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Become A Principal Technologist

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Working As A Principal Technologist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $103,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Principal Technologist Do

Computer and information systems managers, often called information technology (IT) managers or IT project managers, plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization. They help determine the information technology goals of an organization and are responsible for implementing computer systems to meet those goals.

Duties

Computer and information systems managers typically do the following:

  • Analyze their organization’s computer needs and recommend possible upgrades for top executives to consider
  • Plan and direct the installation and maintenance of computer hardware and software
  • Ensure the security of an organization’s network and electronic documents
  • Assess the costs and benefits of new projects and justify funding on projects to top executives
  • Learn about new technology and look for ways to upgrade their organization’s computer systems
  • Determine short- and long-term personnel needs for their department
  • Plan and direct the work of other IT professionals, including computer systems analysts, software developers, information security analysts, and computer support specialists
  • Negotiate with vendors to get the highest level of service for their organization’s technology

Few managers carry out all of these duties. There are various types of computer and information systems managers, and the specific duties of each are determined by the size and structure of the firm. Smaller firms may not employ every type of manager.

The following are examples of types of computer and information systems managers:

Chief information officers (CIOs) are responsible for the overall technology strategy of their organizations. They help determine the technology or information goals of an organization and then oversee implementation of technology to meet those goals.

CIOs may focus on a specific area, such as electronic data processing or information systems, but CIOs tend to focus more on long-term or big picture issues. At small organizations a CIO has more direct control over the IT department, and at larger organizations other managers under the CIO may handle the day-to-day activities of the IT department.

CIOs who do not have technical expertise and who focus solely on a company’s business aspects are included in a separate profile on top executives.

Chief technology officers (CTOs) evaluate new technology and determine how it can help their organization. When both CIOs and CTOs are present, the CTO usually has more technical expertise.

The CTO is responsible for designing and recommending the appropriate technology solutions to support the policies and directives issued by the CIO. CTOs also work with different departments to implement the organization’s technology plans.

The CTO usually reports directly to the CIO and may be responsible for overseeing the development of new technologies or other research and development activities. When a company does not have a CIO, the CTO determines the overall technology strategy for the firm and presents it to top executives.

IT directors, including management information systems (MIS) directors, are in charge of their organizations’ information technology (IT) departments, and they directly supervise other employees. IT directors help to determine the business requirements for IT systems, and they implement the policies that have been chosen by top executives. IT directors often have a direct role in hiring members of the IT department. It is their job to ensure the availability of data and network services by coordinating IT activities. IT directors also oversee the financial aspects of their department, such as budgeting.  

IT security managers oversee their organizations’ network and data security. They work with top executives to plan security policies and promote a culture of information security throughout the organization. They develop programs to keep employees aware of security threats. These managers must keep up to date on IT security measures. They also supervise investigations if there is a security violation.

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How To Become A Principal Technologist

Typically, a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science, plus related work experience, is required. Many computer and information systems managers also have a graduate degree.

Education

Computer and information systems managers normally must have a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information science–related field. Such a degree usually takes 4 years to complete and includes courses in computer programming, software development, and mathematics. Management information systems (MIS) programs usually include business classes as well as computer-related ones.

Many organizations require their computer and information systems managers to have a graduate degree as well. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is common and takes 2 years beyond the undergraduate level to complete. Many people pursuing an MBA take classes while working, an option that can increase the time required to complete that degree.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Most jobs for computer and information systems managers require several years of experience in a related information technology (IT) job. Lower level management positions may require only a few years of experience. Directors are more likely to need 5 to 10 years of related work experience. A chief technology officer (CTO), who oversees the technology plan for a large organization, may need more than 15 years of experience in the IT field before being considered for a job.

The number of years of experience required varies with the organization. Generally, smaller or newer companies do not require as much experience as larger or more established ones.

Computer systems are used throughout the economy, and IT employees may gain experience in a variety of industries. However, an applicant’s work experience should be in the same industry they are applying to work in. For example, an IT security manager should have previously worked in information security. A hospital IT director should have experience in the healthcare field.

Advancement

Most computer and information systems managers start out as lower level managers and advance to higher positions within the IT department. IT directors or project managers can advance to become CTOs. A CTO or other manager who is especially business minded can advance to become a chief information officer (CIO), the person in charge of all IT-related decisions in an organization. CIOs can advance to become top executives in an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. IT managers must be able to analyze problems and consider and select the best ways to solve them.

Business skills. IT managers must develop and implement strategic plans to reach the goals of their organizations.

Communication skills. IT managers must be able to explain their work to top executives and give clear instructions to their subordinates.

Decisionmaking skills. Some IT managers must make important decisions about how to allocate resources in order to reach their organizations’ goals.

Leadership skills. IT managers must be able to lead and motivate IT teams or departments so that workers are efficient and effective.

Organizational skills. Some IT managers must coordinate the work of several different IT departments to make the organization run efficiently.

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Principal Technologist Jobs

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Principal Technologist Career Paths

Principal Technologist
Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Infrastructure Project Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Enterprise Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Technical Project Manager Information Technology Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Principal Director Information Technology Director
Global Director Of Information Technology
14 Yearsyrs
Principal Owner Information Technology Director
Executive Director, Information Technology
9 Yearsyrs
Principal Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Director Of Technology And Services
Vice President Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Technical Director Director, Technical Operations
Vice President Of Technical Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Manager Information Technology Manager
Global Information Technology Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Manager Office Manager Practice Manager
Practice Director
12 Yearsyrs
Manager Service Manager Information Technology Manager
Manager Information Technology Applications
11 Yearsyrs
Principal Consultant Program Manager Director Program Management
Vice President-Program Management
14 Yearsyrs
Principal Consultant Solutions Architect Solutions Manager
Senior Solutions Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Principal Consultant Development Manager Manager Applications Development
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Network Manager Information Systems Manager
Director Of Information Services
9 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Network Manager Infrastructure Manager
Senior Manager Infrastructure
12 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Manager, Systems Engineering Information Systems Director
Information Technology Systems Director
10 Yearsyrs
Enterprise Architect Senior Technical Consultant Business Systems Senior Analyst
Director Of Business Systems
13 Yearsyrs
Enterprise Architect Software Development Manager System Development Manager
Director Systems Development
10 Yearsyrs
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Principal Technologist Demographics

Gender

Male

74.9%

Female

15.2%

Unknown

9.9%
Ethnicity

White

57.6%

Hispanic or Latino

16.4%

Asian

11.2%

Black or African American

10.5%

Unknown

4.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

32.3%

French

9.2%

Chinese

7.7%

Mandarin

6.2%

Russian

6.2%

German

6.2%

Carrier

3.1%

Italian

3.1%

Portuguese

3.1%

Japanese

3.1%

Czech

3.1%

Dakota

3.1%

Arabic

3.1%

Dutch

1.5%

Korean

1.5%

Shan

1.5%

Hungarian

1.5%

Armenian

1.5%

Cantonese

1.5%

Greek

1.5%
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Principal Technologist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.0%

University of Houston

11.2%

George Washington University

7.5%

Northeastern University

6.4%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.3%

Strayer University

4.8%

George Mason University

4.3%

Purdue University

4.3%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

3.7%

Texas A&M University

3.7%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3.7%

University of Virginia

3.7%

University of Arizona

3.7%

Villanova University

3.2%

University of California - Berkeley

3.2%

Texas Tech University

3.2%

Pennsylvania State University

3.2%

Community College of the Air Force

3.2%

University of Memphis

3.2%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

3.2%
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Majors

Business

18.2%

Computer Science

14.9%

Electrical Engineering

14.0%

Mechanical Engineering

5.1%

Computer Information Systems

5.1%

Information Technology

4.7%

Finance

4.0%

Management

3.5%

Chemical Engineering

3.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.3%

Mathematics

3.1%

Computer Engineering

2.7%

Chemistry

2.6%

Accounting

2.6%

Engineering

2.5%

Management Information Systems

2.4%

Information Systems

2.2%

Project Management

1.9%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.9%

English

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.7%

Masters

26.2%

Other

17.5%

Associate

9.1%

Doctorate

6.0%

Certificate

3.0%

Diploma

1.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$103,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$69,000
Min 10%
$103,000
Median 50%
$103,000
Median 50%
$103,000
Median 50%
$103,000
Median 50%
$103,000
Median 50%
$103,000
Median 50%
$103,000
Median 50%
$155,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
McDermott International
Highest Paying City
Mountain View, CA
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.5 years
How much does a Principal Technologist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Principal Technologist in the United States is $103,966 per year or $50 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $69,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $155,000.

Real Principal Technologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal Display Technologist Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Nov 17, 2016 $240,000
Principal-Technology Research Analyst 7Th Sense Research Redondo Beach, CA Jan 09, 2016 $200,000
Principal, Technology, Technology Strategy & Architecture Deloitte Consulting LLP New York, NY Oct 13, 2015 $188,844 -
$192,310
Principal Technical Business Developer Amazon Web Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 10, 2016 $185,000
Principal Technical Business Developer Amazon Web Services, Inc. New York, NY Jan 18, 2016 $185,000
Principal IT Performance and Scalability Engineer Tesla Motorsinc Fremont, CA May 07, 2015 $180,000
Principal Technologist IV Nuovo Solutions LLC Greenwood Village, CO Nov 14, 2016 $180,000
Technical Platform Solutions Principal Itelligence, Inc. Cincinnati, OH Mar 15, 2016 $170,000
Principal, Technical Lead (Data Management) Applied Predictive Technologies San Francisco, CA Jan 09, 2016 $170,000
Lead Principal Technical Architect at&T Mobility Services, LLC Atlanta, GA Sep 11, 2015 $165,633
Lead Principal Technical Architect at&T Mobility Services, LLC Atlanta, GA Sep 08, 2015 $165,633
Tech Yahoo, Paranoid, Principal Yahoo! Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Feb 27, 2015 $163,000 -
$183,000
Principal Technology Architect-US Infosys Limited NJ Sep 25, 2016 $156,365
Principal Technology Architect-US Infosys Limited San Francisco, CA Jun 28, 2015 $155,000
Principal-Technology Security at&T Services, Inc. Bothell, WA Jan 10, 2016 $124,503
Principal Technical Architect at&T Services, Inc. Hoffman Estates, IL Dec 03, 2015 $123,946
Principal Technical Professional KBR Technical Services, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 15, 2015 $123,261
Principal IT Developer Symantec Corporation Mountain View, CA Apr 11, 2016 $123,240
Principal Technical Consultant Sap America, Inc. Bellevue, WA Jun 17, 2015 $122,438
Principal Technical Professional KBR, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 07, 2015 $122,400
Principal, IT Solution Owner T-Mobile USA, Inc. Atlanta, GA Dec 14, 2016 $122,000 -
$129,000
Principal IT Developer Symantec Corporation Mountain View, CA Apr 08, 2015 $122,000
Principal Special Technology Engineer Osram Sylvania, Inc. Danvers, MA Sep 25, 2015 $110,897
Principal Technical Professional-Subsea KBR, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 27, 2016 $110,611
Principal Tech Prof-Engineering/Petrophysical Applications Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. Houston, TX Feb 16, 2015 $110,469
Principal Tech Prof-Engineering/Petrophysical Applications Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. Houston, TX Apr 27, 2015 $110,469
Principal Technical Architect at&T Services, Inc. Plano, TX Sep 06, 2015 $110,240
Principal Technical Professional-Cementing Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 09, 2015 $110,044
Principal Technical Manager Nokia Solutions and Networks Us LLC Irving, TX Aug 18, 2016 $110,000
Principal Technical Consultant Systime Computer Corporation Mansfield, MA Oct 22, 2016 $110,000

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Top Skills for A Principal Technologist

  1. Procedures
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Architecture
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Trained technicians and engineers in area maintenance procedures to meet certification goals.
  • Worked with infrastructure support personnel and business units to ensure multiple database technologies were patched to current supported levels.
  • Defined new tool functionality for architecture development, worked with developers to implement then delivered beta code to lead customers.
  • Provided technical guidance to program and project management regarding new and emerging IT technologies applicable to existing Business Unit operations.
  • Provided model verification by doing data analysis using Excel and R Server to calculate facet correlation coefficient with real escalated accounts.

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Top 10 Best States for Principal Technologists

  1. Alaska
  2. Oregon
  3. District of Columbia
  4. Rhode Island
  5. California
  6. Arizona
  7. Washington
  8. Texas
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Maryland
  • (20 jobs)
  • (118 jobs)
  • (81 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)
  • (1,394 jobs)
  • (195 jobs)
  • (248 jobs)
  • (845 jobs)
  • (96 jobs)
  • (250 jobs)

Top Principal Technologist Employers

Jobs From Top Principal Technologist Employers

Principal Technologist Videos

A Day In The Life of Information Technology (Mac Network)

Career Advice on becoming a Manufacturing Engineer by Lloyd M (Full Version)

Life as a Technical Principal at ThoughtWorks

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