Indeed currently has 116,472 job openings for the role of a Solutions Architect in the United States alone. There are also 85,005 vacancies on LinkedIn, 41,147 on Glassdoor, and thousands more on Monster.
As you can see, the demand for qualified professionals is rapidly growing, and this is because companies across the world are relying more and more on technology to improve their business processes and operations.
In short, businesses need experts with solid business knowledge and broad technical expertise, to ensure that the tech products and services their organizations use, align with the strategic goals that have been set out by their company.
In this article we will discuss why Solutions Architects play such a pivotal role in complex tech projects, how much they typically earn in different countries, what factors impact their salaries, and how to begin a career as a Solutions Architect.
What Is A Solutions Architect?
A Solutions Architect is a professional who analyzes a specific business problem(s), and tells the customer how technology can effectively solve the issue for them and their business.
They also ensure that the proposed solution integrates well with the existing tech environment in a company, and they ensure that all risks are kept to a minimum.
Their work usually consists of several phases:
- Solutions Architects analyze a client’s needs and assess current computer systems.
- Solutions Architects determine what set of tech products and services meet the requirements of all stakeholders, and they evaluate any constraints that this integration might have, considering time, costs, scalability, and potential risks on the company.
- Solutions Architects are also in charge of defining what technical stack, security protocols, frameworks, and platforms teams use to create the proposed solution.
- Solutions Architects present their vision to clients and show them how their solution aligns with the business’ objectives. The ability to explain complex problems in an easy-to-understand way is essential for this role.
- Solutions Architects also discuss technical details with developers and other tech specialists at a professional level.
- After the proposed solution has been accepted, architects work closely with project management and development teams to provide advice and recommendations, and to oversee the development and integration process.
Solutions Architects play a crucial role in complex projects, as well-thought architectures help to reduce costs and can positively impact the quality of a final product. This is why companies are willing to pay an above-average salary for qualified professionals.
Average Salary of Solutions Architects by Location
One of the main factors that impacts the salaries of Solutions Architects is the location of their job.
Here is a brief overview of the average salaries of this role across different parts of the globe:
Solution Architect’s Average Salary by Country
And even within some cities in the United States alone, some Solutions Architects earn more than others:
Highest Paying Cities for Solutions Architects in the United States
Although location significantly impacts a Solutions Architect's salary, it’s not the only factor. A company where a professional works, and an individuals experience level are also extremely important.
Solutions Architect Salaries by Company
Solutions Architects may have different duties and responsibilities in different organizations, and salaries often reflect these differences. The table below outlines how yearly salaries vary in some well-known companies:
Solutions Architect Salaries Based On Experience Level
Experience is another factor that has an impact on a Solutions Architect’s salary.
Employers value specialists who have a background in software development, network administration, DevOps, cloud development and/or data security. Expertise in a particular domain such as finance, telecommunication, healthcare or travel can also help professionals in this field to achieve a higher salary.
And of course, salary grows with the more years of experience you have in a Solutions Architect’s role.
While an entry-level professional can expect to earn a yearly salary of $74,309 on average, the average salary of an expert, who has over 20 years of experience in the field, is $135,869.
Salaries by Experience
How To Start A Career As A Solutions Architect
To start a career as a Solutions Architect an individual needs the right combination of education, hard and soft skills.
This role requires a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science, information technology, software development, or any other related field.
However, a deep understanding of business processes is equally important for the role of a Solutions Architect. Therefore, some employers may prefer candidates with an education in business administration or economics, who have relevant work experience in the tech industry.
As for technical skills, Solutions Architects are expected to be familiar with cloud technologies, API, network configurations and security protocols. According to PayScale, experience with SAP Business Warehouse, an understanding of database administration, and a knowledge of Apache Kafka are among the top hard skills that impact Solutions Architects' salaries the most.
Certificates allow Solutions Architects to highlight their expertise in a particular field. These certificates can also result in individuals being promoted to higher-paying positions that have more responsibilities.
Here is an overview of four popular certification programs:
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect program offers certifications at Associate and Professional levels. Both are intended for AWS Solutions Architects. These certificates validate and highlight a Solutions Architect’s abilities to design and implement systems on Amazon Web Services and they confirm their knowledge of AWS platforms.
- Azure Solutions Architect Expert certificate demonstrates that an individual has expertise in building reliable and scalable solutions on Microsoft Azure. To earn the certificate a candidate must pass an exam with different types of questions: multiple-choice, short answer, drag and drop, etc.
- Google Professional Cloud Architect certification proves that the individual has the ability to design and manage robust and secure cloud solutions that leverage Google Cloud technologies. Professionals need to update their certificate every two years to prove that they still hold a certain level of expertise, and that they practise their skills by using the latest best practices.
- ITIL certificate confirms that an individual has expertise and experience in creating and delivering IT products and services within the ITIL framework.
In addition to technical knowledge, to succeed as a Solutions Architect an individual must have a particular set of soft skills. The most important qualities are effective communication, analytical thinking, problem-solving and leadership skills.
Career Advancement Opportunities and Salaries for Other Information Technology Architect Roles
Solutions Architects come from diverse backgrounds, like software development, DevOps, project management, business analysis and any other tech-related fields.
They sometimes start as Solutions Engineers and then progress to one of the architecture roles: Technical Architect, Solutions Architect, or Enterprise Architect. Let's clarify the difference between these three positions.
Solutions Architects focus on solutions for specific business problems. They coordinate all ongoing activities and ensure that the final product meets all its requirements. Technical Architects concentrate on the engineering aspects of a solution’s development, implementation, maintenance and support. Enterprise Architects, in their turn, look at the bigger picture. They define an organization's tech strategy and they make big decisions about the current tech ecosystem in a business.
As for career advancement opportunities, experienced Solutions Architects can be promoted to Senior or Lead Architect positions. They can also switch to Enterprise Architecture or managerial roles.
This table demonstrates how average salaries vary among different jobs related to IT architecture and solution design roles:
A Solutions Architect role is a great choice for those of you who are interested in mastering technical, managerial and business skills. This job is exciting and rewarding, plus, it comes with an excellent salary and bright career prospects.
Note: All facts and figures were correct when this article was written.