I thought to share my experience with you, working as a Solution Architect for a company, so that you can understand what kind of job you are aspiring for. I still remember when I first started working on the AWS Platform, I used to think, how much easy and efficient it is, just click of the mouse and you can see awesome things happening in front of your eyes within minutes. Things are still awesome, but when you need to provide Enterprise grade solutions, the number of variables shoots to very high. Therefore it is very much important that you understand what kind of job you are planning to enter.
A Cloud Solutions Architect job is rewarding in terms of pay packages and learning point of view but at the same time demanding too and needs a good understanding of all technological pillars of IT-enabled businesses. Whether it’s programming, development, architecting, frameworks, networking, security, system admin, configuration management etc., you must have an idea, how it all works and how they work together to make a successful, profitable and robust business model.
So join me “A Day in The Life of a Solution Architect”Let me share that in this particular article, I am discussing an organization which can be considered a medium level enterprise housing an employee number of 7000-10000. Your job KRA, may or may not be the same. For different businesses they vary.
Enter the company premises at 9 o’clock morning, set the system up, grab a cup of tea or coffee and check emails as most of the time we don’t check office emails while at home unless there is a business-critical issue we are facing.
So, you will find emails from all departments in your inbox, Website team, Enterprise Resource Planning team (ERP), Business Intelligence (BI) team and also Business Analyst (BA) etc. You are “CC” on all emails, being a Solution Architect, you are an important part of the business, so be ready to read lots of emails every morning.
There will be reminders of meetings with many of the above-mentioned teams, where critical issues will be going to be discussed with you. For e.g. with Website team, probably you will discuss, the late night high latency with your company website or unwanted crashing of one of the caching server. You should prepare the Root Cause Analysis (RCA) report and provide a resolution which addresses these concerns, also stop their reoccurrence in the future.
Next, it will be ERP team, which can raise an issue with RDS, or ERP software, like the instance they working with probably unable to run PostgreSQL service, you need to look into configurations, isolate the issue from logs and correct them.
BI team can approach you for their issues, which many times involve coordinating with other teams too for e.g. ERP or Marketing or BA, so you need to lead the cross-team meetings, understand the challenges and come up with the most appropriate solution keeping in mind that, there is should be no conflict of interests between the teams.
Solution architect has to do trade-offs, schedule tasks and write scripts in such a way, that provides maximum benefit with least expenditure on cloud resources.
Challenges in front of a Solution Architect
Solution Architect is a challenging role, and you need a really exhaustive training to understand the intricacies as a whole. You cannot afford to see things in isolation, probably you are a Solution Architect having very good coding or development skills, or Solution Architect with outstanding Networking skills or System Admin skills, but while providing solutions to business problems, you cannot let your interests decide the solution, you need to come up with Solution which sees the problem in an Objective manner.
Great Learning Comes with Everyday Challenges
Solution Architect work hovers around the interface of various technologies, that’s the best part of being in this role. You need to poke your nose, in every other business streams, you need to have an idea how backend as well as frontend systems works, and you need to understand how security in the cloud works. You need to write scripts which generate reports analyzing Sales Data and you will also write the code which functions in the most coherent way with your existing cloud infrastructure.
AWS Cloud Platform is not tilted in favor of any particular programming or scripting language, that’s the beauty. The more you know, the better you are.
Solution Architect or DevOps or both, please welcome The Cloud Expert
Most of the time day ends with lots of planning over a cup of coffee with your company CTO or Technology Directors or veteran consultants, who discuss the future goals and try to ensure that you are able to understand their vision. What I observed working with Indian companies, that most of the time the line between Solution Architect and a DevOps engineer is very thin, hence it is very much possible that you wonder after the meeting that whether you are a Solutions Architect or a DevOps engineer, chances are high that you end up working in both roles, and get a new term of A CLOUD EXPERT.
As a Cloud expert, people look up to you to provide solutions, which are efficient, robust, meeting best practices, stressing on business continuity while making infrastructure fault tolerant, write scripts that automate redundant tasks. Keeping your one eye on security and other on the economics of cloud Infrastructure.
Conclusion: A Solution Architect deserve to be paid well
Please don’t feel intimated, being a Solution Architect though sounds like a lot of work, but it’s fun since you always be considered a very valuable asset. Your impact on business will be going to a big one. Big organizations even make the division of work, so that you are either takes care of automation or Infrastructure part, depending on which part you are good at.
I guess, now you will be able to understand why being a Solution Architect you deserve to be paid well and this is the sole reason that as an AWS Certified Solution Architect, your average AWS salary will remain statistically high than your peers, given the fact how much skill you are in handling every stratum of your job.