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Become A Principal Systems Engineer

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Working As A Principal Systems Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $119,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Principal Systems Engineer Do

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.

Duties

Network and computer systems administrators typically do the following:

  • Determine an organization’s network and computer system needs before setting one up
  • Install all network hardware and software and make needed upgrades and repairs
  • Maintain network and computer system security and ensure that all systems are operating correctly
  • Collect data in order to evaluate and optimize network or system performance
  • Add users to a network and assign and update security permissions on the network
  • Train users in the proper use of hardware and software
  • Interpret and solve problems when a user or an automated monitoring system alerts them that one exists

Administrators manage an organization’s servers and desktop and mobile equipment. They ensure that email and data storage networks work properly. They also make sure that employees’ workstations are working efficiently and stay connected to the central computer network. Some administrators manage telecommunication networks.

In some cases, administrators help network architects design and analyze network models. They also participate in decisions about buying future hardware or software to upgrade their organization’s network. Some administrators provide technical support to computer users, and they also may supervise computer support specialists who help solve users’ problems.

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How To Become A Principal Systems Engineer

Most employers require network and computer systems administrators to have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. Others may require only a postsecondary certificate.

Education

Although some employers require only a postsecondary certificate, most require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science. There are degree programs that focus on computer network and system administration. However, because administrators work with computer hardware and equipment, a degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering usually is acceptable as well. Programs in these fields usually include classes in computer programming, networking, or systems design.

Because network technology is continually changing, administrators need to keep up with the latest developments. Many continue to take courses throughout their careers and attend information technology (IT) conferences to keep up with the latest technology. Some businesses require that an administrator get a master’s degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification programs are generally offered directly from vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates knowledge and best practices required from network and computer systems administrators. Companies may require their network and computer systems administrators to be certified in the product they use. Microsoft and Cisco offer some of the most common certifications.

Other Experience

To gain practical experience, many network administrators participate in internship programs while in school.

Advancement

Network administrators can advance to become computer network architects. They can also advance to managerial jobs in information technology (IT) departments, such as computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Administrators need analytical skills to evaluate network and system performance and determine how changes in the environment will affect them.

Communication skills. Administrators must be able to describe problems and their solutions to non-IT workers.

Computer skills. Administrators oversee the connections of many different types of computer equipment and must ensure that they all work together properly.

Multitasking skills. Administrators may have to work on many problems and tasks at the same time.

Problem-solving skills. Administrators must be able to quickly resolve any problems that arise with computer networks.

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Principal Systems Engineer Jobs

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Principal Systems Engineer Career Paths

Principal Systems Engineer
Program Manager Product Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Infrastructure Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Senior Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director, Technical Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Director Information Technology Director
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Technical Project Manager Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Manager, Systems Engineering Information Technology Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Manager, Systems Engineering Information Technology Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Manager, Systems Engineering
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Manager Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Manager Production Manager Engineering Manager
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Technical Manager Technical Support Manager
Data Center Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Architect Solutions Architect Network Manager
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Architect Solutions Architect Systems Manager
Senior Manager-Systems
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Architect Senior Systems Architect Senior System Administrator
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Principal Consultant Enterprise Architect Senior Technical Consultant
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
Manager Operations Director Director, Technical Operations
Director Of Information Technology Security
12 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Senior Systems Architect Senior System Administrator
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Manager Technical Support Manager Information Technology Operations Manager
Senior Manager Infrastructure
12 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Engineer 4.3 years
Systems Engineer 3.1 years
Top Careers Before Principal Systems Engineer
Engineer 3.8%
Consultant 3.4%
Manager 2.0%
Top Careers After Principal Systems Engineer
Consultant 6.5%
Manager 3.0%
Principal 3.0%

Do you work as a Principal Systems Engineer?

Principal Systems Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

80.2%

Female

10.1%

Unknown

9.7%
Ethnicity

White

57.1%

Hispanic or Latino

13.5%

Asian

12.9%

Black or African American

11.2%

Unknown

5.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

34.0%

Carrier

13.2%

French

9.4%

German

7.5%

Italian

7.5%

Russian

3.8%

Portuguese

3.8%

Chinese

3.8%

Japanese

3.8%

Romanian

1.9%

Cantonese

1.9%

Gujarati

1.9%

Dari

1.9%

Hindi

1.9%

Mandarin

1.9%

Swedish

1.9%
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Principal Systems Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

9.7%

George Washington University

9.2%

Johns Hopkins University

7.4%

University of Maryland - University College

6.6%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.4%

Pennsylvania State University

5.4%

Arizona State University

5.1%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4.6%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.6%

Strayer University

4.6%

Northeastern University

4.6%

George Mason University

4.3%

University of Southern California

4.1%

Purdue University

3.8%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

3.6%

Stevens Institute of Technology

3.6%

University of Arizona

3.6%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.3%

Florida Institute of Technology-Melbourne

3.3%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.1%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

26.5%

Computer Science

13.3%

Business

9.4%

Systems Engineering

5.5%

Mechanical Engineering

5.4%

Computer Information Systems

5.2%

Computer Engineering

4.9%

Physics

4.5%

Information Technology

3.5%

Engineering

3.4%

Management

2.7%

Mathematics

2.4%

Aerospace Engineering

2.4%

Project Management

1.9%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.7%

Information Systems

1.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.6%

Computer Networking

1.6%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.3%

Education

1.2%
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Degrees

Masters

40.0%

Bachelors

33.2%

Other

10.6%

Doctorate

10.2%

Certificate

3.0%

Associate

2.4%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$119,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$93,000
Min 10%
$119,000
Median 50%
$119,000
Median 50%
$119,000
Median 50%
$119,000
Median 50%
$119,000
Median 50%
$119,000
Median 50%
$119,000
Median 50%
$151,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Mountain View, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
4.6 years
How much does a Principal Systems Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Principal Systems Engineer in the United States is $119,442 per year or $57 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $93,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $152,000.

Real Principal Systems Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal System Architecture Engineer Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 26, 2015 $205,000
Principal Systems Engineer/Manager/QCT Architecture Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Sep 01, 2015 $192,109 -
$217,700
Principal Systems Engineer Palo Alto Networks, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Dec 19, 2016 $186,000
Principal Systems Engineer Collective Media, Inc. New York, NY Sep 20, 2015 $185,000
Principal Systems Engineer/Chipset Power Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Apr 27, 2015 $176,946 -
$211,300
Principal Systems and Control Engineer Cameron LNG, LLC Hackberry, LA Sep 05, 2015 $160,000
Principal System Engineer CSRA, LLC Baltimore, MD May 10, 2016 $160,000
Principal Systems Engineer Cypress Semiconductor Corporation San Jose, CA Jul 19, 2016 $160,000
Principal Systems and Control Engineer Cameron LNG, LLC Houston, TX Sep 05, 2015 $160,000
Senior Principal Systems Engineer Tintri, Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 30, 2016 $159,370
Senior Principal Systems Engineer Tintri, Inc. Mountain View, CA Jan 19, 2016 $159,370
Principal Systems Engineer Cypress Semiconductor Corporation San Jose, CA Nov 30, 2015 $157,477 -
$160,000
Principal Systems Engineer Athoc, Inc. San Mateo, CA Sep 17, 2016 $155,000 -
$160,000
Principal Systems Engineer The Gap, Inc. San Francisco, CA Dec 20, 2015 $138,445 -
$178,000
Principal Systems Engineer Advanced Bionics LLC Santa Clarita, CA Sep 19, 2016 $137,700
Principal Engineer Systems Architecture Micro Systems Engineering, Inc. Lake Oswego, OR Jan 09, 2016 $137,048
Principal Systems Engineer F5 Networks, Inc. Seattle, WA Sep 20, 2015 $135,719
Principal Systems Engineer EMC Corporation Bellevue, WA Jan 08, 2016 $135,366 -
$194,950
Principal Engineer Systems Architecture Micro Systems Engineering, Inc. Lake Oswego, OR Nov 25, 2015 $133,614 -
$145,614
Principal Systems Engineer-Platform Lead .02) Thales Avionics, Inc. Irvine, CA Feb 06, 2016 $132,486
Principal Engineer, Systems CSR Technology Inc. Santa Ana, CA Sep 01, 2015 $132,288 -
$175,000
Principal Engineer-Instrumentation & Protective Systems BP America Inc. Naperville, IL Aug 25, 2016 $114,000 -
$118,000
Principal Systems Engineer Arris Solutions, Inc. Beaverton, OR Mar 27, 2015 $113,666 -
$123,666
Principal Systems Engineer Arris Enterprises, Inc. Beaverton, OR Mar 27, 2015 $113,665 -
$123,665
SR. Principal Systems Engineer Boehringer Ingelheim USA Corporation Ridgefield, CT Jan 02, 2015 $113,020 -
$143,000
Principal Corporate Systems Engineer EMC Corporation Hopkinton, MA Jun 22, 2016 $112,000 -
$155,250
Principal Corporate Systems Engineer EMC Corporation Hopkinton, MA Nov 30, 2016 $112,000 -
$155,250
Principal Systems Engineer Informatica Corporation Redwood City, CA Jun 11, 2015 $110,365 -
$138,300

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Top Skills for A Principal Systems Engineer

  1. Test Cases
  2. Systems Engineering
  3. Architecture
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed and maintained automated test cases used to execute production level tests across multiple products.
  • Authored and presented Balancing Thermal Management and PowerPC Performance at 2013 Northrop Grumman Systems Engineering Symposium.
  • Provided innovative design of system architecture to save operational cost of major processing and storage of remote sensed data.
  • Managed Requirements, including User Requirements, Business Requirements, Functional Requirements, and Technical Requirements for the developed systems.
  • Configured and support web-based VDI farm load-balancing solution to achieve VDI infrastructure resiliency and elasticity.

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Top 10 Best States for Principal Systems Engineers

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Colorado
  5. Maryland
  6. Texas
  7. New Jersey
  8. Virginia
  9. Utah
  10. Alabama
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Top Principal Systems Engineer Employers

Jobs From Top Principal Systems Engineer Employers

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