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Solutions Architect Vs. Enterprise Architect

Solutions architects and enterprise architects both work with an organization's technical infrastructure; however, their areas of focus differ. This article will cover the job responsibilities and median annual salaries for each career.

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Comparing Solutions Architects to Enterprise Architects

A career as a solutions architect or enterprise architect may appeal to individuals with strong analytical and technical skills. Although both jobs deal with network operation and functionality, they specialize in different aspects. A solutions architect focuses on an organization's overall business goals, while an enterprise architect focuses on enforcing standards and managing items like data diagrams and process flows. The key similarities and differences between these two technical positions are outlined below.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Solutions Architect Bachelor's degree $113,559 6% (Computer Network Architects)
Enterprise Architect Bachelor's degree $129,445 6% (Computer Network Architects)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Solutions Architects vs. Enterprise Architects

Solutions architects and enterprise architects both create and execute ways to improve an organization's technological framework. A solutions architect focuses on developing best practices and integrations patterns for an organization. In contrast, an enterprise architect oversees architecture domains like application, data, and technology and ensures they align with an organization's standards.

Solutions Architect

A solutions architect specializes in evaluating business requirements and turning them into solutions, products, or services. Solutions architects are needed in a variety of industries, including professional services firms or technology consulting agencies. Job responsibilities may include determining ways to streamline internal operations, overseeing internal and client change requests, and analyzing and implementing application solutions for infrastructure issues. A strong background in project development life cycle will be beneficial. Interested individuals can pursue membership in a professional organization like the Microsoft Association of Practicing Architects, a global network of information technology architects.

Job responsibilities of a solutions architect include:

  • Managing application development teams during the design and construction phases
  • Providing training and mentoring to junior personnel
  • Collaborating with application developers on achieving business goals
  • Overseeing strategic relationships in a technology environment

Enterprise Architect

An enterprise architect specializes in collaborating with key personnel to define business goals and creates the enterprise infrastructure that supports those goals. Job responsibilities can involve assisting with the creation and execution of the information technology architecture roadmap, working with domain architects to design roadmaps for all domains, and determining operational gaps and developing methods for improvement. Enterprise architects will need a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related discipline, with some employers preferring a graduate degree. They can work for a variety of organizations, including information technology services firms.

Job responsibilities of an enterprise architect include:

  • Analyzing current trends in the technology architecture field and providing recommendations
  • Evaluating applications for compliance with both enterprise and business standards
  • Determining the viability of architecture related to organizational changes
  • Educating technology personnel on best practices in areas like governance models and frameworks

Related Careers

If you would like to become a solutions architect, consider a career as a computer analyst, as both careers involve working with an organization's overall technological infrastructure. Individuals interested in a career as an enterprise architect may be interested in working as a computer programmer, since both careers involve application design.

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