Solutions Architect is a generic title that blends roles and responsibilities of Infrastructure Architect, Systems Architect, and Applications/Software Architect. Solutions Architects typically work for technology vendors, so they don’t usually perform the traditional architect functions of developing the policies, practices, and standards that govern the IT environment. Instead they design, develop, configure, and deploy technologies.
After thoughtful discussions with technical friends, I’ve concluded that vendors use this job title because it sounds impressive while also simplifying their processes by being generic. If all of your contractors/consultants are Solutions Architects or Senior Solutions Architects then you’re covered for all eventualities. Need an ERP systems implementer, project manager, or an applications developer that specializes in .NET or Java? – you are ensured of having the right staff available. It creates a mix and match environment because the consultancy does not tie itself to an individual, or job role.
I did a quick survey on dice.com using ‘Solutions Architect” as the search term. That search confirmed my perceptions and validated my thoughts. Of the top 10 positions that came up, 9 were for vendors or IT service providers. Although my observations are anecdotal and from a non-scientific survey, they do provide some insight into career implications of the Solutions Architect title.
If you want to continue to work for a consultancy then keeping the Solutions Architect title is fine. If, however, you are looking to make the transition from consultant to full-time employee then you need to start by examining your job title.
So what can you do when your title doesn’t accurately describe your role? Your official job title does need to be included on your resume for employment verification but that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with a title that doesn’t represent what you actually do. Limiting yourself to that job title fails to tell the resume reader about your real experience. Worse yet, not having the right job title may exclude you from being selected for interviews. Here are some quick and easy ways to handle this situation.
1) CLEARWATER TECHNOLOGY SERVICES, INC. — Houston, TX 2010–Present
Solutions Architect (actual job roles: Systems Analyst, Systems Implementer)
2) CLEARWATER TECHNOLOGY SERVICES, INC. — Houston, TX 2010–Present
Performed the role of IT Project Manager for large-scale ERP implementations for Fortune 500 companies.
3) You can also integrate your job roles into your bullet items.
- As a Systems Developer, within one year reduced overall system support costs by 10-person months by implementing multiple Lean Six Sigma projects.
These examples will give you some ideas about how you can position yourself to accurately reflect what you’ve done. IT is notorious for having job titles that don’t accurately reflect what a person does so fine to correct that fallacy.