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Solutions Architect vs. Systems Architect: What’s the Difference?

by Pranisha Rai
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A software solutions architect is responsible for working on software features with technology solutions and design proposals. A system architect is a professional responsible for managing, configuring, operating, and maintaining computer and networking systems. In this article, we will walk you through the difference between system architects and solution architects, and by the end of the article, you can decide. 

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Who is a Solutions Architect?

Who is Solutions Architect

A solutions architect is a professional in the IT sector who is responsible for designing comprehensive technical solutions that meet business requirements. They’re the main people who lay the foundation of a project in the early phase and ensure that the new solution fits perfectly well with existing enterprise architecture, technical, business, user, and other perspectives. During this process, they need to collaborate with all teams involved in the development process to fully understand how every service product works within the architecture. In addition, they’re also responsible for the successful delivery of the final product. 

Responsibilities of Solution Architects: 

A solution architect’s main objective is to ensure that the software solution aligns with the client’s requirements. The following are some of the key responsibilities of a solution architect: 

  • Plan, design, create, and lead to meet organizational requirements. 
  • Review the system architecture and collaborate with various stakeholders in the project management teams. 
  • Evaluate the time-cost scope of a project and find alternative solutions. 
  • Update stakeholders with the current status and budget of the product development process, and manage and guide the development teams. 
  • If any technical problems arise, then troubleshoot. 
  • Understand and analyze the business with certain technical choices that may impact the customer’s business processes. 
  • Keep on researching the latest technologies and applying for changes to existing architecture. 
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Who is a Systems Architect?

Systems Architect

A systems architect is like a civil engineer in the IT sector; they need to have an in-depth understanding of computer systems and system design. They are responsible for the overall implementation of complex computer systems. They work with various team engineers and other technical professionals to design and integrate hardware, software, and networking. So that the final components are properly functional and secure. 

 Responsibilities of a System Architect: 

  • Fully understand the business goals and strategy for a successful outcome. 
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to identify the technical requirements of a project, which include hardware, software, performance, and security. 
  • Design the overall system architecture, including the system’s structure, components, and interfaces. Based on the technical requirements. 
  • Research different technology options and give suggestions to teams to pick the right tools, frameworks, and platforms for the project. 
  • Guide developers to follow the best coding practices and architecture patterns to ensure that the system is implemented correctly and that it meets the design specifications. 
  • Perform plans, conduct risk assessments, and evaluate the project’s progress to ensure that risks are mitigated. 
  • Ensure that the system complies with organizational standards and regulations. 
  • Communicate and convey their technical concepts and strategies to non-technical stakeholders, including project managers, executives, and customers. 
  • Finally, prepare technical documentation, presentations, and reports so that stakeholders better understand the system’s design and capabilities. 
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Solutions Architect vs. Systems Architect


Job Role and Responsibilities: The role of a solution architect is to understand the requirements of a business project and then create solutions that align with the goals of the organization. Handling the technical design part that meets the requirements of an organization. And working along with stakeholders and developers to fully understand the business goals and objectives and build the final product that meets all technical requirements.  

A system architect, on the other hand, is responsible for designing and checking whether all the implementation of computer systems, like hardware, is working correctly or not. They mostly deal with clients to understand their needs and preferences and then design systems that meet their expectations. Additionally, the system architect also manages all the development and implementation of the system. Sometimes they need to collaborate with software developers, hardware engineers, and other IT professionals so that the system they are building meets all the requirements. Finally, their role is to test the system to make sure that its hardware system is functioning correctly or not. If not, then they need to make recommendations for improvements as needed. 

Skills and Qualification: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, business administration, or a similar field can also help. The role of a solution architect focuses on developing solutions to business challenges. Thus, either of the business degrees can land you in this role. But if you already have relevant work experience in any business field, that will be your plus point. A solution architect only focuses on software, so one must have a solid grasp of software development and programming languages. On the work front, they need to collaborate more with developers and work with them.  

Systems architect’s job requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science. But a master’s degree in a relevant field is preferred. Since this job role requires more experience and familiarity with programming languages, having relevant experience and a master’s degree will help land you a job. Apart from this, one must have excellent communication skills to become a system architect. Their job roles require them to communicate with team members or other members from across the organization and work to deliver positive outcomes to the organization. 

However, different organizations or industries may look for specific skills in candidates for the same job role. Generally, the skills that a company looks for in a system architect are the following: 

  • If you have prior experience working with computer servers such as load balancers, network switches, data service or network channel units, network analyzers, information processing best practices, and server administration, then you’re a good fit for some organizations.  
  • If you’ve got the skills to create unique architecture plans for strategic systems, then that’s a plus for you. 
  • If you are an expert in problem-solving, conceptual, and analytical abilities, these skills will be an added advantage for you. 
  • Familiarity with system and network development and deployment will also land you this job role. 

Therefore, both roles require a solid understanding of programming languages, technical skills, and communication skills. So, if you want to get any of these, you must be good at the above-mentioned skills. 

Work Environment: While both solution architects and systems architects work in the same work environments, solution architects can have a remote work option. They can also do freelance work. Whereas systems architects don’t have this liberty, their job role requires them to travel and meet with stakeholders from other organizations. Due to this, they are required to work full-time in the office environment. Also, during business hours, they may need to work overtime. 

Salary: Solution architects can make up to an average salary of $140,034 annually, and system architects, on the other hand, can make an average salary of $125,591 annually. However, for both job roles, salaries may differ according to the company and the work you’re doing. Also, the location and the experience matter a lot. You will benefit from higher pay as your experience increases. 

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Solutions Architect vs. System Architect: Key Differences

Factor Solutions Architect Systems Architect
Code It requires less hands-on coding but more focus on integration and aligning components. They need to have a solid grasp of coding with the best practices. This role requires robust coding involvement.
Integration It focuses more on overall system integration. While it is more focused on designing software systems and patterns.
Develops and Design Develops complex technical solutions for projects that closely align with the organization’s business strategies. Develops and designs a new software system and architecture with optimized code or improve the existing software.
Stakeholder Collaborates with business leaders, executives, and project managers. Collaborates with technical teams, guiding developers.
Prior Expertise Needs to have familiarity with various technologies and business alignment. Need to have a profound understanding of programming knowledge and software design.
Career Transition They can switch to enterprise architecture or higher-level strategic roles. They can switch to a managerial post or technical leadership role.
Business Impact It will have a direct impact on long-term business goals. Promotes the technical quality of software that indirectly impacts the business.
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Final Words:

Solution architects and software architects have a vital role in the software and IT sectors. Both fields require a deep understanding of computer systems, a solid knowledge of programming languages, and good communication skills. If you are someone who likes to use technology to solve customer problems and develop solutions into reality using software, then being a solution architect will probably be the best career choice for you. But if you enjoy working with networking, hardware, and developing strategic system architecture plans, then system architecture will be the perfect career choice for you. To stay updated with the long-term career goals in either of these fields, sign up for Olibr. 

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Yes, you can. Based on your skill set, experience, and knowledge, you can easily switch from one role to another. 

Solutions architects and software architects are mostly hired in the IT sector. Other than IT fields like Finance, health, e-commerce, gaming and entertainment, education, start-ups, government, and telecommunications also hires for this role. 

Yes, absolutely. AWS, Azure, and Google offers certification courses for solution architect roles. Otherwise, you can get enrolled in a B-tech in computer science engineering from any engineering college. 

There are several types of it, and each focuses on its specific responsibilities. 

  • Enterprise Architect 
  • Solution Architect 
  • Security Architect 
  • Database Architect 
  • Network Architect 
  • Infrastructure Architect 
  • Application Architect 

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