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Principal Architect Careers

Principal architects are some of the most senior professionals on a construction team. They either occupy top management positions or create their organizations. Principal architects oversee the activities of junior architects and sometimes engineers. Principal architects may also perform a host of other project management duties.

A day in the life of a principal architect may include activities across various professional fields. They may interact with customers, develop professional relationships, and meet with their team members. Because they hold senior management positions in architectural or construction firms, principal architects may also be actively involved in recruiting employees and training them.

As a principal architect, you're at the pinnacle of your career. This means holding at least a master's degree in architecture. You will also need several years of experience, including internship roles, junior architect, and senior architect roles.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a principal architect. For example, did you know that they make an average of $65.4 an hour? That's $136,030 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 8% and produce 11,200 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Principal Architect Do

There are certain skills that many principal architects have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, communication skills and creativity.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a principal architect, we found that a lot of resumes listed 10.6% of principal architects included cloud, while 8.5% of resumes included infrastructure, and 5.9% of resumes included aws. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the principal architect job title. But what industry to start with? Most principal architects actually find jobs in the technology and retail industries.

How To Become a Principal Architect

If you're interested in becoming a principal architect, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 64.1% of principal architects have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 21.9% of principal architects have master's degrees. Even though most principal architects have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a principal architect. When we researched the most common majors for a principal architect, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on principal architect resumes include associate degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a principal architect. In fact, many principal architect jobs require experience in a role such as architect. Meanwhile, many principal architects also have previous career experience in roles such as senior software engineer or project architect.

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Average Salary
$136,030
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
44,891
Job Openings

Principal Architect Career Paths

Top Careers Before Principal Architect

Architect
13.7 %

Top Careers After Principal Architect

Principal Architect Jobs You Might Like

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Principal Architect

Principal Architects in America make an average salary of $136,030 per year or $65 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $184,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $100,000 per year.
Average Salary
$136,030
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Architect? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
San Mateo, CA
Salary Range129k - 206k$164k$163,561
Seattle, WA
Salary Range118k - 178k$145k$145,491
Washington, DC
Salary Range112k - 167k$138k$137,659
Littleton, CO
Salary Range104k - 160k$130k$129,677
Reston, VA
Salary Range105k - 157k$129k$129,050
Jersey City, NJ
Salary Range104k - 158k$129k$128,608
$84k
$206k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Principal Architect II-Spectrum Enterprise
Principal Architect II-Spectrum Enterprise
Charter Spectrum
Charter Spectrum
05/26/2021
05/26/2021
$101,60005/26/2021
$101,600
Principal Architect/Front-End With React
Principal Architect/Front-End With React
Motion Recruitment
Motion Recruitment
05/25/2021
05/25/2021
$200,00005/25/2021
$200,000
Principal Architect
Principal Architect
City of Glendale Az
City of Glendale Az
05/24/2021
05/24/2021
$84,57105/24/2021
$84,571
Principal Architect II
Principal Architect II
Spectrum
Spectrum
05/23/2021
05/23/2021
$101,60005/23/2021
$101,600
Principal Graph Architect-Neo4J (Remote USA)
Principal Graph Architect-Neo4J (Remote USA)
Fireeye
Fireeye
05/20/2021
05/20/2021
$165,70005/20/2021
$165,700
See More Recent Salaries

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Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to see how your pay matches up.

Principal Architect Demographics

Gender

male

82.0 %

female

11.3 %

unknown

6.7 %

Ethnicity

White

72.3 %

Asian

11.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

23.8 %

French

11.9 %

Japanese

9.5 %
See More Demographics

Principal Architect Education

Degrees

Bachelors

64.1 %

Masters

21.9 %

Certificate

4.6 %

Top Colleges for Principal Architects

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

4. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Public

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

5. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

6. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

7. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

8. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568

9. Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$52,930
Enrollment
5,030

10. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Principal Architect That You May Like

Azure SQL Data Warehouse Synapse Analytics Service
udemy
4.5
(753)

Cloud Data Warehouse in Azure Synapse Analytics Service (formerly Azure SQL Data Warehouse). [Covered: DP-200, DP-201]...

Implementing a Data Warehouse with SQL Server 2012
udemy
4.3
(1,387)

Implementing a Data Warehouse with SQL Server 2012 (Exam 70-463)...

Architecting Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure with Anthos
coursera

This specialization is intended for technical engineers, architects, and administrators using Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Kubernetes, and Istio to create, integrate, or modernize solutions. You will learn modernizing, managing, and observing microservices-based applications that span multiple clusters in GCP, on-premises, or other cloud providers...

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Job type you want
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Principal Architect

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.6% of principal architects listed cloud on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and communication skills are important as well.

Best States For a Principal Architect

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a principal architect. The best states for people in this position are California, New Hampshire, Washington, and Maryland. Principal architects make the most in California with an average salary of $153,414. Whereas in New Hampshire and Washington, they would average $146,570 and $143,667, respectively. While principal architects would only make an average of $134,178 in Maryland, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Hampshire

Total Principal Architect Jobs:
343
Highest 10% Earn:
$212,000
Location Quotient:
1.13
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Principal Architect Jobs:
5,408
Highest 10% Earn:
$228,000
Location Quotient:
1.07
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. North Dakota

Total Principal Architect Jobs:
179
Highest 10% Earn:
$198,000
Location Quotient:
1.11
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Principal Architect Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ principal architects and discovered their number of principal architect opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Automatic Data Processing was the best, especially with an average salary of $128,603. T-Mobile US follows up with an average salary of $124,262, and then comes Wipro with an average of $97,233. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a principal architect. The employers include PayPal, Huron Consulting Group, and CVS Health

1. Automatic Data Processing
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$128,603
Principal Architects Hired: 
55+
2. T-Mobile US
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$124,262
Principal Architects Hired: 
47+
3. Wipro
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$97,233
Principal Architects Hired: 
42+
4. Comcast
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$125,366
Principal Architects Hired: 
37+
5. Microsoft
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$198,416
Principal Architects Hired: 
36+
6. Salesforce
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$175,824
Principal Architects Hired: 
30+

Principal Architect Videos

Updated October 2, 2020