Average Principal Systems Engineer Salary

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The average salary for a Principal Systems Engineer is $127,333.
MEDIAN $127,333
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United States (change)
$93k - $163k
$1k - $21k
Profit Sharing
$989 - $12k
$11k - $61k
Total Pay
$95k - $174k

Your Market Worth Over Time

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Job Description for Principal Systems Engineer

Principal Systems Engineer Tasks
  • Plan, develop and lead systems engineering projects and efforts.
  • May also interact with customers, make business assessments and mentor other engineers.
  • Develop, configure and oversee the upgrade, enhancements and fixes of applicable systems.
The top respondents for the job title Principal Systems Engineer are from the companies Raytheon Co., Northrop Grumman Corporation and BAE Systems Inc.. Reported salaries are highest at Rockwell Collins, Inc. where the average pay is $136,327. Other companies that offer high salaries for this role include Raytheon Co. and L-3 Communications, earning around $131,796 and $131,490, respectively. BAE Systems Inc. pays the lowest at around $116,427. Northrop Grumman Corporation and Lockheed Martin Corp also pay on the lower end of the scale, paying $123,654 and $128,523, respectively.

Career Paths

Explore the most common career paths for Principal Systems Engineer. Thickness and color of lines indicates popularity of movement from one job to the next. Visit our career path planner to research other job paths.
Principal Systems Engineer
Systems Engineering Manager
More common (> 20%)
Somewhat common (8 - 20%)
Less common (< 8%)

Principal Systems Engineer Job Listings

Popular Skills for Principal Systems Engineer

Skills in Systems Engineering and System Architecture are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include Engineering Design, System Integration and Requirements Analysis.

Pay by Experience Level for Principal Systems Engineer

An entry-level Principal Systems Engineer with less than 1 year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $70,175 based on 10 salaries. An early career Principal Systems Engineer with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $82,061 based on 79 salaries. A mid-career Principal Systems Engineer with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $115,175 based on 192 salaries. An experienced Principal Systems Engineer with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $127,360 based on 648 salaries. In their late career (20 years and higher), employees earn an average total compensation of $137,940.
Employees with Principal Systems Engineer in their job title in Washington, District of Columbia earn an average of 14.3% more than the national average. These job titles also find higher than average salaries in Boston, Massachusetts (3.4% more) and San Diego, California (3.2% more). The lowest salaries can be found in Los Angeles, California (1.6% less) and Denver, Colorado (0.4% less).

Years of Experience

This data is based on 1,507 survey responses.
Entry Level
Early Career
Mid Career
Late Career