Principal Architect Salary

On average, Principal Architects in the United States earn six-figure salaries ($121K) annually, making for a very well-paid profession. In the world of Principal Architects, overall income ranges from $84K near the bottom to $192K at the top; this can include more than $39K from bonuses and more than $30K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Most Principal Architects report high levels of job satisfaction. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a strong majority earn dental coverage. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$79,597 - $160,396
(Median)
$80K
$120K
$160K
MEDIAN: $121,472
10%
50%
90%

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$31.38 - $145.44
(Median)
$31
$65
$150
MEDIAN: $65.00
10%
50%
90%

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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
$79,597 - $160,396  
   
Bonus
$970 - $38,728  
Profit Sharing
$507 - $29,590  
Commission
$10,000  
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).
)
$83,591 - $192,064  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 420
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
$31.38 - $145.44  
   
Overtime
$57.00  
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
$970 - $38,728  
   
Commission
$10,000  
Profit Sharing
$507 - $29,590  
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).
)
$83,591 - $192,064  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 13
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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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Principal Architects tend not to experience significant pay changes as they move up the career ladder to roles like Senior Principal Architect. The two jobs pay about the same on average. Principal Architects most often move into Design Architect or Architecture Project Manager roles. However, the former pays $78K less on average, and the latter pays $68K less.

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Popular Skills for Principal Architect


Overall, survey participants reported applying a fair number of skills to their work. Most notably, skills in Service Oriented Architecture, Java, Software Architecture, and Software Development are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 8 percent and 20 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Project Management and Design. It is often found that people who know Design are also skilled in Software Architecture.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal Architect

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


The average inexperienced worker's salary is approximately $122K. It's worth noting that people with five to 10 years of experience report bringing in less at around $114K on average. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $135K in this role. Big financial gains seem to result from working for more than two decades; veterans in this group report earning $137K on average.

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
$134,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 9%


Skills That Affect Principal Architect Salaries

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
up arrow 20%

Java
up arrow 10%


Software Development
up arrow 5%

National Average
$134,000

Design
up arrow 4%


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 84 votes.

Gender

Female
10 %
Male
90 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
1%
5-9 years
5%
10-19 years
43%
20 years or more
51%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 75%
medical benefits
Vision: 63%
dental benefits
None: 8%
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