Solutions Architect Vs. Sales Engineer

Readers will learn the similarities and differences between these professionals, including their degree requirements, salaries, career outlooks, and their responsibilities related to developing and selling technology to companies.

Comparing Solutions Architects to Sales Engineers

Though they deal with similar computer solutions, such as intranets or integrated computer programs, the focuses of these professionals differ. Solutions architects aim to outline a computer system, while sales engineers are tasked with selling technologically based products.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Solutions Architects Bachelor's Degree $114,983 (2017)** 9% (Computer Occupations, all other)
Sales Engineers Bachelor's Degree $100,000 7%

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

Responsibilities of Solutions Architects vs. Sales Engineers

Solutions architects and sales engineers may meet with individual clients to better understand their business goals. This helps these technical professionals better understand any gaps in the client's computer system that may be causing them production or efficiency issues, and they can create technical solutions to these issues. Solutions architects develop the software and programs that may help departments share data or communicate faster. Sales engineers use their expertise to convince organizations to purchase the machines and technologies they are selling because they will solve problems.

Solutions Architects

When a company wants to increase productivity, or make workflow more intuitive, solutions architects come in and integrate software, hardware, and shared platforms. These architects, along with project managers, should first understand the scope of the project. Knowing what technological systems are already in place may help them combine applications, such as word processors and data processors, to increase efficiency. Talking to employees and understanding what kind of system interface they will find most easy to use will also help architects during the development stage. They will also consider the system requirements to ensure the hardware can handle the new software and drivers, which is why an understanding of both Windows and iOS platforms is beneficial.

Job responsibilities of a solutions architect include:

  • Developing and testing prototypes of software and application solutions
  • Generating programming codes for programs in computer languages, including JavaScript and HTML
  • Writing technical manuals to make onboarding new users easier
  • Establishing a delivery estimate for completed projects

Sales Engineers

With a degree and experience in engineering, sales engineers are able to sell software and hardware products to companies. Knowing the available technologies their company offers means these engineers can explain the functions of these goods to potential customers. In fact, they may present the technical aspects of software and hardware to customers during formal conferences. Additionally, they may teach regular sales teams how to describe the products in common, easy-to-understand terms. Understanding a customer's computer system can help sales engineers recommend new machines and software. They may also have to rewrite the code and modify the product for the customer's specific system requirements.

Job responsibilities of a sales engineer include:

  • Researching the market to find gaps in business technology
  • Discussing pricing with customers and offering them available deals
  • Planning deliveries and installations
  • Taking calls from customers who need help troubleshooting issues with the new technology

Related Careers

If you're researching a career as a solutions architect, you may also look into a future as an IT manager, as these professionals also use technology to boost a company's productivity. If a job as a sales engineer interests you, a position as a sales manager might be appealing because both are experts in promoting products.


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