Monday, January 28, 2013

Definitions #5: SharePoint Solutions Architect

Whether you use the term "SharePoint Solutions Architect" or "SharePoint Architect", you'll start to run into some very blurry lines, but there are some common themes as I compare job descriptions of different companies for their Solutions Architect postings. This is a job title that I do not advise advertising to your candidates unless you have a VERY accurate and detailed description of duties to go along with it in your recruiting e-mails and phone calls.  Before I became a farm admin, I interviewed at the Indianapolis office of a major global consulting firm. As part of their interview process, I spoke with that organization's Solutions Architect. Very interestingly, he described himself as the man who "knows everything but does nothing." +John Ferringer  :-)

In general, the architect is responsible for the overall architecture of platforms, ensuring successful integration of systems, ensuring overall security, and ensuring adherence to enterprise standards and compliance requirements. The architect will work with both systems administrators and developers to ensure the integrity of all applications within the platform, ensure that applications and platforms are properly analyzed, maintained, and documented.

In many cases, the architect should have some project lead experience, having good soft skills, as they will be frequently interfacing and reporting to leads representing the client or customer. This person also needs to be able to positively interface with both internal and external partners, vendors, etc., and potentially even C-level leadership.

The architect should have a broad knowledge of systems architecture, operating systems, systems administration, particularly within the scope of SharePoint. While developer skills are not a must-have deal-breaker requirement of this position, the architect should at least know where the lines are drawn between out-of-the-box and custom developed and deployed, and should be able to make general recommendations with regards to choosing best approach for solutions to meet business needs. That said... an architect will be much more valuable to an organization if he or she has a solid experience as a developer.

Key Recruiting Take-Away: In short, the Solutions Architect is a problem-solver. This person should have proven ability to find solutions to complex business needs and processes, and be able to effectively coordinate teams to build and integrate solutions.

Resume Search Terms: SharePoint Architect, Solutions Architect, SharePoint Solutions Architect, Systems Architect.

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