Senior Principal Engineer Salary
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.
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.Read More...
A senior principal engineer may report directly to the engineering manager, although they serve as the manager of their specific assigned projects.
In general, a bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline is the minimum educational requirement to be a senior principal engineer. Significant experience is usually needed to supplement a bachelor's degree, and preference is usually given to those who possess a master's degree. Many companies prefer that individuals in this role have five to 10 years' experience in the field, as well as managerial experience. Often, a professional engineer's license through the National Society of Professional Engineers is desirable.
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.
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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
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.