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Principal Architect Salary

Compensation for Principal Architects in the United States is generous, with average pay surpassing six figures annually ($136K). In the world of Principal Architects, overall income ranges from $79K near the bottom to $194K at the top; this can include more than $36K from bonuses and more than $30K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. For the most part, Principal Architects enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to the larger part. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$75,828 - $161,615
MEDIAN: $121,893

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
$75,828 - $161,615  
$0.00 - $36,065  
Profit Sharing
$2,288 - $30,410  
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).
$79,154 - $194,070  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 295
United States (change)

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.


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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Principal Architects may actually experience a considerable drop in salary if they transition into an upper level Senior Project Architect position. Pay for Senior Project Architects averages $85K per year. Principal Architects most often move into positions as Design Architects or Architecture Project Managers. Design Architects actually earn $81K less on average, however, and Architecture Project Managers earn $71K less per year than Principal Architects do.

Principal Architect Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Principal Architect

Survey results show that Principal Architects use a fair number of skills. Most notably, skills in Service Oriented Architecture, Java, Software Architecture, and Software Development are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 18 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Project Management and Design. Most people experienced in Design also know Software Architecture.

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

Experience Affects Principal Architect Salaries

National Average

up arrow 20%

Skills That Affect Principal Architect Salaries

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
up arrow 18%

up arrow 8%

Software Architecture
up arrow 4%

Software Development
up arrow 3%

National Average

up arrow 3%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 69 votes.


8 %
92 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 90% dental benefits Dental: 76%
vision benefits Vision: 62% employee benefits None: 7%