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Principal Architect Salary

Principal Architects in the United States can expect to earn a very comfortable salary, with average salaries (in the ballpark of $121K) surpassing six figures annually. With some bonuses approaching $38K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $28K, overall incomes of Principal Architects spread between $80K and $194K depending on individual performance. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a strong majority earn dental coverage. For the most part, Principal Architects enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
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$76,383 - $160,266
MEDIAN: $120,577

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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.
$76,383 - $160,266  
$498.33 - $38,283  
Profit Sharing
$1,939 - $27,985  
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).
$79,699 - $193,794  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 346

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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.


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 salary drop if they transition into a Senior Project Architect position. Pay for Senior Project Architects averages $85K per year. Principal Architects most frequently become Design Architects and Architecture Project Managers even though median compensation is $78K lower and $67K lower, respectively.

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, facility with Service Oriented Architecture, Java, and Software Architecture are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 21 percent, 11 percent, and 6 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Project Management and Design. Most people who know 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

United States (change)

Experience Affects Principal Architect Salaries

National Average

up arrow 18%

Skills That Affect Principal Architect Salaries

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
up arrow 21%

up arrow 11%

Software Architecture
up arrow 6%

Software Development
up arrow 6%

National Average

up arrow 4%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 75 votes.


9 %
91 %

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: 74%
vision benefits Vision: 61% employee benefits None: 8%