Principal Architect Salary
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.Read More...
Principal architects often work in a team setting to resolve complicated issues. They may also work alone, gathering information on industry standards, software, technologies, and tools. Principal architects generally work full time during regular business hours; however, they may also need to be available on-call and work overtime as required by their employer.
Principal architect positions usually require at least 15 years of experience in software development or architecture, as well as at least a bachelor's in computer science. Some principal architects have only a high school degree but many years of software development experience. These professionals often need to be fluent in a computer scripting language as well.
Principal Architect Tasks
- Responsible for all architectural design aspects of large or complex projects.
- Ensure project deliverables are met on time and on budget.
- Delegate work and provide oversight of group work plans.
- Manage an architectural team of junior and senior architects as well as administrative personnel.
Common Career Paths for Principal Architect
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
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).
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