Common solution architect interview questions (With answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 16 November 2022

Published 30 November 2021

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.

Interview questions for solution architects aim to reveal a candidate's technical skills and business qualities. This is because solution architects are IT professionals that businesses increasingly rely on to improve software efficacy and complete projects. If you're applying for a solution architect position, it's important to note that there are different types of questions interviewers may ask. In this article, we outline what a solution architect is and list the different types of solution architect interview questions.

Related: The Interview Process: A Complete Guide

Solution architect interview questions

There are several types of solution architect interview questions that interviewers may ask you. It's likely that they'll include some general questions before moving on to some knowledge-based variations. It's important that you answer all questions honestly and concisely to highlight your knowledge of this field. Below are different types of questions that solution architects can expect in an interview:

General questions

General questions help interviews get to know more about you as an individual and discover whether you have the baseline knowledge of what a solution architect job entails.

Some general questions include:

  • What are your career goals?

  • Describe the daily routine of a solution architect.

  • Which area of a solution architect job do you find most challenging?

  • What key qualities do solution architects possess?

  • Why did you leave your last position?

  • Identify the tools used by a solution architect.

  • What jobs do you expect to perform in your first three months of working here?

  • How do solution architects diagnose IT performance issues?

Related: 31 Common Interview Questions and Answers (With Tips)

Experience and background questions

Some positions require you to have a certain level of experience before applying. Experience and background questions allow employers to assess your industry knowledge and how to interpret your skills. They may also ask about previous projects and challenges to see how you function in the workplace. These questions usually produce the most variance in answers, and include:

  • What are your strengths as a solution architect?

  • What highly innovative solution have you created as a solution architect?

  • What are your weaknesses and how do they impact on your solution architect duties?

  • What is your educational background and how does it prepare you for this role?

  • Tell me about a time that a project of yours was unsuccessful and assess what went wrong.

  • What security approach do you take in your solutions?

In-depth questions

In-depth questions require you to explain or describe a certain situation in the past or theoretical future. These questions help interviewers gauge how you approach certain scenarios by encouraging you to apply industry knowledge. Some in-depth software architecture interview questions include:

  • What did you do to ensure that your new standard was active in your last role?

  • Describe a time that you diagnosed the cause of an operational malfunction and fixed it.

  • How can you improve existing software?

  • Describe a time you had to collect data to solve a problem and how you did it.

  • If a client doesn't agree with your assessment, what do you do?

  • What tools might you use to decipher code?

  • Show me a project that demonstrates your coding skills

  • Determine the output of this piece of code.

Common solution architect interview questions and answers

There are some solution architect questions that are more commonly asked than others. This is because interviewers want to know if you're aware of certain processes and whether you're proficient in software operation. Here are some common questions that interviewers may ask and how to answer them:

1. Why do you need clustering?

This question is important, as it assesses whether you're familiar with software architect processes. This question also tests your understanding of how and why they're used. Make sure that you answer this question clearly and in your own words.

Example: 'Clustering allows software architects to achieve 100% availability for server software. In the event that one hardware structure fails, it prevents the chance of services becoming completely unavailable by running a service through multiple outlets. This means that hardware failures or malfunctions are more easily targeted and the correct resources can fix the problem'.

2. What is the most innovative solution you've proposed?

Your past innovative solutions demonstrate your experience with new technologies and show interviewers how you apply them to your work. This question also allows you to showcase your creativity and the ways you respond to unusual situations. Be unique when answering this question by discussing a non-obvious solution.

Example: 'When I worked at Business Company, I had a client that was an insurance provider. The client website focused on detailing the different insurance solutions available to customers and encouraging them to select the right option for them. Since choosing insurance can be tricky, the client wanted to install a feature that allowed customers to view previous insurance plans they'd looked at. Therefore, I created a solution whereby customers could create an account and save their profile for their insurance plans. This led to an increase in customers.'

3. What does the CAP Theorem actually say?

This is another question that requires you to demonstrate your industry knowledge. Provide relevant and concise information and give your answer in the simplest terms. Also, review industry terms before your interview.

Example: 'CAP stands for availability, consistency, and partition tolerance. The theorem states that it's impossible to build a system using asynchronous networks that demonstrate these three properties. This means that the system doesn't always respond to requests and fails to achieve the same expected results every time'.

4. What is computing?

As a solution architect, it's your responsibility to keep up with next-generation technologies and incorporate them into your solutions. This question allows the interviewer to determine whether you can implement internet-based technologies. Explain your definition by outlining some benefits and distinctive features of cloud computing.

Example: 'Cloud computing allows you to access digital information and program online. As an internet-based technology, it delivers on-demand services such as applications and processing power over the Internet. It uses self-service billing, scalability, and elasticity. When implemented properly, it's highly cost effective and enhances access speed'.

5. How can you protect against an injection attack?

This question asks you to demonstrate your ability to come up with viable solutions as and when they occur. You can show your knowledge of injection attacks and provide efficient solutions against them. Keep in mind that there are multiple ways to protect against injection attacks, and you're not required to outline them all.

Example: 'You can protect against injection attacks by avoiding the use of dynamic Structured Query Languages, or SQL. I would continuously monitor SQLs that are in operation by assessing their connection to web applications'.

6. Describe your protocol for ensuring security.

Security is the utmost priority for businesses, and they usually hire solution architects to guarantee it. Therefore, cybersecurity and data protection management are key skills that software architects can demonstrate in an interview. Prepare to explain your protocols if there are additional questions about them.

Example: 'Data backup needs to take place daily to secure cloud-based technology information. I also accompany this with virus protection installations and continuous monitoring. There are several cloud edge security measures I would consider implementing too to protect online platforms where they're most vulnerable to malware'.

7. What is elasticity?

Elasticity is a feature of many internet-based solutions, including cloud computing. Understanding the characteristics of next-generation technologies ensures you can draw upon them according to their abilities and assess how different properties can help solve a problem. Make sure your answer is concise and relevant to the question.

Example: 'Elasticity means that a system automatically scales up or down to meet resource demand as they're added or removed. This means that the system is adaptable through automatic resource management, which can aid system scalability'.

8. What can a solutions architect do to support functional analysts?

Functional analysts and solution architects usually work alongside each other in business settings. You want to show the interviewer that you can successfully hone your abilities to service the needs of functional analysts, and the ways you would do this. Answering this question well can indicate to your interviewer that you have a deep understanding of your responsibilities.

Example: 'To foster good communication and collaboration between myself and functional analysts, I believe it's important to be approachable and to show enthusiasm when helping them with solutions. It's sometimes necessary to take on a leadership role to ensure your team adheres to deadlines'.

Software architect interview preparation tips

There are factors to consider other than the interview questions when it comes to preparing for your interview. You can also:

  • research the company

  • clean up your portfolio

  • prepare questions to ask the interviewer

  • construct a strong closing statement

  • dress professionally

  • provide clear answers

Related: 12 Essential Architect Skills

What is a solution architect?

A solution architect is a professional who oversees the development of software solutions for businesses. These solutions help businesses to complete tasks or overcome performance problems. Solution architects also design, manage, and engineer solutions that relate to specific problems concerning hardware or software systems that are vital for business operations. This means they manage projects from initial vision through to execution. A solution architect may also have technical skills and specialist knowledge in a range of areas, including:

  • system security measures

  • computer and engineering systems

  • business analysis

  • DevOps

  • infrastructure and engineering design

Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

Related:

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  • Solution architect vs enterprise architect (with tips)

  • Guide to solutions architect responsibilities (with skills)

  • How to become a solutions architect (plus key skills)

  • How much does an AWS solutions architect make? (With duties)


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