems.

The solution architect becomes 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 by a solution architect typically involves selecting the most appropriate technology for a problem, and also involves balancing architectural concerns of the project with the concerns of the enterprise. 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.

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
  • figuring out the risk in third-party frameworks/platforms
  • finding a solution to a business problem

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