Senior Principal Engineer Salary

Compensation for Senior Principal Engineers in the United States is generous, with average pay surpassing six figures annually ($136K). Total cash earnings of Senior Principal Engineers range from $104K on the low end to $187K on the high end; the final amount can include bonuses and profit sharing proceeds that occasionally exceed $30K and $17K, respectively. This group's pay is mainly influenced by the specific employer, followed by geography and years of experience. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and most earn dental coverage. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$100,351 - $171,772
$100K
$140K
$170K
MEDIAN: $135,621
10%
50%
90%

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$57.09 - $89.41
$57
$68
$89
MEDIAN: $67.56
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
$100,351 - $171,772  
   
Bonus
$983 - $29,707  
Profit Sharing
$466.41 - $17,297  
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).
)
$103,696 - $186,636  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 552
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
$57.09 - $89.41  
   
Overtime
$50.34 - $82.85  
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
$983 - $29,707  
   
Profit Sharing
$466.41 - $17,297  
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).
)
$103,696 - $186,636  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 12

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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Job Description for Senior Principal Engineer

A senior principal engineer oversees engineering projects for their organization or business. They may be employed within the electrical, mechanical, computer, civil, or chemical engineering profession. The role of a senior principal engineer is generally similar through all the industries in which they are employed. Responsibilities may include coordinating hiring, training and scheduling; preparing progress reports that are to presented to upper-level management throughout the project's duration; providing guidance and managing the engineering teams working on that project; ensuring the project is completed on time and on budget. and providing technical and program-level support, including execution strategies.

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Senior Principal Engineer Tasks

  • Oversee engineering projects using both technical engineering and administrative skills.
  • Responsible for making sure financial restraints are followed and for timely completion of the project.
  • Plan and implement the design specifications for the engineering project.

Common Career Paths for Senior Principal Engineer


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For Senior Principal Engineers, a move to the Aerospace Engineer role often correlates with a sharp decline in salary. Aerospace Engineers typically make $77K. Senior Principal Engineers most frequently advance into Civil Engineer and Electrical Engineer roles even though the median salaries are $82K lower and $73K lower, respectively.

Principal Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Senior Principal Engineer


Raytheon Co., BAE Systems Inc., Western Digital Corporation, Oracle Corp., and Raytheon Missile Systems are top-notch employers for Senior Principal Engineers in this area. The biggest paychecks can be found at Broadcom Corporation — the median salary there is $186K. Those in search of high salaries should also consider Oracle Corp., Raytheon Co., and Raytheon Missile Systems, top-paying firms where Senior Principal Engineers rake in a very impressive $167K, $156K, or $139K, respectively.

Workers also receive paychecks lighter than average at Western Digital Corporation ($135K), BAE Systems Inc. ($135K), and Raytheon Missile Systems ($139K).

Popular Skills for Senior Principal Engineer


Survey takers working as Senior Principal Engineers report using a large range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in System Architecture, Engineering Design, Semiconductor, Software Development, and Systems Engineering are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 9 percent and 18 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Manufacturing Process Engineering, Research Analysis, and Project Management. It is often found that people who know Engineering Design are also skilled in Systems Engineering.

Pay by Experience Level for Senior Principal Engineer

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


Even the relatively untested can score weighty six-figure salaries; survey participants with less than five years' experience report earning a median of $121K per year. On average, Senior Principal Engineers make $142K following one to two decades on the job. Old hands who claim more than two decades on the job enjoy average earnings of $148K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $142,058

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For those looking to make money, Senior Principal Engineers in San Jose enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 24 percent above the national average. Senior Principal Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Santa Clara (+21 percent), Dallas (+14 percent), Boston (+13 percent), and Denver (+10 percent). In Atlanta, salaries are 15 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Employers also pay below the national average in Fremont (14 percent lower) and Nashua (9 percent lower).

Senior Principal Engineer Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Senior Principal Engineer?

Senior Principal Engineer in Santa Clara:
"Challenging job; company very tightly controlled."
Pros: Challenging work. Many very sharp colleagues to work with.
Cons: Oracle is stingy about supplying employees the tools they need to do their job. For example, even for *engineers*, it only provides mid-range Windows laptops, whereas in our part of the company we need Unix-based, higher-end computers. Many of us end up spending $2500 out of our own pockets to supply the "tools" we need to do our jobs. The other thing I dislike is that the company operates very "top-down" -- decisions are made on top, pushed down, and must be accepted without question. No reasons are given for the decisions, and no appeals are tolerated. There is no transparency; it feels like upper management is saying "we're the parents and you are the children, *that's* why; we don't need to explain our decisions". I'd expect that in the military, but not in a corporation.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Senior Principal Engineer

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 56 votes.
Less than 1 year
0%
1-4 years
1%
5-9 years
7%
10-19 years
39%
20 years or more
54%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Senior Principal Engineer Salaries

▲5%

▼0%

National Average
$142,000

Entry-Level
▼15%

▼18%

Skills That Affect Senior Principal Engineer Salaries

System Architecture
▲18%

Software Development
▲9%

Engineering Design, Semiconductor
▲9%


Software Architecture
▲5%


Engineering Design
▼0%

National Average
$142,000




Manufacturing Process Engineering
▼12%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 56 votes.

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
0%
1-4 years
1%
5-9 years
7%
10-19 years
39%
20 years or more
54%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 95%
dental benefits
Dental: 90%
vision benefits
Vision: 81%
dental benefits
None: 3%
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