What Is an AWS Solution Architect? Course, Career, Job, Salary

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This guide will help you start an AWS solution architect career and explain the different jobs and certifications.

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The AWS solution architect may be one of tech's most exciting and rewarding roles. The job involves designing, building, and maintaining scalable and reliable systems using AWS infrastructure.  AWS solution architect jobs are in high demand, and working as one can be fun. 

An advanced technical skill set is needed to work as an AWS solution architect. They must also communicate effectively with technical and non-technical staff and have strong project management skills.

What does an AWS solution architect do?

AWS Solution Architects help organisations design and implement cloud solutions using Amazon Web Services (AWS), working with customers to understand their needs and requirements and designing and building the most efficient and effective solution possible. They also collaborate with other teams within AWS projects to ensure the solution is implemented correctly and efficiently. In addition, the responsibility for monitoring the solution's performance and troubleshooting any issues that may arise is theirs. Here is a breakdown of some of the typical tasks performed in this role:

  • Design, deploy, and manage the organisation's cost-effective, scalable cloud infrastructures.

  • Identify the company's business objectives and develop cloud-based solutions.

  • Modernise obsolete systems inside a company to make them more efficient.

  • Keep downtime and security breaches to a minimum in the cloud setting.

  • Evaluate the risk of third-party platforms and frameworks.

  • Investigate methods to improve corporate operations by digitising routine processes.

  • Perform the enterprise's internal cloud application development, construction, and maintenance.

  • Keep abreast of the newest cloud computing developments and work to improve the organisation's cloud infrastructure.

  • Communicate with internal teams such as IT, sales, and operations.

  • Develop apps to suit project requirements.

  • Make hardware and software suggestions based on the organisation's and project's needs.

Required skills and characteristics for AWS solution architect

A combination of technical, business, and workplace skills is essential to becoming an AWS solution architect. On the technical side, the AWS solution architect’s skills will cover cloud computing, networking, and storage. They become experts with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and how to use its various services.

On the business side, experience working in an IT or software development role enables AWS architects to understand the functional side of the business. They must communicate effectively and appropriately with all stakeholders about technical topics. 

Here are some more competencies needed to work as an AWS solution architect:

  • Flexibility and desire to learn: An AWS solution architect must have the ability to be flexible and adapt to new technologies quickly, as well as the desire to learn new things to keep up with the latest trends in the industry.

  • Analytical skills: Analyse data and problems quickly and efficiently to find creative solutions to complex problems.

  • Problem-solving aptitude: You must possess excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to think outside the box and break complex problems down to find workable solutions.

  • Time management: Effective time management is essential for a solution architect. Multiple work streams are often done simultaneously, and tasks must be prioritised to meet milestones and deadlines.

  • Teamwork and workplace skills: AWS architects must be team players, work well with others in a collaborative environment, and thrive in a fast-paced workplace.

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: What’s the difference?

AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud are the most popular cloud service providers. So, what’s the difference? AWS is very popular and possibly the most feature-rich. However, it can be more expensive than the other two options. Azure is a close second to AWS in terms of features and popularity. It's typically more cost-friendly than AWS. Google Cloud is the least popular of the three but is often the cheapest.

Types of AWS cloud computing services

AWS is a market-leading option for those wanting to work with cloud computing solutions that can provide the flexibility and scalability that businesses need. AWS offers three primary cloud computing categories: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service is a cloud computing model where users can rent infrastructure resources from AWS, such as storage, networking, and computing power. It's a viable option for those who don’t want to invest in their own infrastructure or if you need the flexibility to scale up or down quickly. 

Software as a service (SaaS)

Software as a Service is a cloud computing model that offers software on a subscription basis. This means you can access and use the software without installing it on a user's server. 

Platform as a service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service is a cloud computing model where users can deploy and run applications on AWS without managing the underlying infrastructure. This is an excellent option for those who want to develop their applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.

Becoming an AWS-certified solutions architect

Becoming an AWS solution architect is easy, but a few things need to be done first to make it happen. Here are the steps:

Education and experience

Becoming an AWS solutions architect requires the proper education and experience. There are several paths to becoming a solutions architect in the UK. Most solutions architects generally require a degree or postgraduate qualification in computing and related areas, such as computer science, programming, software development, software engineering, or cloud computing. As AWS solutions architects have expertise in AWS software, extra qualifications and expertise in this area are required.

For those without a degree, a digital and technology solutions degree apprenticeship provides an alternate way to enter this career path. Generally, 4 or 5 GCSEs and A levels are required to enter this apprenticeship.

Join an approved AWS training programme

Many training programmes can help prepare for the AWS Solutions Architect – Associate Exam. Amazon offers some of these programmes, while third-party providers provide others.  Choosing a programme approved by Amazon can help ensure the best preparation for the exam.

Pass the AWS Solutions Architect–Associate Exam

After completing an approved training programme, earning certification will require passing the AWS Solutions Architect–Associate Exam. This exam tests knowledge of AWS solutions architecture and ensures the ability to design and implement scalable, reliable, and secure architectures. 

Requirements to take the exam 

While there are no formal requirements to take this exam, Amazon Web Services recommends the experience and knowledge needed to pass. These include the following:

  • Possess at least one year of practical experience utilising AWS technology

  • Be able to manage AWS services for computing, networking, storage, and databases.

  • know about establishing security controls and compliance regulations.

  • Know how to install, manage, and run workloads on AWS.

  • Know how to use the AWS Management Console and Command Line Interface.

  • Be able to recognise technical specifications for an AWS-based application.

  • Know about AWS global infrastructure, networking, security services, and the Well-Architected Framework.

Registering for the exam requires creating an Amazon Web Services website account. You can also prepare for the exam with AWS Certified Solutions Architect—Associate on Coursera. This Course teaches the skills and knowledge needed to succeed as an AWS solution architect.

What is the average AWS solution architect's salary?

The average base pay for AWS solutions architects in the UK is £65,308 annually [1]. The career outlook for this position is positive. The UK National Careers Services reports the average annual salary for Solutions Architects falls between £36,000 and £85,000 [2]. Differences in pay will come from experience, location, qualifications, and job responsibilities. 

Why get an AWS solutions architect associate certification?

Getting an AWS solution architect associate certification is a great way to advance in cloud computing. The certification demonstrates that the holder possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to design, deploy, and manage applications on Amazon Web Services.

AWS solution architect certification enables holders to do the following:

  • Build a solid knowledge of cloud technology 

  • Demonstrate commitment to your career path

  • Improve employability and salary

  • Expand your professional network

  • Develop skills that benefit your employer

Other AWS certifications

Many different AWS certifications are available, each designed for a specific type of professional. For example, there are certifications for programmers, system administrators, security professionals, and data scientists. Each of these certifications is for those with different experiences and goals and trains for additional knowledge and competencies:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner for beginners

  • AWS Certified Developer (Associate)

  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator (Associate) 

  • AWS Certified Data Analytics (Specialty) 

  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking (Specialty) 

  • AWS Certified Security (Specialty) 

  • AWS Certified Database (Specialty)

  • AWS Certified Big Data (Specialty) 

  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer (Professional) 

Is an AWS solutions architect role right for me?

Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether an AWS solutions architect role suits you. Think about what kinds of tasks you enjoy doing. Do you like working with code? Do you like designing systems? If you answered yes to either of these questions, an AWS solution architect role might be a good fit. 

Then, consider your skill set. Do you have experience working with AWS? Do you feel confident using the AWS console and CLI? If so, you likely have the skills to build toward an AWS solution architect role. 

Launch your AWS solutions architect career

If you're ready to become an AWS solution architect, consider taking online courses or completing a Professional Certificate to learn skills and knowledge to build your cloud architecture career.

You can start with the AWS Fundamentals Specialisation or AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate, offered by AWS on Coursera.

Article sources


Glassdoor. “AWS Solutions Architect Salaries in the United Kingdom, https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/aws-solutions-architect-salary-SRCH_KO0,23.htm?clickSource=careerNav.” Accessed May 17, 2024.

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