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As a senior principal engineer, you will deliver products and improvements for the changing world. You will also serve as the testing consultant to be an IT leader in the organization and functional user groups. You will be in charge of changes in methodology, architecture, or programming procedures. You will also act as the prime consultant on large projects that affect the organization's long-term goals and objectives. Similarly, you will acquire detailed specifications from business users and development to ascertain specific output.

Sophisticated knowledge of IT principles and applications is important. Varied knowledge of database, development, system engineering, and networking concepts is required. A good communication skill is needed. Required skill is also a problem-solving skill and ability to work flexible hours. They must be able to use Microsoft packages for presentations. You must be able to multitask, pay attention to details, and organize. You will earn an average of $122,270 a year.

What Does a Senior Principal Engineer Do

There are certain skills that many senior principal engineers 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 mechanical skills, creativity and listening skills.

Learn more about what a Senior Principal Engineer does

How To Become a Senior Principal Engineer

If you're interested in becoming a senior principal engineer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 67.2% of senior principal engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 21.0% of senior principal engineers have master's degrees. Even though most senior principal engineers have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Senior Principal Engineer

Career Path For a Senior Principal Engineer

As you move along in your career, you may start taking on more responsibilities or notice that you've taken on a leadership role. Using our career map, a senior principal engineer can determine their career goals through the career progression. For example, they could start out with a role such as principal, progress to a title such as vice president and then eventually end up with the title vice president product development.

Senior Principal Engineer

Average Salary for a Senior Principal Engineer

Senior Principal Engineers in America make an average salary of $130,642 per year or $63 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $182,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $93,000 per year.
Average Senior Principal Engineer Salary
$130,642 Yearly
$62.81 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Senior Principal Engineer

The role of a senior principal engineer includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general senior principal engineer responsibilities:

  • The senior principal engineer for anti tamper provides technical leadership for the design, development, qualification, integration
  • Coordinates/develops overall technical solutions, to include external
  • Work with cross-functional team members from architecture, product strategy & development, qa, sales & services,

There are several types of senior principal engineer, including:

Lead Engineer


A lead engineer is a professional who supervisors a team of engineers working on maintaining and streamlining corporate projects. As a lead engineer, your duties vary depending on the work industry of employment. Basically, your responsibility as a lead engineer is to ensure that the operations and performance of the workforce are progressive. Also, you are to ensure the smooth running of everything.

In addition, as a lead engineer, you are responsible for addressing concerns and issues monitoring budgets. Furthermore, coordinating with architects and clients, training workers, and assessing risks is also a part of your duties. As a lead engineer, it is important that you conduct inspections regularly. This is to ascertain the quality of work being done and to maintain a safe space for every worker.

Mostly, lead engineers study computer science, electrical engineering, or mechanical engineering. To qualify for this role, you must possess at least a bachelor's degree in any of these relevant fields. Lead engineers earn at least an average salary of $70,536 per year.

  • Average Salary: $84,927
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Staff Engineer


Staff engineers come in all shapes and sizes and work in a variety of industries. They design and build things: systems, services, products, roads, machines, or equipment. They test and repair, according to their field: electrical equipment, heavy machinery, IT systems and devices, and so on.

They are senior members of an organization. Depending on the size and structure of the organization they work for, they might be in charge of their department or operations in their area of expertise. Alternatively, they might work just below the principal engineer.

Generally, you gain promotion into this role from a junior engineer or engineer position, so hang in there if this is your goal.

  • Average Salary: $107,530
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Principal Engineer


Ever been to a mountain climbing adventure where you, along with the team, follow an experienced lead? You can think of the team lead as the Principal Engineer who leads a group of new and experienced engineers throughout the project. They inspect and manage resources and budget, communicate the progress and put all their efforts to increase profitability.

They are the science people who practice the art of managing their team and project and complete project within provided resources. So many engineers pursue a Master's in management sciences to polish their administrative skills, but that's not a must; instead, most principle engineers earn higher degrees in their relevant field.

This leadership job can be termed as one of the highest-paid jobs as you can earn $58.79 per hour on average. As per the book, the Principal Engineer is supposed to work 40 hours a week. Yet don't get stick to this rule. You got to be there until all deliverables are delivered, and deadlines are met.

  • Average Salary: $130,213
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Senior Principal Engineer Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active senior principal engineer jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where senior principal engineers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Senior Principal Engineer Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
4New York4,617$137,658
10North Carolina3,134$114,754
18New Jersey2,198$125,098
27South Carolina809$120,310
30New Hampshire671$128,693
35New Mexico528$124,243
37Rhode Island467$114,211
43West Virginia253$126,444
46North Dakota223$92,569
48South Dakota181$88,794

Senior Principal Engineer Education

Senior Principal Engineer Majors

Senior Principal Engineer Degrees


67.2 %


21.0 %


5.3 %

Top Colleges for Senior Principal Engineers

1. Michigan Technological University

Houghton, MI • Private

In-State Tuition




2. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Senior Principal Engineer

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, 7.6% of senior principal engineers listed python on their resume, but soft skills such as mechanical skills and creativity are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Senior Principal Engineer Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Senior Principal Engineer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Senior Principal Engineer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Senior Principal Engineer diversity

Senior Principal Engineer Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among senior principal engineers, 11.8% of them are women, while 88.2% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among senior principal engineers is White, which makes up 67.2% of all senior principal engineers.

  • The most common foreign language among senior principal engineers is Spanish at 22.4%.

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Best States For a Senior Principal Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a senior principal engineer. The best states for people in this position are California, Delaware, New York, and Massachusetts. Senior principal engineers make the most in California with an average salary of $148,239. Whereas in Delaware and New York, they would average $138,703 and $137,658, respectively. While senior principal engineers would only make an average of $135,832 in Massachusetts, 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. California

Total Senior Principal Engineer Jobs: 15,428
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. District of Columbia

Total Senior Principal Engineer Jobs: 965
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Delaware

Total Senior Principal Engineer Jobs: 430
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Senior Principal Engineers

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Top Senior Principal Engineer 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 senior principal engineers and discovered their number of senior principal engineer opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Western Digital was the best, especially with an average salary of $120,070. Dell follows up with an average salary of $128,309, and then comes Salesforce with an average of $103,862. 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 senior principal engineer. The employers include Salesforce, SAIC, and Northrop Grumman

Most Common Employers For Senior Principal Engineer

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Cadence Design Systems$148,384$71.34132
6American Red Cross$131,363$63.1633
9BAE Systems$125,752$60.4635

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