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There are many factors that determine how much you should be earning as a Principal Engineer. Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to see how your pay matches up.

Principal Engineer Salary

Average Yearly Salary
Updated May 18, 2020
$122,000
$93,000
$122,000
$159,000
Did you know that the average principal engineer makes $122,522 per year? That's valued at $58.91 per hour! The range surrounding that average can vary between $94,000 and $159,000, meaning principal engineers have the opportunity to earn more once they move past entry-level roles. Most principal engineers find a job with technology and health care companies, while others work for telecommunication, technology, and utilities companies to make more money. Those aren't the only places you can earn a higher paycheck. California, New Mexico and Arizona are the top states in the U.S. to pay principal engineers the highest salaries.
Best Paying Cities
Austin, TX
$129,516
Seattle, WA
$126,210
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Map of Principal Engineer Salaries

The darker areas on the map show where Principal Engineers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary

Average Principal Engineer Salary By Location

If both location and money are important to you, then you might want to check out moving to California, New Mexico and Arizona, as these three states offer the highest salaries throughout the U.S. for principal engineers. Quite opposite of that list is the lowest paying states, which are Ohio, Arkansas, and Indiana.

City
Average Salary
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA
$160,648
$161k
Austin, TX
Austin, TX
$129,516
$130k
Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA
$126,210
$126k
Englewood, CO
Englewood, CO
$124,406
$124k
Boston, MA
Boston, MA
$121,390
$121k
McLean, VA
McLean, VA
$118,628
$119k
New York, NY
New York, NY
$110,370
$110k
Atlanta, GA
Atlanta, GA
$109,915
$110k
Orlando, FL
Orlando, FL
$109,328
$109k
Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, PA
$106,239
$106k

High Paying Principal Engineer Jobs

Average Principal Engineer Salary By Company

To earn a high income as a principal engineer, working for Microsoft or Google might be your best bet, as they are the highest paying companies in this field. In addition, companies like VMware and QLogic report highly competitive salaries for principal engineers.

Company
Average Salary
$160,303
$160k
$159,587
$160k
$154,035
$154k
$152,695
$153k
$150,766
$151k
$147,894
$148k

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Principal Engineer Salary History

Compare salaries for individual cities or states with the national average.

    Average Principal Engineer Pay By Industry

    The salary for a principal engineer can vary depending on what industry the job is in. The highest salaries for principal engineers tend to be found in telecommunication, technology, and utilities companies. In fact, principal engineers can make a yearly salary of $141,732 while working for telecommunication companies.

    Industry
    Average Salary
    Telecommunication
    Telecommunication
    $141,732
    $142k
    Technology
    Technology
    $123,042
    $123k
    Utilities
    Utilities
    $122,895
    $123k
    Manufacturing
    Manufacturing
    $119,144
    $119k
    Construction
    Construction
    $107,807
    $108k

    Principal Engineer Salary By Experience Level

    The salary for a principal engineer can vary depending on the years of experience that a person has, from entry level to senior level. Data on how experience level affects total compensation is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as part of their National Compensation Survey, which is based on factors such as knowledge, complexity, contacts, and environment.

    Recently Added Principal Engineer Salaries

    CompanyJobLocationDate AddedSalary
    Principal Engineer IV-Architecture
    Principal Engineer IV-Architecture
    Seattle, WA
    Seattle, WA
    10/30/2020
    10/30/2020
    $224,000
    $224,000
    10/30/2020
    Principal Engineer (Sr/Sp APP DEV) Lacey-Internal Only
    Principal Engineer (Sr/Sp APP DEV) Lacey-Internal Only
    Lacey, WA
    Lacey, WA
    10/22/2020
    10/22/2020
    $85,476
    $85,476
    10/22/2020
    Principal Engineer
    Principal Engineer
    Norman, OK
    Norman, OK
    10/16/2020
    10/16/2020
    $112,698
    $112,698
    10/16/2020
    Management Decisions, Inc.
    Management Decisions, Inc.
    Principal Golang Engineer/Contract/Remote
    Principal Golang Engineer/Contract/Remote
    Principal Golang Engineer/Contract/Remote
    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles, CA
    10/14/2020
    10/14/2020
    $208,700
    $208,700
    10/14/2020
    Management Decisions, Inc.
    Management Decisions, Inc.
    Architect/Principal Java Engineer With Openshift
    Architect/Principal Java Engineer With Openshift
    Architect/Principal Java Engineer With Openshift
    Dallas, TX
    Dallas, TX
    10/10/2020
    10/10/2020
    $170,000
    $170,000
    10/10/2020
    Management Decisions, Inc.
    Management Decisions, Inc.
    Principal Engineer Java/Go/Aws
    Principal Engineer Java/Go/Aws
    Principal Engineer Java/Go/Aws
    Boston, MA
    Boston, MA
    10/10/2020
    10/10/2020
    $180,000
    $180,000
    10/10/2020
    Principal Engineer
    Principal Engineer
    Round Lake, IL
    Round Lake, IL
    10/08/2020
    10/08/2020
    $93,915
    $93,915
    10/08/2020
    Full Stack Principal Quantitative Engineer
    Full Stack Principal Quantitative Engineer
    Boston, MA
    Boston, MA
    10/03/2020
    10/03/2020
    $115,000
    $115,000
    10/03/2020
    Management Decisions, Inc.
    Management Decisions, Inc.
    Principal Engineer (Language Agnostic)-Remote
    Principal Engineer (Language Agnostic)-Remote
    Principal Engineer (Language Agnostic)-Remote
    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles, CA
    09/26/2020
    09/26/2020
    $200,000
    $200,000
    09/26/2020
    Principal Engineer
    Principal Engineer
    Cincinnati, OH
    Cincinnati, OH
    09/25/2020
    09/25/2020
    $81,936
    $81,936
    09/25/2020