A Principal Systems Engineer supervises a group of other engineers in technical projects. They develop and lead systems engineering projects and efforts.

Principal Systems Engineer Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real principal systems engineer resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Lead multiple audits for manufacturing/management processes to meet ISO and CMMI requirements.
  • Manage creation and deletion of user accounts in the department using Perl scripts.
  • Create, share and manage LUN's using EqualLogic, EMC and StoreSimple.
  • Achieve compatibility requirements by partnering with LTE team to perform APCO P25 - LTE device functional and performance testing.
  • Lead complex highly available n-tier web services deployments including worldwide enterprise Internet connectivity.
  • Manage security, which includes monitoring and controlling database access, assigning permissions to application owners.
  • Create verification test plans for TCP/IP network systems and storage area networks (SAN) incorporating Linux and Cisco network equipment.
  • Perform RF signal processing and simulation testing of pulse compression modulations.
  • Configure Linux systems to analyze system performance and review results against verification test plans.
  • Install approve O/S security patches during maintenance windows.
Principal Systems Engineer Traits
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Problem-solving skills is the way that one is able to effectively solve a problem in a timely manner.
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.

Principal Systems Engineer Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a principal systems engineer is "should I become a principal systems engineer?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, principal systems engineer careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 5% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a principal systems engineer by 2028 is 18,200.

On average, the principal systems engineer annual salary is $122,563 per year, which translates to $58.92 an hour. Generally speaking, principal systems engineers earn anywhere from $100,000 to $149,000 a year, which means that the top-earning principal systems engineers make $49,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a principal systems engineer. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include an engineer, network engineer, systems operator, and senior applications engineer.

Principal Systems Engineer Jobs You Might Like

Principal Systems Engineer Resume Examples

Principal Systems Engineer Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 9% of Principal Systems Engineers are proficient in Engineering Support, Hardware, and DOD. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Problem-solving skills, and Analytical skills.

We break down the percentage of Principal Systems Engineers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Engineering Support, 9%

    Managed systems engineering efforts to define satellite communications network management requirements for use of military satellite resources in long-range inter-switch communications.

  • Hardware, 9%

    Coordinated US engineering sales support for a hardware token solution using either synchronous or asynchronous two-factor authentication providing strong network security.

  • DOD, 6%

    Utilized rapid development practices and nontraditional acquisition methods for select DoD weapons systems and prototypes.

  • Business Process, 6%

    Worked closely with business management team to determine business process and right technology strategies to support business objectives.

  • C++, 4%

    Design and implementation of automated build and test tools using TCL, PERL, and Visual C++.

  • RF, 4%

    Detailed analysis and simulation of RF propagation, signal and data processing software prototyping to support requirements and design.

Most principal systems engineers list "engineering support," "hardware," and "dod" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important principal systems engineer responsibilities here:

  • Communication skills can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a principal systems engineer to have. According to a principal systems engineer resume, "administrators must describe problems and their solutions to non-it workers." Principal systems engineers are able to use communication skills in the following example we gathered from a resume: "advised af aoc sme on communications with engineering and esc. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling principal systems engineer duties is problem-solving skills. According to a principal systems engineer resume, "administrators must quickly resolve problems that arise with computer networks." Here's an example of how principal systems engineers are able to utilize problem-solving skills: "support of northgate arinso hr payroll solution java based app. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among principal systems engineers is analytical skills. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a principal systems engineer resume: "administrators need to evaluate networks and systems to make sure that they perform reliably and to anticipate new requirements as customers’ needs change." This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "designed and implemented large-scale projects involving complex databases, data warehouses, java, j2ee. "
  • See the full list of principal systems engineer skills.

    We've found that 66.2% of principal systems engineers have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 21.9% earned their master's degrees before becoming a principal systems engineer. While it's true that most principal systems engineers have a college degree, it's generally impossible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every nine principal systems engineers did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those principal systems engineers who do attend college, typically earn either electrical engineering degrees or computer science degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for principal systems engineers include mechanical engineering degrees or business degrees.

    Once you're ready to become a principal systems engineer, you should explore the companies that typically hire principal systems engineers. According to principal systems engineer resumes that we searched through, principal systems engineers are hired the most by Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Company, and Verizon Communications. Currently, Northrop Grumman has 157 principal systems engineer job openings, while there are 103 at Raytheon Company and 40 at Verizon Communications.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, principal systems engineers tend to earn the biggest salaries at Microsoft, VMware, and Nvidia. Take Microsoft for example. The median principal systems engineer salary is $156,415. At VMware, principal systems engineers earn an average of $150,724, while the average at Nvidia is $150,226. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on principal systems engineer salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Lockheed Martin, Infosys Public Services, and Raytheon Company. These three companies have hired a significant number of principal systems engineers from these institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious principal systems engineers are:

      What Engineers Do

      Engineers are highly trained professionals who determine the feasibility of various projects, usually related to the construction industry. They are considered experts in mathematics and science, two disciplines that they need to use in designing and coming up with plans for projects. They should also be well-versed in different construction or industrial materials, and they ensure that appropriate materials are used for the project. They also ensure that the projects meet the requirements of the groups that hired them. They create spaces that would both address the needs of the end-users and the industry standards. They also ensure that the projects they make would stand the test of time.

      We looked at the average principal systems engineer annual salary and compared it with the average of an engineer. Generally speaking, engineers receive $46,102 lower pay than principal systems engineers per year.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both principal systems engineers and engineers positions are skilled in hardware, c++, and rf.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a principal systems engineer responsibilities require skills like "engineering support," "dod," "business process," and "system design." Meanwhile a typical engineer has skills in areas such as "python," "cloud," "c #," and "aws." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      Engineers really shine in the technology industry with an average salary of $94,633. Whereas principal systems engineers tend to make the most money in the technology industry with an average salary of $131,551.

      Engineers tend to reach lower levels of education than principal systems engineers. In fact, engineers are 15.9% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 8.3% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Network Engineer?

      A network engineer is responsible for managing a network system, monitoring its performance, and upgrading its features to optimize performance and boost efficiency. Network engineers also create new systems, designing them based on clients' specifications and business needs. They also check network defects, perform troubleshooting, improve data security systems, and install security updates. A network engineer must have excellent knowledge of the technology industry, as well as a broad understanding of system codes, programming languages, and network configurations.

      Next up, we have the network engineer profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a principal systems engineer annual salary. In fact, network engineers salary difference is $47,908 lower than the salary of principal systems engineers per year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both principal systems engineers and network engineers are known to have skills such as "infrastructure," "linux," and "windows. "

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that principal systems engineer responsibilities requires skills like "engineering support," "hardware," "dod," and "business process." But a network engineer might use skills, such as, "network security," "protocols," "troubleshoot," and "bgp."

      On average, network engineers earn a lower salary than principal systems engineers. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, network engineers earn the most pay in the finance industry with an average salary of $94,718. Whereas, principal systems engineers have higher paychecks in the technology industry where they earn an average of $131,551.

      When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, network engineers tend to reach lower levels of education than principal systems engineers. In fact, they're 20.7% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 8.3% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Systems Operator Compares

      Systems operators often act as the front liners whose primary job is to ensure the reliable delivery of electricity service to consumers and businesses. They are responsible for overseeing and managing the power grid and controlling electricity flow through transmission lines. Other duties and responsibilities of systems operators include monitoring and operating current converters, observing circuit breakers and voltage transformers, and anticipating the changing needs for power due to weather. They are also responsible for communicating with key stakeholders such as power plant operators to route energy to consumers.

      Let's now take a look at the systems operator profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than principal systems engineers with a $80,656 difference per year.

      Using principal systems engineers and systems operators resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "hardware," "dod," and "rf," but the other skills required are very different.

      Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from principal systems engineer resumes include skills like "engineering support," "business process," "c++," and "system design," whereas a systems operator might be skilled in "procedures," "computer system," "combat," and "situational awareness. "

      Additionally, systems operators earn a higher salary in the technology industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $60,341. Additionally, principal systems engineers earn an average salary of $131,551 in the technology industry.

      Systems operators typically study at lower levels compared with principal systems engineers. For example, they're 35.8% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 11.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Senior Applications Engineer

      A senior applications engineer specializes in designing and developing a variety of applications and systems, ensuring quality and efficiency. Their responsibilities typically revolve around utilizing feedback and client needs when making decisions, creating test structures for applications, performing installment and repairs, troubleshooting, and performing regular maintenance checks and upgrades. Furthermore, as a senior applications engineer, it is essential to lead and encourage the engineering team to reach goals, all while implementing the company's policies and regulations.

      Now, we'll look at senior applications engineers, who generally average a lower pay when compared to principal systems engineers annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $20,269 per year.

      While their salaries may vary, principal systems engineers and senior applications engineers both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "engineering support," "hardware," and "c++. "

      Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a principal systems engineer might have more use for skills like "dod," "business process," "system design," and "infrastructure." Meanwhile, some senior applications engineers might include skills like "procedures," "c #," "database," and "javascript" on their resume.

      In general, senior applications engineers make a higher salary in the health care industry with an average of $111,591. The highest principal systems engineer annual salary stems from the technology industry.

      In general, senior applications engineers reach lower levels of education when compared to principal systems engineers resumes. Senior applications engineers are 5.6% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 7.6% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.