AWS Solutions Architects serve as a liaison between the business needs and technological solutions of Amazon. Solutions Architects at AWS help shape and deliver strategies to build and grow the user base of Amazon’s utility computing web services. This includes Amazon S3, Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon SQS, and Amazon EC2 within strategic accounts.
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In this article, we’ll discuss the roles and responsibilities of an AWS solutions architect. We’ll cover:
- Role of a Solutions Architect
- Solutions Architect Job Levels at Amazon
- AWS Solutions Architect Job Responsibilities
- AWS Solutions Architect Qualifications
- AWS Solutions Architect Average Salary
- AWS Solutions Architect Career Path
- Solution Architects FAQs
- How to Crack a Solutions Architect Interview
Role of a Solutions Architect
Solution Architecture touches upon aspects of business, information systems, applications, security, and technology architecture.
A Solutions Architect evaluates the business needs of an organization and determines how those needs can be supported. They leverage software, hardware, and infrastructure to develop solutions.
Nowadays, companies prioritize aligning IT strategies with business goals. Solutions Architects identify, develop, and improve technical solutions to support business goals. They ensure Information Technology and business operations are aligned when developing and implementing technical solutions. This requires continuous adjustments, feedback, and problem-solving to ensure proper design and implementation of solutions.
Solutions Architect Job Levels at Amazon
The roles and responsibilities of an AWS Solutions Architect depend on the level and salary band they’re placed at in the company. Typically, there are three AWS Solutions Architect job levels:
- Entry-level Solutions Architects: These are Solutions Architects who are just starting in the field. You may need little or no work experience in Solutions Architecture for this level.
- Junior Solutions Architects: These are engineers with 3 - 4 years of experience working as Solutions Architects.
- Senior Solutions Architects: These are engineers with considerable experience working as Solutions Architects.
Salary bands for Solutions Architect roles depend on the level you are at.
Levels of AWS Solutions Architects at Amazon:
- L4 - Solutions Architect I
- L5 - Solutions Architect II
- L6 - Solutions Architect III (Senior Solutions Architect)
- L7 - Principal Solutions Architect
- L8 - Senior Principal Solutions Architect
- L9 - Distinguished Solutions Architect
Types of AWS Solutions Architects
Solutions architects play these six key roles:
- Generic Solution Architects who overlook broad IT areas
- Domain-Specific Solutions Architects such as Retail Solution Architects or Telecom Solution Architects
- Technology-Based Solutions Architects such as Microservices Solution Architects
- Product-Based Solutions Architects such as SAP Solution Architects
- Focus-Based Solutions Architects such as Application Solution Architects, Security Solution Architects, or Integration Solution Architects
- Role-Based Solutions Architects such as Chief Architect or Lead Solution Architect
AWS Solutions Architect Job Responsibilities
A Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services (AWS) devises strategies to build and grow mind share and user bases of Amazon’s utility computing web services. This includes Amazon S3, Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon SQS, and Amazon EC2 within strategic accounts.
The roles and responsibilities of an AWS Solutions Architect include:
- Owning technical engagements, ensuring timely and successful value delivery.
- Owning the planning, execution, technical engagement, and outcomes of specific implementation projects and assignments.
- Understanding the AWS market segments, industry verticals, and customer base.
- Developing a deep understanding and expertise of AWS technologies
- Gaining technological knowledge of the construction of applications and services using the AWS platform.
- Developing solutions for Amazon’s businesses and products and addressing technological challenges using strategic thinking.
- Serving as a key technical member of the business development team to ensure customer success while building applications and services on the AWS platform.
- Driving discussions with senior personnel of the company, guiding architects and software developers.
- Scoping customer engagement instances, focusing on well-defined objectives and success criteria.
- Facing customers and representing Amazon, usually in the customer’s environment.
- Capturing and sharing best practices amongst the Solution Architect community.
Solution Designer vs. Solution Architect
Solution Designers design the core building blocks of a highly domain-specific technical solution. Solution Designers create modular and flexible designs to meet project and business requirements. They are also responsible for ensuring the integrity of a solution. This requires in-depth knowledge of the existing system, systems strategy, and all applicable IT standards and best practices. Solution Designers focus on designing an elegant, optimized, modularized, and reusable solution.
Solutions architects organize the development of a systems solution. Solutions Architects are involved in envisioning and implementing solutions.
AWS Solutions Architect Qualifications
Educational qualifications recruiters at Amazon look for when hiring Solutions Architects are:
- A bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering, or a related field of study; or equivalent experience.
- 8+ years experience working with specific technology domains such as Software Development, Systems Engineering, Cloud Computing, Infrastructure, Networking, Security, Data, and Analytics.
- 3+ years of experience designing, implementing or consulting in applications and infrastructures.
- Experience communicating with technical and non-technical audiences and executive-level stakeholders and clients.
- 7+ years experience in enterprise IT applications.
- 2+ years of hands-on Software Development, Systems Administration, DevOps Engineering, Network Administration, Systems Architecture, IT Security, or other relevant technical disciplines.
- Working knowledge of software development tools and methodologies.
Solutions Architect Skill Requirements
Key skill areas required to become a Solutions Architect are:
- Programming or Scripting Languages such as Java, Python, or C#
- Data Storage
- Information Retrieval
- Distributed Computing
- Large-Scale System Design
- Cloud-specific patterns and technologies
- AWS Service Selection
- System Security
- Operating Systems such as Linux, Solaris, Windows, Ubuntu, or Unix
Pro Tip: Some companies require an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification. Besides adding value in developing a customized AWS Solutions Architect resume, certifications significantly increase your chances of getting hired.
Sign up for our webinar to learn more about the skills needed to crack the solutions architect interview!
AWS Solutions Architect Average Salary
According to Levels.fyi, the compensation packages of AWS Solutions Architects appear pretty competitive compared to other companies.
Total Average Compensation:
- The Total Average Compensation of an L4 AWS solutions architect in the United States is $138,000 per year.
- The average salary of a senior AWS certified Solutions Architect ranges from $148,000 to $161,500 per year.
Average Base Salary: The average base salary for an L4 AWS Solutions Architect is $104,000 per year. This is a fixed component paid out irrespective of the employee’s or company’s performance.
Average Bonus: The average bonus offered is $15,000 per annum. This is a performance-based component that can vary between engineers within the same salary band.
Average RSUs: The average stock grant / profit-sharing offered to AWS Solutions Architects is $18,000. These are Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) issued to employees. Once vested, they can be freely traded.
Here’s an outline of average AWS Solutions Architect salaries based on seniority:
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AWS Solutions Architect Career Path
The career progression of an AWS Solutions Architect depends on the type of projects they work on and their overall work experience. AWS Solutions Architects often come from varied backgrounds, taking on this role at different points of their careers.
A typical AWS Solutions Architect follows this career path:
Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science → Master's degree in Systems Architecture (some employers require MBAs and certain certifications) → 3+ years experience working with IT systems and proficiency in one or more programming languages
Solutions Architect FAQs
Q. How much does a Solution Architect earn?
A. An L4 AWS Solutions Architect in the United States earns a total average compensation of $138,000 per year.
Q. What skills does one need to become a Solutions Architect?
To become a Solutions Architect, you will need skills in the following areas: Data Storage, Information Retrieval, Distributed Computing, AWS Service Selection, Large-Scale System Design, System Security, Networking, and Cloud-Specific Patterns and Technologies.
Q. Are coding skills required to become a Solution Architect?
Yes, AWS Solutions Architects require a sound understanding of one or more programming or scripting languages such as Java, Python, or C#.
Get Ready to Crack the AWS Solutions Architect Interview
A typical Solutions Architect interview at FAANG+ companies follows this process:
- 1 round of phone screening
- 1 round of coding assessments based on Data Structures and Algorithms
- Up to 3 rounds of assessments on core solutions architecture, security, and system design concepts
- 1 behavioral interview
To start your prep, check out 50+ Amazon Solution Architect Interview Questions.
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