Solution architect vs enterprise architect (with tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 28 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The technological environment is evolving rapidly, while business requirements are constantly shifting. Solutions and enterprise architects assist organisations in identifying methods to optimise their workflow through technology. Knowing the key differences between solution architect vs enterprise architect professions might help you decide which career path to take. In this article, we compare the two positions, explore their skills and provide tips that both professionals can apply in their roles.

Solution architect vs enterprise architect

Although the two professionals often work in the same team, the tasks that a solution architect vs enterprise architect performs differ significantly. An enterprise architect recognises an issue, whereas a solutions architect devises a solution to it. The duties of each role are available below:

What is a solutions architect?

A solutions architect is an IT expert who designs and adapts systems to meet organisational demands. They examine the company's issues and then look for technological methods to help solve specific business challenges. Solutions architects are members of the design team, which also comprises computer network engineers and enterprise architects. They deliver solutions while the rest of the team concentrates on putting their plan into action. A solutions architect's responsibilities include:

  • resolving technical issues

  • choosing a framework, technology stack or platform to assist in developing a solution

  • managing and directing development teams

  • notifying stakeholders about issues with current solutions

  • considering the business implications of various technical choices

  • keeping stakeholders informed about project development and costs

  • testing and integrating software systems

  • keeping the solution development team motivated and on track throughout the systems development life cycle

  • defining the solution's vision

Related: Common solution architect interview questions (with answers)

What is an enterprise architect?

An enterprise architect is an IT specialist who ensures that an organisation achieves its goals by implementing appropriate technologies. These professionals help companies to reduce expenses and regulate technology environments. They provide information on new technology and how it may help companies enhance their processes. The duties of an enterprise architect include:

  • developing business architect models in line with a company's objectives

  • identifying methods to cut IT expenditure

  • developing compliance architecture

  • keeping an organisation's IT infrastructure and services up to date

  • enhancing business services

  • providing business and data integration management strategies

  • sharing how technology can help meet investors' business needs

  • keeping track of project progress

Related: What does an enterprise architect do?

Differences between a solution architect and an enterprise architect

The main differences between these roles include:

Job duties

A solutions architect concentrates on finding a solution to a specific problem. Usually, the project they work with limits and tailors their responsibilities. A solutions architect bridges the gap between the project's objective vision and technology implementation.

An enterprise architect typically has a broader range of responsibilities. They're in charge of a company's architectural domains, such as data, to ensure that they align with company objectives. This may include assessing the resolutions of the solutions architect. They use IT techniques to influence a company's business decisions, resulting in a more efficient process. In addition, an enterprise architect takes charge of leadership and strategic planning.

Related: What does an architect do? (Responsibilities explained)

Education

Both architect positions require a bachelor's degree. Solutions architects typically hold a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, Software Engineering or a closely related discipline. They learn how to address problems using various systems and applications. Solutions architects may choose to complete a master's degree to increase their work opportunities.

Enterprise architects commonly earn a bachelor's degree in information technology or management information systems. A business minor can assist students in better understanding how to communicate with their stakeholders. Many enterprise architects complete a master's degree on topics such as enterprise information and security to help them with the business management aspect of their jobs.

Related: What is TOGAF? Specialisations and job roles

Skills and experience

It's important for these professionals to be good communicators, project managers and leaders to do their jobs well. Solutions architects require analytical thinking skills since they focus on solving problems. A solid understanding of coding languages is beneficial for architects to understand how to apply their ideas to new systems and explain technical concepts to stakeholders. Organisations seek solutions architects experienced in network administration, IT, software development and project development life cycles.

Strong design abilities and stakeholder management are two important skills for enterprise architect professionals. Since they work directly with businesses, consensus-building skills ensure stakeholders' cooperation and agreement. Enterprise architects work with solutions architects' concepts, so it's important for them to know how to expand models and add new data.

Salary

Enterprise architects typically earn a higher salary than solutions architects since this is a more senior position comprising diverse duties. The national average salary for a solutions architect is £70,743 per year. These specialists may also receive an annual cash bonus. The national average salary of an enterprise architect is £81,040 per year. Salaries can vary widely depending on a person's location and years of expertise. Those with specific credentials in either architect profession may have a higher earnings potential.

Related: A step-by-step guide on how to become a cloud architect

Professional level

Enterprise architects are at the top of the architect hierarchy. Therefore, they take responsibility for more tasks than solutions architects. While solutions architects concentrate on resolving issues, enterprise architects consider organisational operations. Application architects, who work on specific applications, are one level above solutions architects, although their roles are relatively similar. Solutions architects don't usually require extensive business experience because they rarely interface with clients. Many solutions architects progress to becoming enterprise architects as they gain experience.

Tips for solutions and enterprise architects

Here are some tips that solutions and enterprise architects can use in their professions:

Encourage communication

The success of software architecture depends on communication between the development team and stakeholders. As an architect, good communication ensures that you design appropriate software and write well-organised and understandable code. Well-written code works efficiently within the architecture to generate the results that the company requires.

Focus on adaptability

Adaptability is how technology changes without requiring migration code or other comparable techniques. Base your architecture design choices on the best practices of adaptability. Performance and modularity are two important features of maintainable, adaptable software. Well-written code determines performance, while decoupled code determines modularity.

Related: How to become an IT architect: a comprehensive guide

Analyse and choose correct alternatives

Choose your architecture and ensure that you select the correct building pieces for the intended outcome. Familiar choices aren't always optimal and might quickly escalate into significant congestion points. Projects or strategies are rarely perfect at the first attempt, so expect to correct some errors in the software system. Issues may initially arise due to developing challenges, so begin with your generic image and work towards defining the details.

Optimise the design

Ensure that the system's optimum design and architecture can change depending on the software and the project's requirements. Typically, after the initial versions, requirements for significant changes may emerge. In most cases, you can change the architecture to migrate and add these features to the initial design over the application development life cycle.

Maintain good documentation and inputs

Robust and profitable software solutions require the user's attention and interaction to maintain them from the beginning and follow good practice standards. Reliable software requires good documentation and sound procedures. Details are important, so read and follow directions carefully. Take thorough notes for future reference and implement an effective change management strategy. Consider also asking a trusted colleague or reviewer for feedback.

Plan your strategy

Decide on the structure and behaviour of the software system before considering deployment methods. Characterise elements of the building blocks based on functional and non-functional needs. Also, consider any technological or organisational constraints you may encounter. Create a system that can execute multiple processes. Simplify a complex application into small, independently deployable processes using microservices. This can assist you in observing the differences and progressions between the unified application and the microservices to study each system component's effectiveness.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

Explore more articles