A Principal Software Engineer earns an average salary of $118,699 per year. Most people in this job have more than five years' experience in related jobs. Pay for this job does not change much by experience, with the most experienced earning only a bit more than the least.
Principal Software Engineer Total Pay (?
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.
)
$92,251 - $146,701
(Median)
92K
120K
130K
150K
MEDIAN: $118,699
10%
50%
75%
90%
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Principal Software Engineer Total Pay (?
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.
)
$45.62 - $82.00
(Median)
46
53
64
78
MEDIAN: $63.00
10%
25%
50%
75%
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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.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Salary
$92,251 - $146,701  
   
Bonus
$251.68 - $19,654  
Profit Sharing
$985 - $12,103  
Commission
$0.00 - $0.00  
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).
)
$96,783 - $157,316  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Apr 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 2,266
National Hourly Rate 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.
)
$0$30$60$90
Hourly Rate
$45.62 - $82.00  
   
Overtime
$40.00 - $80.09  
National Annualized 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.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Bonus
$251.68 - $19,654  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $0.00  
Profit Sharing
$985 - $12,103  
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).
)
$96,783 - $157,316  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Apr 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 2,266
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Job Description for Principal Software Engineer
Principal software engineers are in charge of most of the technical aspects of an organization's projects. You could consider them to be architects of sorts given the vast scope of work they do on a regular basis. Their primary function is being able to scale projects efficiently while maximizing performance and minimizing costs. They can also oversee development teams and coordinate strategies to make sure the technologies are interconnected and product lines are working smoothly. Most of the time, principal software engineers work on making sure standards are being followed when it comes to design, application requirements and proper maintenance. They also evaluate systems and networks to ensure all procedures are running correctly. A high degree of mathematics and engineering knowledge is needed to manage large scale business tasks. Principal software engineers use a computer (or computers) due to the complex data they process when making calculations and modifying strategy plans. The majority of their work is done indoors, with the exception being when they need to modify hardware controls and settings outdoors. As stated earlier, while principal software engineers supervise programmers and designers among other professionals to finish a project on time, they also have to respond to the IT managers in a given organization. It is essential that principal software engineers be proficient at building websites, troubleshooting code and improving the performance of existing programs. They also need to be excellent team players and able to handle stress well in addition to having an extensive knowledge of several programming languages. A bachelor's degree in computer science is usually the minimum educational requirement needed to become a principal software engineer, although a (CSDP) Certified Software Development Professional certification along with hands-on experience in a previous position is generally preferred.
Principal Software Engineer Tasks
  • Conduct new technology research, concept specification and design of individual software components.
  • Participate in product and program collaboration.
  • Develop new product concepts and development, deliver product prototypes.
  • Design, develop, integrate, test and deploy company's software.
  • Execute product specification, system design, development and system integration.
Popular Skills for Principal Software Engineer
Pay by Experience Level for Principal Software Engineer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Pay Difference By Location
up arrow 18%
up arrow 10%
up arrow 9%
up arrow 6%
Redwood City
up arrow 2%
up arrow 1%
0%
National Average
$124,000
up arrow 4%
Denver
up arrow 9%
Atlanta
up arrow 13%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Principal Software Engineer Salaries

National Average
$124,000
Entry-Level
up arrow 14%

Skills That Affect Principal Software Engineer Salaries

Embedded / Real-Time / RTOS
up arrow 4%
Linux
up arrow 4%
Software Architecture
up arrow 4%
C
up arrow 3%
Java
up arrow 2%
Java/J2EE
up arrow 2%
Software Development
up arrow 2%
C++
up arrow 1%
National Average
$124,000
C#
up arrow 4%
up arrow 5%
Job Satisfaction
Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 528 votes.
Gender
Female
7%
female alumni
 
Male
93%
male alumni
Years of Experience
1-4 years
1%
5-9 years
14%
10-19 years
57%
20 years or more
27%
Common Health Benefits
medical benefits Medical: 96% dental benefits Dental: 92%
vision benefits Vision: 81% employee benefits None: 3%
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