Generous salaries abound for Principal Architects in the United States, with average pay above six figures ($126K) per year. In the world of Principal Architects, total cash compensation can vary between $92K and $189K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $38K and $25K, respectively. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and a strong majority earn dental coverage. Most Principal Architects like their work and job satisfaction is high. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$88,752 - $163,531
(Median)
$89K
$130K
$160K
MEDIAN: $126,060
10%
50%
90%

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$39.31 - $60.00
(Median)
$
$45
$
MEDIAN: $45.00
50%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$70K$140K$210K
Salary
$88,752 - $163,531  
   
Bonus
$2,980 - $38,295  
Profit Sharing
$11.92 - $25,168  
Commission
$7,500  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$91,770 - $189,484  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 283
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50$100$150
Hourly Rate
$45.00  
   
Overtime
$60.00  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$100K$200K$300K
Bonus
$2,980 - $38,295  
   
Commission
$7,500  
Profit Sharing
$11.92 - $25,168  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$91,770 - $189,484  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 7
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Job Description for Principal Architect

Principal architects are the subject matter experts for information technology projects, helping guide these projects to completion. They must be able to handle multiple projects, be innovative, and be able to communicate effectively across multiple departments in different degrees of technical detail. When dealing with software, they code new projects, maintain existing ones, and ensure information technology policies are adhered to. They serve as a team leader and are the main point of contact for many major architectural issues. For subordinates, principal architects provide guidance, support, and discipline as needed.

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Principal Architect Tasks

  • Delegate work and provide oversight of group work plans.
  • Manage an architectural team of junior and senior architects as well as administrative personnel.
  • Responsible for all architectural design aspects of large or complex projects.
  • Ensure project deliverables are met on time and on budget.

Common Career Paths for Principal Architect


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As Principal Architects make advancements in their career path, their salaries may not change right away. For example, the higher-level Senior Principal Architect position pays around the same amount as the Principal Architect job on average. Principal Architects most often move into positions as Design Architects or Senior Project Architects. Design Architects actually earn $83K less on average, however, and Senior Project Architects earn $52K less per year than Principal Architects do.

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Popular Skills for Principal Architect


Principal Architects seem to require a number of specific skills. Most notably, facility with Enterprise Solutions, System Architecture, and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 38 percent, 18 percent, and 15 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Design and Project Management. Most people skilled in Design are similarly competent in Software Architecture.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal Architect

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Substantial, six-figure paychecks show up early in this area; folks who have worked for fewer than five years report earning a median of $131K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $140K in this role. Principal Architects who have acquired more than 20 years of relevant experience earn significantly more than folks with fewer years on their resumes; the average income in this veteran group is $142K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $138,886

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Principal Architects will find that San Francisco offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 22 percent. Principal Architects can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Seattle (+18 percent), Chicago (+13 percent), San Jose (+10 percent), and Boston (+9 percent). With compensation 15 percent below the national average, Los Angeles is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Employers in Irvine and Washington also lean toward paying below-median salaries (14 percent lower and 6 percent lower, respectively).

Principal Architect Reviews

What is it like working as a Principal Architect?

Principal Architect in Santa Clara:
"Principal architect of an IT Services company."
Pros: Help you to get a broader knowledge on technology solutions, running an account, manage your team and many challenges to meet with.
Cons: Have to play with constraints of your budget and resources. Frustrating when interacting with multiple teams and unrealistic deadlines.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Principal Architect Salaries




National Average
$139,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 6%

Skills That Affect Principal Architect Salaries

Enterprise Solutions
up arrow 38%

System Architecture
up arrow 18%

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
up arrow 15%

Cloud Computing
up arrow 13%


Java
up arrow 5%

Software Development
up arrow 1%

National Average
$139,000


up arrow 10%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 35 votes.

Gender

Female
9 %
Male
91 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
3%
5-9 years
4%
10-19 years
43%
20 years or more
50%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 91%
dental benefits
Dental: 77%
medical benefits
Vision: 68%
dental benefits
None: 7%
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