AWS (Amazon Web Services) Solutions Architects have many consequential responsibilities. Specifically, they are hired to design, deploy, and maintain cloud solutions using Amazon Web Services or AWS.
The role of AWS Solutions Architect is to bridge the gap between some pressing business problems and its technology solution. As the role's name suggests, the tech solutions they are responsible for building are limited to that of the AWS Suite, which includes over 150 tech solutions.
At the end of the day, an AWS certified Solutions Architect can wield tremendous influence over the success of their organization and its various projects.
So, as you can imagine, AWS certified Solutions Architects are some of the highest-paid tech professionals given this intense level of responsibility, necessary knowledge/experience, and potential value to a firm.
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Are you thinking about becoming an AWS Solutions Architect?
Well, we've written this comprehensive guide that'll cover everything you need to know about the compensation and salaries of AWS Solutions Architects.
Table of Contents:
- What Is AWS?
- What does an AWS Solutions Architect Do?
- AWS Solutions Architect Job Levels
- What is the Average Salary for an AWS Solutions Architect?
- Where Are AWS Architects Paid the Most?
- Types of AWS Solutions Architects
- How to Negotiate the Best AWS Solutions Architect Salary
- How Much Experience Do You Need to Become an AWS Solutions Architect?
- FAQs About AWS Solutions Architect Salaries
What Is AWS?
AWS is "Amazon Web Services," a suite of on-demand cloud computing services and APIs.
AWS was founded and developed in the 2000s, roughly around the first SaaS cloud providers emerged.
Since then, it has become the most used and most popular cloud computing platform globally by a considerable margin.
There is an enormous amount of things you can do using AWS services (which is primarily why AWS certified Solutions Architects are generally so well paid). Anything from:
- Using the cloud to host a website or other online content,
- Set up and manage cloud-based databases,
- Deploying machine learning models,
- Storing and developing codebases in the cloud,
And much, much more can be done using the AWS platform.
As we mentioned, AWS is the most popular cloud provider in the world. Many of the biggest companies, such as Netflix, Twitter, General Electric, Sony, and Disney, rely on AWS for their cloud services.
However, countless small and medium-sized businesses and organizations also use AWS for various purposes.
What Does An AWS Solutions Architect Do?
The role of AWS Solutions Architect is relatively complex.
However, in a nutshell, these individuals are responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining a company's AWS cloud computing architecture and solutions.
Of course, AWS Solutions Architects will not be doing any of these things alone. The role is inherently cross-functional in nature and will require working with dozens of different stakeholders and departments.
But, at the end of the day, when asking what an AWS Solutions Architect does, the answer is simple: they use AWS to design solutions for company problems.
AWS Solutions Architect Job Levels
Like many mid to upper-level tech positions, many companies today have several levels of AWS Solutions Architect.
Of course, the higher the level, the higher the potential salary and compensation.
Generally speaking, there are three primary levels of Solutions Architect. These are:
- Entry-Level AWS Solutions Architects: There are "entry-level" AWS Solutions Architects. These individuals may not have much (or any) professional experience working as a Solutions Architect and, therefore, will have the lowest average salaries of all AWS certified Solutions Architects.*
- Associate AWS Solution Architects: After a couple years of professional experience, you may still be considered a junior or associate AWS Solutions Architect. In many organizations, these individuals are simply referred to as "Solutions Architects," however.
- Senior AWS Solution Architects: After many years (or even decades) of working as a Solutions Architect, you can be promoted into Senior AWS Solutions Architect roles. These roles, especially, can command incredibly high salaries at certain companies.
*Nevertheless, 'entry-level' AWS Solutions Architects will still be highly experienced tech professionals, so their compensation will still be relatively high.
Depending on the size and scope of an organization, there may be several other levels than these three.
For example, in many Big Tech companies (that require lots and lots of Solutions Architects), the most senior of Senior AWS Solutions Architects may get a further title - Principle AWS Solutions Architect.
Beyond this, if the Solutions Architect is promoted further, it'll be into upper management or executive level positions.
What is the Average Salary for an AWS Solutions Architect?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for an AWS Solution Architect in the United States is just over $150,000 annually.
This means that most AWS-certified Solutions Architects make more than $70 per hour.
Nevertheless, you may find a considerable range of possible salaries for AWS Solutions Architects. Some may be paid more than $200,000/year, and others as low as $80,000/year.
Ultimately, how much you'll end up making as an AWS Solutions Architect depends on your experience and expertise, your certifications, your education, and who is in your professional network.
Besides the paycheck, AWS Solutions Architects will typically receive other forms of compensation, as is the case with many tech roles.
This additional compensation is usually in the form of RSUs (Restricted Stock Units) and bonuses.
For example, according to Levels.fyi, at Amazon, AWS Solutions Architects, depending on their level, make anywhere from $110,000 - $185,000 as a base salary and anywhere between $19,000 - $171,000 in stocks and $15,000 - $53,000 in bonuses every year.
So, while the average salary of an AWS Solutions Architect is around $150,000/year, the total compensation they will earn can be anywhere from $150,000 - $400,000 per year when accounting for stocks and bonuses.
Where Are AWS Architects Paid the Most?
Like many tech positions, your salary may vary considerably depending on your location.
Of course, the cost of living is different everywhere you go. As a result, some companies in specific locations will be forced to pay AWS Solutions Architects more than others.
According to ZipRecruiter, the locations in the US with the highest AWS Solutions Architect salaries are:
- Green River, WY - $186,213
- Atkinson, NE - $185,727
- Mountain View, CA - $175,224
- San Francisco, CA - $172,910
- Bolinas, CA - $172,201
- Cool Valley, MO - $171,677
- Washington, DC - $170,664
- Aristocrat Ranchettes, CO - $169,829
- Somerville, MA - $168,204
- Los Angeles, CA - $168,037
Types of AWS Solutions Architects
Of course, there is not just one type of AWS Solution Architect. With over 150 solutions available, Architects have room to specialize and differentiate themselves from one another.
In general, you can distinguish an AWS certified Solution Architect role into two main categories. These are Generalist Solutions Architects, such as Cloud Architects or Technical Architects, and Specialist Solutions Architects, such as Data Architects or Infrastructure Architects.
Within those two categories, however, there are many types of Solutions Architecture roles. Each may receive varying levels of compensation. For example, ZipRecruiter found that AWS Security Architects make more than the average AWS certified Solution Architect by more than $10,000/year.
The most common types of AWS Solutions Architects are:
Generalist Solutions Architect:
- Solutions Architect
- Technical Architect
- Enterprise Solutions Architect
- Cloud Architect
Specialist Solutions Architect:
- Data Architect
- Infrastructure Architect
- Network Architect
- DevOps Architect
- Security Architect
How to Negotiate the Best AWS Solutions Architect Salary
No matter the tech role, a common mistake job candidates make is not negotiating their salary while receiving job offers.
We know that this can feel intimidating or even rude, but failing to negotiate can have you leaving thousands of dollars on the table and missing out on getting the best offer possible.
So, if you're applying for an AWS Solutions Architect role, here are some helpful tips to help you get the best compensation possible:
Also, be sure to watch the simulation of a tech salary negotiation above to see some of these tips in practice.
Know your worth
Be sure you know and understand the going market rate for an AWS certified Solutions Architect salary at your current experience level and at comparable companies.
Otherwise, you put yourself at risk of accepting a lowball offer without even realizing it.
Negotiations start early
Don't expect salary negotiations to only happen at the end of the interview process.
Your initial calls to recruiters will likely involve conversations about compensation expectations, so don't get caught off guard.
Don't lowball yourself
Knowing your worth is essential, but try to avoid lowballing yourself or opening yourself up to be lowballed.
During salary negotiations, recruiters or hiring managers may ask you about your current compensation or even ask what the minimum level of acceptable compensation would be for the role.
Remember that negotiations are all about leverage.
If you were to, for example, say that "$80,000/year would be the lowest I'd be willing to accept," don't expect your compensation to be much higher than that in the end.
Consider the entire compensation package
Many tech jobs, especially at bigger companies, will almost always involve some other form of compensation other than the base salary.
You should keep this in mind when negotiating. For example, one company could offer you a role for a smaller base salary but a significant amount of stock options and vice versa.
Get competing job offers
Finally, one of the best things you can do to successfully negotiate your Solutions Architect salary is by receiving other competing job offers.
Remember that all negotiation is about leverage.
The more offers you have, the more leverage you have.
How Much Experience Do You Need to Become an AWS Solutions Architect?
The amount of experience required for an AWS Solutions Architect role will depend on the company. However, in many cases, job listings may look for candidates with several years of experience and a significant amount of technical expertise.
At the end of the day, AWS Architects will need the capability to solve complex business problems and have the know-how for designing solutions using Solutions Architecture on AWS.
At the very least, candidates should obtain an AWS certification offered by Amazon.
Remember that several AWS certifications are available depending on your experience with AWS and where you are in your Solutions Architect career.
For example, if you're new to AWS, an excellent place to start is with the Foundational Cloud Practitioner Certification, recommended for those with six months of AWS experience.
If you have the experience and knowledge of AWS to pass these AWS Solutions Architect Certification exams, you'll likely have enough demonstrable experience to land an AWS Solutions Architect role.
Nevertheless, getting to this point may be different for everyone. Many career paths and professional backgrounds lead to becoming a Solutions Architect.
FAQs About AWS Solutions Architect Salaries
How much does the average AWS Solutions Architect make every year?
The salary of a typical AWS Solutions Architect may vary depending on where they work and their level of experience. However, the average salary, according to data collected by ZipRecruiter, is $151,424/year.
What is the typical career path of an AWS Solutions Architect?
There are many potential paths an individual can take to find themselves in an AWS Solutions Architect role.
Many begin their careers as software engineers or developers. Next, they work their way into a Security Engineering role or DevOps position and then onto Solutions Architect.
However, there are many potential career paths for an AWS Solutions Architect. You can learn more here.
Where in the United States are AWS Solution Architects paid the most?
Data collected by ZipRecruiter suggests that Solutions Architect jobs in Green River, WY pay the highest salaries at $186,213/year.
However, AWS Architects can find high salaries in several other US cities. Specifically:
- Mountain View, CA - $175,224/year.
- San Francisco, CA - $172,910/year.
- Bolinas, CA - $172,201/year.
Of course, you'll need to ace your tech interviews before you receive any sort of compensation as an AWS Solutions Architect.
Complete Solutions Architect Interview Course
Our solution architect interview course helps you review the most important system design principles and leadership principles to ace your solution architect interview, with detailed questions and mock interviews.
At the end of the day, tech interviews are tough and challenging, especially for a role like a Solutions Architect.
But, here at Exponent, we've got you covered.
We have all the interview prep resources you'll need to ace your upcoming Solutions Architect interview:
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👨🎓 Take our complete Solutions Architect interview course.
📖 Read through our company-specific interview guides.