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Become A Senior Principal Engineer

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Working As A Senior Principal Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $92,582

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Principal Engineer Do

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.

Duties

Software developers typically do the following:

  • Analyze users’ needs and then design, test, and develop software to meet those needs
  • Recommend software upgrades for customers’ existing programs and systems
  • Design each piece of an application or a system and plan how the pieces will work together
  • Create a variety of models and diagrams (such as flowcharts) that instruct programmers how to write software code
  • Ensure that a program continues to function normally through software maintenance and testing
  • Document every aspect of an application or a system as a reference for future maintenance and upgrades
  • Collaborate with other computer specialists to create optimum software

Software developers are in charge of the entire development process for a software program. They may begin by asking how the customer plans to use the software. They must identify the core functionality that users need from software programs. Software developers must also determine user requirements that are unrelated to the functionality of software, such as the level of security and performance needs. They design the program and then give instructions to programmers, who write computer code and test it.

If the program does not work as expected or if testers find it too difficult to use, software developers go back to the design process to fix the problems or improve the program. After the program is released to the customer, a developer may perform upgrades and maintenance.

Developers usually work closely with computer programmers. However, in some companies, developers write code themselves instead of giving instructions to the programmers.

Developers who supervise a software project from the planning stages through implementation sometimes are called information technology (IT) project managers. These workers monitor the project’s progress to ensure that it meets deadlines, standards, and cost targets. IT project managers who plan and direct an organization’s IT department or IT policies are included in the profile on computer and information systems managers.

The following are examples of types of software developers:

Applications software developers design computer applications, such as word processors and games, for consumers. They may create custom software for a specific customer or commercial software to be sold to the general public. Some applications software developers create complex databases for organizations. They also create programs that people use over the Internet and within a company’s intranet.

Systems software developers create the systems that keep computers functioning properly. These could be operating systems for computers that the general public buys or systems built specifically for an organization. Often, systems software developers also build the system’s interface, which is what allows users to interact with the computer. Systems software developers are creating the operating systems that control most of the consumer electronics in use today, including the systems in phones or cars.

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How To Become A Senior Principal Engineer

Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and strong computer programming skills.

Education

Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. A degree in mathematics is also acceptable. Computer science degree programs are the most common, because they tend to cover a broad range of topics. Students should focus on classes related to building software in order to better prepare themselves for work in the occupation. For some positions, employers may prefer a master’s degree.

Although writing code is not their first priority, developers must have a strong background in computer programming. They usually gain this experience in school. Throughout their career, developers must keep up to date on new tools and computer languages.

Software developers also need skills related to the industry in which they work. Developers working in a bank, for example, should have knowledge of finance so that they can understand a bank’s computing needs.

Other Experience

Many students gain experience in software development by completing an internship at a software company while in college.

Some software developers first work as computer programmers and then are given more responsibility as they gain experience. Eventually, they become developers.

Advancement

Software developers can advance to become information technology (IT) project managers, also called computer and information systems managers, a position in which they oversee the software development process.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Developers must analyze users’ needs and then design software to meet those needs.

Communication skills. Developers must be able to give clear instructions to others working on a project. They must also explain to their customers how the software works and answer any questions that arise.

Computer skills. Developers must understand computer capabilities and programming languages in order to design effective software.

Creativity. Developers are the creative minds behind new computer software.

Detail oriented. Developers often work on many parts of an application or system at the same time and must therefore be able to concentrate and pay attention to detail.

Interpersonal skills. Software developers must be able to work well with others who contribute to designing, developing, and programming successful software.

Problem-solving skills. Because developers are in charge of software from beginning to end, they must be able to solve problems that arise throughout the design process.

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Senior Principal Engineer jobs

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Senior Principal Engineer Career Paths

Senior Principal Engineer
Business Developer Business Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Enterprise Architecture
14 Yearsyrs
Lead Engineer Chief Engineer
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Director Vice President Adjunct Professor
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Program Manager General Manager Account Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Business Developer Business Development Manager Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Product Management Director
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Program Director Educator
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Technical Director Director Of Information
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Manager Operations Director
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Lead Engineer Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Technical Program Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Marketing Manager General Manager
Vice President & General Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Director Consultant Senior Project Manager
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Managing Director Principal Consultant Senior Manager
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineering Manager Senior Project Manager Director Of Product Development
Vice President Product Development
12 Yearsyrs
Technical Director Production Manager Product Manager
Vice President, Product Management
13 Yearsyrs
Chief Technology Officer Enterprise Architect Director Of Software Development
Vice President, Software Development
11 Yearsyrs
Managing Director Co-Founder Senior Project Manager
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
Chief Technology Officer Management Consultant Senior Product Manager
Vice President-Products
13 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Principal Engineer 4.7 years
Principle Engineer 4.5 years
Senior Engineer 4.3 years
Staff Engineer 4.3 years
Head Engineer 3.8 years
Service Engineer 3.4 years
Lead Engineer 3.4 years
Team Lead Engineer 3.4 years
Knowledge Engineer 3.4 years
Systems Engineer 3.2 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Solutions Engineer 2.7 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 5.5%
Consultant 5.0%
Principal 3.3%
Manager 2.8%
Top Employers After
Consultant 11.4%
Principal 4.0%
Director 3.6%
President 3.6%

Senior Principal Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

83.5%

Female

11.6%

Unknown

4.8%
Ethnicity

White

69.8%

Asian

18.3%

Hispanic or Latino

7.8%

Unknown

3.4%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

21.6%

German

9.8%

Japanese

9.8%

Chinese

7.8%

French

7.8%

Russian

7.8%

Carrier

7.8%

Italian

5.9%

Portuguese

3.9%

Swedish

2.0%

Navajo

2.0%

Czech

2.0%

Vietnamese

2.0%

Hebrew

2.0%

Gothic

2.0%

Hindi

2.0%

Urdu

2.0%

Croatian

2.0%
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Senior Principal Engineer Education

Schools

University of California - Los Angeles

8.2%

George Washington University

7.2%

Johns Hopkins University

6.7%

Arizona State University

6.3%

New York University

6.3%

Rochester Institute of Technology

6.3%

Pennsylvania State University

5.8%

Drexel University

5.3%

Carnegie Mellon University

5.3%

Stanford University

4.8%

University of Phoenix

4.3%

University of Southern California

4.3%

Northeastern University

4.3%

University of Florida

3.8%

Southern Methodist University

3.8%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.8%

Texas Tech University

3.4%

Strayer University

3.4%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.4%

City College of New York of the City University of New York

3.4%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

24.4%

Business

12.4%

Mechanical Engineering

12.0%

Computer Science

11.7%

Finance

4.0%

Computer Engineering

3.8%

Chemical Engineering

3.6%

Physics

3.6%

Management

2.9%

Engineering

2.6%

Education

2.5%

Computer Information Systems

2.5%

Civil Engineering

2.1%

Mathematics

2.0%

Aerospace Engineering

1.8%

Systems Engineering

1.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.7%

Project Management

1.6%

Industrial Engineering

1.6%

Marketing

1.5%
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Degrees

Masters

38.2%

Bachelors

32.1%

Other

12.9%

Doctorate

11.8%

Certificate

2.5%

Associate

1.7%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
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Internship
Temporary

Real Senior Principal Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Development Senior Principal Engineer Dell Products L.P. Santa Clara, CA Aug 05, 2015 $194,250
Network Development SR. Principal Engineer Dell Products L.P. Santa Clara, CA Nov 30, 2015 $187,232
SR. Principal Engineer Fortinet, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Oct 23, 2015 $182,000
Senior Principal Engineer VIMO, Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 24, 2015 $180,000
Senior Principal Engineer Raytheon Company Tewksbury, MA Mar 05, 2016 $180,000
SR. Principal Engineer Autodesk, Inc. San Francisco, CA Dec 30, 2016 $169,800
SR. Principal Engineer Parker Hannifin Corporation Irvine, CA Sep 17, 2016 $168,615
Engineer, SR. Principal Qlogic Corporation Mountain View, CA Sep 20, 2016 $165,006
Senior Principal Engineer-Architecture Rambus Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jul 09, 2016 $165,000 -
$195,000
Principal Engr-Sw Devlpmt (Senior Member Technical Staff) MCI Communications Services, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 23, 2016 $165,000
Senior Principal Engineer-Regulatory Affairs Hughes Network Systems LLC Germantown, MD May 09, 2016 $165,000
Senior Principal Engineer, Asic Clariphy Communications, Inc. Irvine, CA Jan 09, 2016 $165,000
SR. Principal Engineer Mangstor Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 25, 2016 $160,000
Senior Principal Product Engineer Cadence Design Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Apr 15, 2016 $159,705 -
$206,700
Senior Principal Engineer Autodesk, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 16, 2016 $145,400
Senior Principal Modeler Risk Management Solutions, Inc. Newark, CA Jan 13, 2016 $145,000 -
$175,000
Senior Principal Engineer Teksystems Global Services LLC Detroit, MI Jul 09, 2015 $141,208
Senior Principal Engineer-Smte Adient Us LLC Plymouth, MI Jan 07, 2016 $141,170 -
$198,500
SR. Principal, Corporate Strategy Ca, Inc. New York, NY Sep 05, 2016 $140,000
Packaging Senior Principal Engineer Skyworks Solutions, Inc. Irvine, CA Aug 16, 2015 $140,000
SR. Principal, Corporate Strategy Ca, Inc. New York, NY May 09, 2016 $140,000
SR. Principal Engineer Performance Software Corp. Bothell, WA Jul 20, 2015 $138,847
Senior Principal Engineer (F/K/A Staff Engineer) Global Tel*Link Corporation Houston, TX Jan 03, 2015 $121,900
Senior Principal Engineer Hughes Systique Private Limited Rockville, MD Jun 05, 2016 $121,701
Senior Principal Automation Engineer Baxter Healthcare Corporation Los Angeles, CA Jul 31, 2015 $121,643
Senior Principal Inspirage LLC Bellevue, WA Jul 31, 2015 $121,000
Senior Principal Inspirage LLC Bellevue, WA Sep 09, 2015 $121,000
Senior Principal Inspirage LLC Bellevue, WA Jul 13, 2015 $121,000
Senior Principal Inspirage LLC Bellevue, WA Jun 29, 2015 $121,000

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Top Skills for A Senior Principal Engineer

HardwareArchitectureTestProceduresComplianceProjectManagementReliabilityDeliveryRSafetyProductDevelopmentFacilityBusinessDevelopmentWindowsWebDatabaseStorageC/C++LinuxRFVideo

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Top Senior Principal Engineer Skills

  1. Hardware
  2. Architecture
  3. Test Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided engineer evolution of hardware related to Airworthiness.
  • Developed technical architecture, prototype implementation, and pilot launch of tools to streamline workflow while leading a team of 19.
  • Assisted and established the engineering specifications for vehicle fording test and jettison test procedures for the ABV.
  • Project efforts improved plant safety and reduced OSHA compliance risks.
  • Spearheaded all project management from project definition to implementation.

Top Senior Principal Engineer Employers

Senior Principal Engineer Videos

John - Amazon Senior Principal Engineer

A day in a life of a Senior Software Engineer

Dr. Bernardo Lisker, International Director and Senior Principal Engineer de MITRE

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