Comparing Solutions Architects to Development Managers
As technical professionals, solutions architects and development managers design software and computer systems. Solutions architects focus on building a cohesive technological environment to make a company more efficient, while development managers are interested in designing the software used by companies or sold as consumer goods.
|Job Title||Educational Requirements||Median Salary (2018)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)**|
|Solutions Architects||Bachelor's Degree||$114,758||6% (Computer Network Architects)|
|Development Managers||Bachelor's Degree||$119,785 (Software Development Managers)||24% (Software Developers)|
Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Responsibilities of Solutions Architects vs. Development Managers
Solutions architects and development managers both determine a user's needs either through talking to employees, looking at system documents, or observing the workflow. When working internally for a company, these professionals may work together, with solutions architects often calling the shots. This is because solutions architects come up with the framework for the system and development managers make it a reality by building it. Both are leaders in their own right, however, as development managers head their own teams, while solutions architects work on teams with engineers and developers.
Solutions architects takes an organization's goals and issues and turn them into a technological design that ensures all the parts of the technical environment work together, including applications, systems, and platforms. First, they review the current architecture and establish the needs of the client before researching to see how others have solved similar issues. Then, they test new technology to see how and if it will fit the new design. These architects are also responsible for supervising the installation of new hardware and software, as well as training end-users on how to interface with the new system.
Job responsibilities of a solutions architect include:
- Focusing the design on the technology that will help a company meet its unique goals
- Studying new breakthroughs in technology to offer clients updated solutions
- Building relationships with technology vendors who may offer deals on the newest software and hardware
- Determining what hardware may need to be updated to handle new software
Acting as project managers on development teams, development managers design software applications and computer systems. Some write the computer code to program the software, while others simply oversee the coding as the team works through it. All managers cultivate a scope for company projects or sign a proposal for client projects, which includes budgets and deadlines. They also test prototypes during the development process, making necessary changes to better fit the user requirements. Finally, development managers may work with sales teams to determine how to market the features of the product.
Job responsibilities of a development manager include:
- Determining which tasks the team should prioritize to successfully meet deadlines
- Evaluating employees on their team and providing constructive feedback
- Updating stakeholders on the progress of the development
- Documenting the features of each release to track updates
If a future as a solutions architect designing technical solutions for a company's efficiency issues sounds interesting, you may want to also consider a career as a computer information systems manager. However, if you're seeking a career as a development manager, creating software from scratch or reverse engineering software, a position as a software engineer may be for you.