What Do AWS Solutions Architects Do?
A guide on what AWS Solutions Architects do, and their critical role in helping your business get the most out of the cloud.
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Whatever your business or IT department's size, it's likely you're already using or considering a cloud service for your application hosting, data storage needs, and other IT needs.
If your business is looking to implement or upgrade a new cloud-strategy, maybe for security reasons, to reduce IT costs, or because it's a great practical solution, then AWS Solutions Architects will be your new best friend.
However, you may be asking yourself: but what exactly do AWS Solutions Architects do? Keep reading, and you'll find out! But first:
What is Cloud Computing?
Chances are you already know what the cloud is, and if so please skip this section!
Cloud computing platforms like AWS provide a comprehensive set of services that help you move faster, lower IT costs, and scale applications. These services are delivered via a global network of secure data centres. AWS also enables developers to quickly deploy and manage applications that can run on any computer or device.
AWS cloud is a cost-effective way to build and deploy applications at scale. With no upfront investment, you pay only for the resources you use. You can also take advantage of AWS's pay-as-you-go pricing to test and experiment with new products and services without making a long-term commitment.
AWS cloud is designed to be secure and compliant with industry-recognized standards, such as ISO 27001, SOC 2, and PCI DSS. AWS Cloud also helps you meet your own security and compliance requirements by providing features such as identity and access management (IAM), data encryption, and activity logging.
What is an AWS Solution Architect?
The terminology isn't always clear to everyone. What is AWS Solution Architect? An AWS certified Solutions Architect is a cloud computing expert who designs the architecture of an organization's cloud assets and plans implementation of the design based on Amazon Web Services' platform. AWS Solutions Architects have in-depth knowledge and understanding of cloud computing and how it is used to develop technical cloud strategy and as such they are in high demand.
An AWS Solutions Architect has a unique set of people and technical skills, including:
- Listening and understanding business requirements
- The ability to assimilate information
- The ability to communicate with people at all levels of cloud knowledge from none to expert
- Decision making on best tools to meet requirements
- An overall understanding of concepts in cloud computing
- Deep knowledge of AWS services
- They are experts in AWS architectural best practices
- They are focused on business outcomes
- Basic programming, like Terraform (HCL), CloudFormation, Python, Bash
- Cybersecurity understanding and interest
- Deep cloud architecture knowledge and experience
- Understanding of software systems development life cycle
- Making hardware and software recommendations
- Knowledge of continuous integration processes
- Knowledge of continuous deployment (CICD)
- Database skills
... to name but a few! A solutions architect is an indispensable member of a cloud computing project team focused on architecting solutions to meet client needs.
What is a Solution?
Let's take a step back to look at what the term 'solution' refers to in this context. In short, wherever there is a cloud computing project, the solution is the architecture and plan put in place to meet the client's requirements.
Imagine the architect's plan for a building or public infrastructures like bridges or roads. The architect uses specialized skills to design a solution in the form of a blueprint that is handed off to builders for implementation.
They'll use the solution as a constant reference for what is being built. The solution keeps the team's eyes on the goal and ensures every aspect of the AWS cloud infrastructure functions as intended.
In short, solutions architects ensure that the solution meets all the client's technical needs and budget requirements. They construct detailed and sensible plans for AWS projects.
What Do AWS Solutions Architects Do?
There are several essential core skills that an AWS Solutions Architect must have to get the job done. Let's take a look:
They Meet With You
Before the work begins, an AWS Solutions Architect will meet with you and your team to learn about your cloud computing goals and any problems you have with your existing systems, and the dependencies and requirements of those systems. This type of technical discovery is likely to involve a series of face-to-face onsite and remote meetings.
These initial meetings may begin with a more high-level approach, followed by further discussions to detail and collect your precise requirements and problems you face. The goal is to find a technological solution to meet your cloud computing business goals.
Your AWS Solutions Architect will come into contact with different members of your organization as your cloud journey progresses. Most notably, they will meet with key decision-makers and sometimes people with little or no cloud computing or even technical knowledge.
They Dive Deep Into the Details
Now the challenging part begins. Your AWS Solutions Architect will work with your in-house IT teams (if you have them) to create a scalable cloud solution that is both secure and easy to maintain.
You need your architecture in AWS to be able to grow as your business grows, and it's the AWS SA's role to ensure that's possible.
An AWS Solutions Architect uses software to create diagrams of your target cloud architecture. It means you get a clear and accurate picture of how your applications and other infrastructure will work once completed in AWS.
Using diagram software allows an AWS Certified Solutions Architect to factor in security and cost optimization from the get-go. It's a way of ensuring that troubleshooting is easier further down the line, as is system management.
A AWS Solutions Architect has impeccable time management skills. They have to understand the full scope of the project, the budget constraints, and ensure the proposed solutions are completed on-time within those constraints.
Not only do they listen to your needs, but an AWS Certified Solutions Architect can also write scripts, work on migrations, troubleshoot, find and rectify inefficiencies, and stay up to date with new AWS features.
They Work with You Throughout Every Step of the Project
The ultimate aim of the certified AWS Solutions architect is to provide you with a secure, resilient, cost-effective, scalable, and working solution that's easy to manage.
In this capacity, architects produce designs and plans for implementation based on technical discovery meetings. They will identify the best technology for you and make decisions to create the best possible solution.
At every step, the architect refers back to their client's input and needs. Communication is a crucial part of the process.
They Ensure a Timely and Cost-Effective Solution That Meets Your Business Objectives
The main role of an AWS Solutions Architect is to provide customers with an affordable and cost-efficient solution that's delivered on time. Any business, whatever its size, is concerned with its bottom line. Your AWS Certified Solutions Architect will be aware of this and scale your solution accordingly.
It's an AWS Solution Architect's role to take project limitations into accounts, such as budget, time, resources, risk, and scope.
An AWS Solutions Architect is an indispensable contributor to your AWS project. They're big-picture architects that plan and communicate the project. As with building projects in the physical world, you would never disregard technical expertise of the architect.
They ensure the success of the build beforehand and set a clear plan for the builders to follow. Their specialized skill set allows them to design and plan to create cloud architecture tailored to your business.
How to Become an AWS Certified Solutions Architect?
Certification offers great opportunities to enter the IT profession. Companies all over the world employ AWS Solutions Architects for their internal cloud applications and build and maintain scalable cloud environments.
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate certification is the place to start on your journey to becoming professionally certified. The first step is to visit the AWS Certification website. You will find detailed information about the different certification levels and the exams you will need to take. Once you have decided which level of certification you would like to achieve, you can register for the exam. The exam is a multiple-choice test that covers a wide range of topics related to AWS solutions architecture.
Candidates for this exam are expected to know best practices around advanced network architectures and identify and define the components required to build secure and reliable applications on the AWS platform. AWS certification website lists five domains that will be covered in the exam:
- Domain 1: Design Resilient Architectures
- Domain 2: Define Performant Architectures
- Domain 3: Specify Secure Applications and Architectures
- Domain 4: Design Cost-Optimized Architectures
- Domain 5: Define Operationally Excellent Architectures
The certification website offers study guides and practice exams to help you prepare for the AWS certified solutions architect - associate examination. To prepare for the certification exam, it is recommended that you take an AWS Solutions Architect course offered by an accredited institution. Once you have passed the AWS Solutions Architect exam, you will be awarded your AWS Certified Solutions Architect certificate.
Please note that if you write your exams online proctored through PSI you may run into technical issues if you are on a Mac relating to a mysterious "Remote-Anything Master" prohibited application.
If you are a prospective student of AWS cloud, feel free to reach out to us with questions or for advice.
If your company is looking for assistance with cloud based solutions, Pilotcore can help! Our team can help you every step of your cloud journey so that your organization works at its most cost-effective and optimum level.