Salesforce Architect roles are some of the most common career goals you will find in the ecosystem. Architects are recognized for their high degree of Salesforce knowledge, and understanding of how to build scalable, bulletproof solutions on the platform.
Two of the most common architect roles are the solution and technical architects, and whilst there are some overlaps in these roles, they are very distinct, and it’s important to understand the differences. Let’s jump right in!
Salesforce Architect Roles
Salesforce Architect career concepts aren’t exactly straightforward in the Salesforce ecosystem. You have roles such as the solution and technical architect, but in larger enterprises, you will also find enterprise, data, and transformation architects.
You then have a huge array of certifications which include the Salesforce System and Application Architect certs, the Salesforce B2B and B2C Solution Architect certs, as well as the coveted Salesforce Certified Technical Architect cert, which is by far the hardest Salesforce credential to obtain.
But in this post, I would like to focus on the core differences between the Salesforce Solution and Technical Architect roles, with an aim to explain the differences, similarities, and which might be the best option for your own career goals.
First up, let’s understand where you might find these roles. Architect roles are most commonly found working on the most complex Salesforce implementations. By the very nature of these roles, they tend to be very experienced working on Salesforce, and consultancies who are implementing Salesforce for large clients need the expertise, knowledge, and experience of these professionals to successfully implement awkward, complex, and technically challenging requirements.
You are also likely to find these roles working at very large Salesforce end-users, particularly those who have a large number of Salesforce users (for example 1,000+), or if they have a particular custom instance using lots of custom code and integrations.
Without architects involved in these complex Salesforce implementations, creating a scalable solution will be hard, and you may end up with technical debt building up and a system that is unreliable.
Let’s first take a look at Salesforce Solution Architects…
Salesforce Solution Architects may just be one of the dream roles for many Salesforce Administrators. It’s a role that is responsible for understanding the business requirements of an organization, and designing a solution that is scalable and uses Salesforce recommended best practices.
Whilst this also sounds like the role of a Salesforce Admin, or a consultant, solution architects will often be working alongside these roles, helping to shape the solution with their previous project knowledge. Perhaps more importantly, they will be ultimately responsible for designing this solution, and ensuring that the build meets the agreed specifications.
They will be brought in to lead areas of the project including data modeling, migration, Salesforce configuration, security models, declarative automation, and user experience, as well as the successful deployment of the project using Sandboxes or a DevOps process.
And what about technical architects I hear you ask?
On the flip side, Salesforce Technical Architects may just be one of the dream roles for many Salesforce Developers. They are the ultimate technical authority on projects, and ensure that the solution is being built to the correct technical specifications.
Technical Architects need to understand exactly what is going on within Salesforce – for example, ensuring that any Apex or Lightning Web Component code is being built correctly, using best practices, and ensuring scalability. They are also heavily involved with any data that is leaving or coming into Salesforce. Large enterprise projects often require integration, which is quite frequently one of the most challenging parts of a project.
They will typically be leading areas of the project including custom Apex or Lightning Web Component code, integrations with other systems, designing APIs, managing large data volumes, environment management, and any DevOps processes.
Core Similarities & Differences
If the explanations above are still confusing, don’t worry, there are still lots of similarities between these two roles. But ultimately, the Salesforce Solution Architect is concerned with ensuring they have designed and built a scalable solution that meets the customer’s business requirements. A Salesforce Technical Architect on the other hand, is concerned with the deeper technical aspects of the project, and this will often involve custom code and integrations with other systems.
Both solution and technical architects will commonly work together with one another on projects, so lines may become blurred when they are working so closely. It’s often the case that they will input into areas outside of their own remit, as a solution architect will commonly have expertise working with integrations, and a technical architect will have input to business requirements. After all, these two roles are at the top of their game!
I think it’s also important to give a mention to the “Salesforce Enterprise Architect” role, which isn’t an explicit Salesforce role so you don’t often hear about it in the ecosystem. But, in bigger transformational projects where many different systems are involved and where Salesforce is just one of them, the enterprise architect will have a holistic view of all systems, the flow of data, and how they will be integrated into the business.
I hope this article has given you a quick overview of the core differences between two of the most high-profile roles in the Salesforce ecosystem.
Although I mentioned that admins often wish to become solution architects, and developers to become technical architects, these aren’t rules, and it’s completely possible for a Salesforce Admin who doesn’t code to become a technical architect. Or vice versa – if a developer wants to move more over to the business side, they totally can.
Make sure to check out the abundance of posts on Salesforce Ben for more details about the architect role.