Have you ever wondered, how does a developer can understand the business’s problems and offer effective technology solutions? That’s when a solution architect (SA) comes into the game. SA can be described as a person who offers architectural solutions for software development. So, what is solution architecture? What are their daily tasks? Is this a dream job for young people in the current digital age?
This article will help students, newbies who are inexperienced to have a more detailed view of Mr. Nguyen Pham – Co-founder & CIO of ENOUVO GROUP. He has had more than 12-years of experience as a Software Engineer and more than 6 years of experience in building solution architecture for different projects worldwide.
Let’s follow us!
Who is a solution architect?
Solution architecture is a practice of designing, describing, and managing solution engineering in relation to specific business problems. A solution architect is a person in charge of leading the practice and introducing the overall technical vision for a particular solution.
With a very strong consideration about system performance security as well as the cost-effective way, a SA has to be having a strong knowledge of the system domain as well as any technical aspects of the system. This will help him understand and can foresee any kind of things or issues that are happening in the system.
Solution Architect Roles and Responsibilities
Basically, the SA has to work closely with the business users to help them analyze any features in the system or investigate any issue with business users and help them come up with the best possible solutions. Besides, the SA is also working very closely with the development team. Especially with the team lead, to help the team go on the right path and to implement the system in the most efficient way.
Let’s find out the main their main role description and responsibilities:
- Analyze technology environment.
- Analyze business specifics & requirements.
- Establish a framework for collaboration between relevant teams.
- Prototype the solution.
- Participate in technology selection.
- Control solution development.
- Support project management
Solution architect skillset & background
Solution Architects are considered consultants for clients in system architecture based on both business and technical aspects. Thus, it’s very important to hold a degree, certification or strong experience in the IT industry.
Does SA have to be good at programming? The answer is not necessarily. But it is a good advantage if the SA has good and solid knowledge of engineering and programming to help him understand the system in all aspects, especially from the end-to-end system. Below are some required practical skills and knowledge:
- Computer and operating systems.
- Infrastructure and engineering design.
- System security measures.
- Business analysis.
- Database management.
- Cloud development.
- Web platforms.
- Hardware and software management.
- Network administration.
- Project and product management.
It is super important for a solution architect to have good knowledge about business. Because that’s gonna help him to talk to the businessman on a daily basis to help to design the system and any kind of new features.
Sharing about the solution architect career path, Mr. Nguyen Pham said that the first requirement is that you have to have passion as a developer. You have learned and filled in a lot of coding skills. Second of all, you have to be very desired in problem-solving, not only the problems of yourself but also the problems from others. Lastly, good communication skills are indispensable as this enables you to communicate with other team members or with business users.
What are the differences among Solution Architect, Technical Architect and Software Architect?
As mentioned above, a SA is a person responsible for designing any kind of system solution from a high-level domain with consideration about performance, security, and stuff.
But, the technical architect would be the one who normally focuses on one aspect or one area of the entire large system. Some system E-commerce platforms like Lazada or Shopee. You may know their systems they gonna have a lot of different areas or different services, and different systems behind.
For example, they may have a marketplace system. They may have a data warehouse system or an inventory system. May have different teams, may have different businesses, customer support to maintain that. And in each of that systems, there may be different technical architects. And those are the ones that are gonna be responsible for that specific service system.
The technical architect normally follows the overall solution provided by the solution architect to help the whole system follow the correct direction. The application architect (software architect), on the other hand, is another level of the architect, where he may focus more on the application level. Focusing more on the coding, development, as well as maintaining the system.
The challenges of being an SA for a large company
A large company will normally require a very proper system architectural design. They may even ask for verified security or performance best practices. Some government systems or large enterprises, they gonna require the system to be scanned by some security tools like Sonarqube or BurpSuite to detect any potential vulnerability in the system. And that is where the solution architect has to be having a good knowledge and skillset to help that system to be implemented.
For Startups or small companies though, it might not be the priority for them, so the SA may not need to start implementing the system in that very highly available approach. It may be costly for Startups, But depending on projects or clients especially projects in the fintech industry. It’s gonna require the security mechanism to be implemented very properly. That is where the SA has to make sure the system is following some standards like the ISO 27001. That’s one of the ISO standards we have to follow.
Advice for students who want to follow solution architect career path
“I didn’t start as a solution architect. I actually had to start as a developer. I worked as a PHP developer then I moved to become a web developer a back-end API developer, even a mobile developer. So I’m kinda like a Fullstack developer. After nearly 10 years of experience, I then became a solution architect. I think most solution architects gonna follow the same path anyway.” Mr. Nguyen Pham shared.
As a student coming out of the University, you may need to try your best, you need to work as hard as possible to demonstrate to your team members, team leaders, or your managers that you are a passionate person. Besides, you are willing to learn and always ready to take on new challenges.
The more you show, the higher opportunity you gonna get in your career path. You don’t wanna do what you are told to do. Every company, every organization, normally needs talents. A good company or a good manager will soon realize your capabilities, and they will treasure you.
All in all, a solution architect plays an important role in helping the development team and leading them to build a product that can effectively solve real business problems. And of course, this position is very responsible and requires broad IT knowledge and skills.
Certificate of Solution Architect that students need to take
AWS certificate stands for Amazon Web Services certificate. This is a professional IT certification that demonstrates that its holder has expertise in cloud computing and can use the tools and services offered by Amazon. Therefore, today’s solution architects are quite interested in the certifications offered by AWS:
AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials
This course is perfect if you are a beginner and want to understand the basics of the AWS Cloud. By the time you complete this course, you will have a clear knowledge of the benefits of AWS Cloud and its global infrastructure.
This is the perfect stepping stone if you are preparing for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification. You will learn more about core AWS services such as computing, networking, databases, and storage.
AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Professional
AWS Solution Architect — Professional is taught by Elias Khnaser. It covers several connectivity methods to AWS, advanced design principles, and how to use AWS cross-account access with ways for consolidated billing.
The outline of what is offered by this course is Designing AWS Networking Services where users will learn how to design:
- Elastic Load Balancer.
- Direct Connect.
- Domain Name System.
- NAT Instances.
- NAT Gateways.
Moreover, users will also learn Managing AWS Security Strategies like High-Performance Computing, Cloud Trail and Cloud Watch, CloudHSM, DDoS, IDS/IPS, STS, and Cross-Account Access, High-Performance Computing, and Directory Service.
Hopefully, through the sharing of Mr. Nguyen Pham, can you imagine what a SA would be like? To help you have a more realistic picture of this position, don’t miss the video below:
See more advice on Career Path in the IT industry: