Comparing Data Architects to Solutions Architects
Data architects and solutions architects differ in the scope of their projects, as well as the outcomes of those projects. Readers will compare the degree requirements, salaries, career outlooks, and daily duties of these two careers.
|Job Title||Educational Requirements||Median Salary (2017)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)**|
|Data Architects||Bachelor's Degree||$112,786||9%(Computer Occupations, all other)|
|Solutions Architects||Bachelor's Degree||$114,955||9% (Computer Occupations, all other)|
Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Responsibilities of Data Architects vs. Solutions Architects
Both of these professionals work with an organization's technology, but data architects focus on how information moves across the system from one application to another. Solutions architects, however, look at the overall technological environment of the company. Data architects collaborate with clients to determine the specifications of the project, as well as the business goals that will align with the collected data. Solutions architects also meet with their clients and establish their specific technology needs based on their business objectives.
To help a company make sense of any data it collects on its customers, e-commerce, or even payroll, data architects build electronic databases that can grow with the company. They study any industry standards, allowing them to ensure the database can be shared with business partners or reported to necessary bureaus. Armed with this information, these architects can develop a data map that shows employees how they should use and interpret the data. Another of their challenges is clarifying where the data will be collected from and where in the computer system it will be stored. Sometimes, they move data from old architecture to the new one, but they attempt to avoid data fragmentation during this process.
Job responsibilities of a data architect include:
- Developing a comprehensive system for searching for specific data
- Building in a way to keep the data secure, including firewalls and user logins
- Defining data elements, keeping the data structure standard across the organization
- Establishing data recovery processes
If a company needs their computer systems to be more efficient or allow for more productive workflow across different departments, they bring in a solutions architect. These professionals design solutions to a business's issues related to computer hardware, programs, applications, and even cloud platforms. First, they assess the current IT system and recommend specific changes. They identify parts of the system that can be saved, making the redesign more cost effective, while also bringing in new hardware and software that is trending in the industry. Finally, solutions architects create a document that outlines the system specifications and requirements to make it possible for modifying the system later.
Job responsibilities of a solutions architect include:
- Estimating the cost of the project based on the scope of the proposed changes
- Clarifying the installation instructions for end users
- Testing the operations of the new system before launching it
- Reporting the project status to project managers and executives
If a future as a data architect seems exciting, you could also consider a career as a software developer, as both are familiar with coding and computer language. If, however, you want to become a solutions architect, you could look into a position as an IT manager, because both integrate technology into a company's business plan.