Service-oriented architecture (SOA) consultants work closely with system designer teams and their employers to determine what kind of system they will be creating. These consultants may be able to enter this field with a associate's degree in computer science, but some employers prefer candidates with bachelor's degrees. SOA consultants need thorough knowledge of computer system application design, development, and implementation.
Service-oriented architecture (SOA) involves the implementation of computer systems applications. Systems applications allow organizations to accomplish many goals, such as promoting internal communications, maintaining client databases and improving public relations. In general, SOA consultants provide organizations with advice on which SOA systems to use.
|Required Education||Associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science|
|Other Requirements||Certifications in specific computer languages|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||21% for computer systems analysts*|
|Median Salary (2016)||$106,092 for senior technical consultants with SOA knowledge**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **Payscale.com
Service-Oriented Architecture Consultant Job Duties
According to job postings listed on CareerBuilder.com in November 2016, employers expect SOA consultants to complete an array of duties, which can include programming, systems design and sales.
Each system application requires design and development, but SOA consultants must first communicate with businesses to determine which services they need. Consultants then design the service and implementation strategy. Some employers may also expect consultants to write the computer codes for each application, but this task may also be completed by computer programmers. Consultants often work with teams of designers and programmers during product creation.
Consultants who work for technology companies are expected to promote company products. Instead of making recommendations about potential SOA systems, these consultants usually bring in pre-designed SOA programs to demonstrate to potential buyers.
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Service-Oriented Architecture Consultant Requirements
Since SOA consultants have such varied job duties, it's difficult to determine what academic training is needed. In some ways, consultants are like computer programmers, and information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that programmers often have either an associate's or bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). However, some consultant job duties are similar to those of software developers or computer analysts, and the BLS shows that these workers require bachelor's degrees related to their field of specialty, namely computer science.
Programs in computer science cover topics such as data structures, computer networks, database management, systems design and programming. Some degree programs may offer courses directly related to SOA, such as enterprise software architecture or computer architecture.
Employers listing job postings for SOA consultants on CareerBuilder.com in April 2015 desired applicants who possessed experience with certain programming languages, including HTML, CSS and Java. Many of these same employers preferred applicants with extensive knowledge of various software programs, such as Microsoft Office, Cloud architecture, Adobe products and Web design platforms.
Consultants can earn certifications in computer languages, programs and products as a way to prove their level of skills to potential employers. Most computer manufacturers and trade organizations provide certification programs. Interested applicants must meet eligibility requirements before taking exams. Certification exams may be written, multiple-choice and involve practical skills tests that require applicants to design specified objects using computer codes or software tools.
The BLS does not list career information for SOA consultants, specifically. However, careers that share similarities with SOA consultants, such as those of computer programmers and computer systems analysts, are expected to see an increase in employment opportunities between 2014 and 2024, while computer programmers are expected to decline. Salaries for these positions were also favorable, ranging from a mean annual salary of $84,360 for computer programmers, to $90,180 for computer systems analysts, to $108,760 for software developers as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
SOA consultants can work in computer programming, system creation, and network establishment. Besides earning a degree in computer sciences or a degree that supports their specialty, SOA consultants can earn certifications in computer programs, products and systems that may increase their appeal to employers. This position pays around $80,000 or more, and in general, is expected to continue to grow.