What Is The Solution Architect Career Path?

The solution architect is an important role in an organisation, and has several responsibilities. If you’re interested in becoming a solution architect, learn what the career path is in this article.

What Is A Solution Architect?

First, let’s start off with what a solution architect actually is.

A solution architect is someone who is able to understand and design a solution based on the requirements of the business and the technologies that are available. They have the technical skills of a developer and the business skills of a business analyst.

Their role may vary between companies, but a solution architect is usually responsible for:

  • Working with the business team to document and design a solution, based on the requirements
  • Communicating the solution to the developers
  • Writing the occasional piece of code to test proof of concepts
  • Discussing any technical limitations or abilities with business analysts when needed

I’ve written another post on architecture in the IT industry which can help explain the role further.

Starts With A Degree

Many roles in the software development world start with a degree from a college or university, and solution architecture is one of them. It’s probably the role that requires a degree the most, because of the large amount of understanding that the solution architect needs.

So, if you’re looking to become a solution architect, start by getting a degree in Computer Science or a related field. This doesn’t just teach you how to write code, it teaches you how computers work and all kinds of important topics that are relevant to working in this role.

Start With Software Development

A common step on the solution architect career path is becoming a software developer. This is with good reason, as solution architects need to be able to understand code, and sometimes even write and debug code as part of their role.

Being able to write code, not just on an application, but as part of a team, is an important skill to have as a solution architect. It gives them the understanding that they need in order to do their job well. Most of the solution architects I’ve met have come from a development background. They feel that it helps them speak to developers, understand code, and propose better solutions, than if they didn’t know how to write code.

Move Into A Business Analyst Role

At this point, you have a few choices.

Sometimes, those looking to become a solution architect look to move into a business analyst role. This is a good move, as it lets you practice skills such as communication, documentation, requirements gathering, and understanding of how business works. These skills, combined with working as a developer, are a great way to start as a solution architect.

It’s not a required move on the solution architect career path, however. Sometimes you can skip the business analyst path and move straight into a solution architect. However, this is usually for those who have quite a bit of experience as a developer, and who have already developed their soft skills. A solution architect is quite different from a developer, and different skills are needed.

The Need To Stay Up To Date

Regardless of the path you take to become a solution architect, you need to stay up to date on the latest technologies. Solution architects need to be able to propose solutions that work, that get the job done as easily as possible, and that meet the requirements.

Staying up to date is important, so you should be aware of the changes in recent versions of programming languages, database technologies, operating systems, and other software and hardware developments.

Hopefully this post has answered your questions on the solution architect career path. Are you thinking of becoming one? What other questions do you have? Post them in the comments section below.