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Principal Architect Salary

Principal Architects enjoy a hefty income, with average pay passing six figures ($121K) annually in the United States. Overall cash earnings for Principal Architects stretch from $80K on the lower end to $193K near the top, and the heftiest packages can encompass around $36K from bonuses and $28K from profit sharing. Residence and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. A large number enjoy medical while a fair number get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to the greater part. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$76,450 - $160,164
MEDIAN: $120,789

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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.
$76,450 - $160,164  
$513 - $36,005  
Profit Sharing
$1,468 - $27,821  
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).
$79,782 - $192,713  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 358

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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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As Principal Architects advancements into roles like Senior Project Architect, their salaries may drop sharply. The average Senior Project Architects brings home $85K annually. Many Principal Architects choose to become Design Architects and Architecture Project Managers as their careers advance. However, folks in those positions report median salaries of $78K less and $68K less, 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 20 percent, 10 percent, and 6 percent, respectively. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Project Management and Design. Those educated in Design tend to be well versed in 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 17%

Skills That Affect Principal Architect Salaries

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
up arrow 20%

up arrow 10%

Software Architecture
up arrow 6%

Software Development
up arrow 6%

National Average

up arrow 5%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 77 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: 75%
vision benefits Vision: 61% employee benefits None: 8%