Six-figure salaries are the norm for Senior Principal Engineers in the United States, with median pay hovering around $135K per year. Cash earnings for Senior Principal Engineers — including $30K in bonuses and $14K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $103K to $185K depending on individual performance. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is the specific employer, followed by geography and tenure. Most Senior Principal Engineers like their work and job satisfaction is high. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and most earn dental coverage. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.

$100,497 - $169,716
(Median)
$100K
$140K
$170K
MEDIAN: $135,192
10%
50%
90%

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$49.46 - $88.69
(Median)
$49
$70
$89
MEDIAN: $70
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
$100,497 - $169,716  
   
Bonus
$888 - $29,669  
Profit Sharing
$509 - $14,000  
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).
)
$103,171 - $184,836  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 586
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
$49.46 - $88.69  
   
Overtime
$49.66 - $81.64  
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
$888 - $29,669  
   
Profit Sharing
$509 - $14,000  
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).
)
$103,171 - $184,836  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 13
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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

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

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.

Principal Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Senior Principal Engineer


Known for taking on a considerable number of Senior Principal Engineers, Raytheon Co., BAE Systems Inc., Western Digital Corporation, Oracle Corp., and Raytheon Missile Systems are leading firms in the industry. For Senior Principal Engineers, comfortable salaries can be found at Broadcom Corporation; in fact, median earnings sit around $186K, the highest in the area. Senior Principal Engineers will also find cushy salaries at Oracle Corp. (+$167K), Raytheon Co. (+$154K), and Raytheon Missile Systems (+$139K).

Also approaching the lower end are BAE Systems Inc. at $134K, Western Digital Corporation at $135K, and Raytheon Missile Systems at $139K.

Popular Skills for Senior Principal Engineer


Survey results imply that Senior Principal Engineers deploy a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with System Architecture, Software Development, and Engineering Design, Semiconductor are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 21 percent, 9 percent, and 8 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Manufacturing Process Engineering and Research Analysis. Most people who know Engineering Design also know Systems Engineering.

Pay by Experience Level for Senior Principal Engineer

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


For many Senior Principal Engineers, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. Survey participants with less than five years' experience report a median income of $120K, and earnings aren't much higher for respondents who have five to 10 years under their belts; respondents in the latter group report a median of just $122K. Senior Principal Engineers who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $141K. In the end, more experience does seem to mean larger paychecks; seasoned Senior Principal Engineers with more than 20 years of experience earn a predictably higher median salary of $146K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $140,838

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

For those looking to make money, Senior Principal Engineers in Santa Clara enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 21 percent above the national average. Senior Principal Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Jose (+20 percent), Dallas (+13 percent), Boston (+12 percent), and Irvine (+9 percent). With compensation 13 percent below the national average, Atlanta is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Fremont and Nashua are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 13 percent lower and 8 percent lower, respectively.

Senior Principal Engineer Reviews

What is it like working as a Senior Principal Engineer at Oracle Corp.?

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.

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Experience Affects Senior Principal Engineer Salaries



National Average
$141,000


Entry-Level
up arrow 15%

Skills That Affect Senior Principal Engineer Salaries

System Architecture
up arrow 21%

Software Development
up arrow 9%

Engineering Design, Semiconductor
up arrow 8%



Software Architecture
up arrow 3%

Engineering Design
up arrow 1%

National Average
$141,000

Project Management
up arrow 2%

Technical Analysis
up arrow 2%


Manufacturing Process Engineering
up arrow 11%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 59 votes.

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
1%
5-9 years
6%
10-19 years
40%
20 years or more
52%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 94%
dental benefits
Dental: 89%
medical benefits
Vision: 80%
dental benefits
None: 3%
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