Being an AWS solutions architect means you need to use your skills and expertise to develop and design cloud-based solutions and transfer existing workloads to the cloud. The AWS cloud platform serves thousands of businesses across 190 countries. According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary of an AWS solution architect can range from $87,594 to $191,641. Working as an SA, you will have to plan, design, and scale AWS cloud implementations using the top services provided by Amazon.
Solution Architecture (SA) is the process of designing a set of applications, enterprise solutions, and processes that combine with one another to address specific requirements and needs. Simply put, it is an architectural description of a specific solution.
As an SA, you will have to do the following:
- Recommend best practices for the solution.
- Select the technology stack and perform a resource examination.
- Comply with all technical and business requirements.
- Act as a mediator between the technical and sales team to successfully transform requirements into outcomes.
- Carefully examine project constraints to assess alternatives, identify threats, and mitigate risks.
DevOps is the amalgamation of cultural philosophies, tools, and practices to improve the ability of a company to deliver its services and applications at a faster rate. According to Jefferson Frank’s AWS market trends and Salary survey, DevOps is the top skill required for AWS solutions architect professionals in 2020. By introducing innovation in business, it has successfully changed the business world. This model focuses on integration and development, which is helpful to SaaS applications.
Cloud specific patterns and technologies
This is one of the most essential skills you need to have to become an AWS solutions architect. Cloud offerings define the functionality offered by cloud providers to effectively process workload, communication, and data storage. You should be capable of using the AWS infrastructure perfectly. You should also know how to handle failure to generate cost-effective applications.
You must possess strong communication skills to succeed in this field. In order to convey the risks, challenges, and selling points of the solution clearly to your colleagues and your team, you need to communicate efficiently. You must also be able to provide suggestions, explanations and have the ability to influence and navigate the solution using your skills.
Risk management and identification
You must be able to recognize, assess, and mitigate risks to successfully deliver the solution. You should know how to identify and reduce threats with the help of tests in performance, user experience, security, etc.
Computer and operating systems
This is another crucial skill required to become an AWS solutions architect. Without having a deep understanding of operating systems and networking, you will struggle to develop secure solutions. You should know everything about TCP/IP, DNS, CDN, VPC, and HTTP. You should also be able to make use of Amazon Web Services like Route 53 and CloudFront to design cloud networking using private and public subnets and VPC peering.
As an AWS solutions architect, you will have to design and develop technical solutions to meet your customer needs and business goals. Along with formulating solution plans, you will also have to provide guidance on AWS architectural best practices. You will also be identifying cost control mechanisms and selecting the suitable AWS service based on data, security requirements, and databases.
System Security Measures
Learning about Identity and Management Access (IAM) will help you find out which resources can be used by which users, groups, and roles.
Data storage fundamentals
There are several data storage options available in AWS. Therefore, you need to know which ones to use and when. For example, S3 Standard is suitable for frequently accessed data that needs to be delivered with high throughput and low latency, whereas S3 Standard-IA is used for data that is not required much but should be quickly accessible. Knowing about data storage fundamentals will make it easier for you to choose the best option to store data by comparing the prices, capabilities, and performance.
This is also an essential skill required for AWS solutions architects. The most common container tools used are Docker and Kubernetes. These tools enable you to efficiently create hybrid applications and scale machine learning models. Containers allow you to operate applications from one computing environment to another in a reliable and quick manner. AWS container services are used widely as they strengthen the AWS cloud.
Tips for Solution Architects to keep their skills sharp
Just like any other IT field, AWS is constantly evolving. Researching and learning about new features and services launched by AWS will help you stay up-to-date. To do so, you can read up on the latest AWS tools and services, industry updates, solution blog posts, and trends. This will provide you with an instant snapshot of details that may prove to be useful for your customer’s needs or your career. As an SA, you will also have discussion boards where trusted experts will tell you about the newest updates and best practices.
Build a learning plan with goals
Maintain a learning plan for yourself. Everyone learns at a different pace; understanding how you learn and where you want to take your skills and career is important. Make use of the multiple sources available online in order to learn new skills and strengthen your old ones. Ensure your plan includes an AWS certification. There are several courses available online to help you earn one. Each one of them offers customized, prescriptive content that will prepare you for your certification exam. Challenge yourself to achieve one or more of the six AWS specialty-level certifications.
To flourish in your field and take your skills one step forward, reach out, build connections, and form a network with your colleagues and professionals. Learn from others’ successes and failures. Attending meetups is a great way of coming in contact with trusted experts. Presenting your points of view at meetups will help you receive negative or positive feedback, and you can work on them accordingly. You can even attend meetups virtually.
On the basis of your interests, you can specialize in any area, such as big data, robotics, or artificial intelligence. This will further sharpen your skills in the field of your choice, making you a member of the specialist team. In addition, there is an appropriate number of resources available that will help you cultivate expertise in your area of specialization, like specialized ebooks, blogs, and case studies.
Watch Event Sessions
In order to increase your knowledge and train yourself, you can subscribe to various tech talks. Some of the sessions from AWS are available on YouTube on demand for easy reference. These sessions will help you in adapting and learning a new skill or understanding a new topic.
Be a builder
Implementation is the best way to learn anything. You can either build a project or a proof of concept. This will allow you to combine all the theories, content, and approaches from the previous points into a tangible learning and upskilling outcome. AWS offers you a number of out-of-the-box solutions and sample codes to help you get started. With the help of technical documents, coding languages, and online videos, you can learn new technologies, which will allow you to complete a proof of a concept and develop a deeper understanding of the topic.
Work on your time management skills by planning your days, prioritizing your tasks, and avoiding distractions. This will help you stay focused and dedicated. As a solutions architect, you will have to do several things: attend meetings, write scripts, travel to onsite meetings with a customer, work on migrations, keep up with the latest AWS features via online training, and troubleshooting.
AWS is an ever-evolving field, and the career outlook for an AWS solutions architect is excellent. Being a solutions architect requires you to have a broad set of skills, making it one of the highest-paying jobs in the IT industry. It is crucial to have an SA on your team in a challenging technology environment to align your business requirements with technology solutions.