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A senior principal engineer is responsible for leading engineering tasks within an organization and reports project updates to senior management. Senior principal engineers develop strategic methods and principles to improve the technical stability and efficiency of the company's systems, creating business proposals according to clients' specifications, and negotiating contracts with suppliers and other service providers. They also train new staff and identify innovations and business opportunities that would generate more revenue resources for the company.

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Senior Principal Engineer Responsibilities

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

  • Lead DoD clients in the achievement of business objectives through the implementation of software and business process solutions.
  • Lead technology teams charge with full life cycle development processes involving system requirements and system architecture.
  • Manage the successful design transfer of all electrical, mechanical and design documentation to the manufacturing facility for full production activities.
  • Perform RF radiation hazard analysis for all facility emitters to establish personnel safety zones.
  • Design attitude control system controllers using MATLAB.
  • Assist with most Unix and Linux system deployments company wide.
  • Administer EMC Symmetrics and DMX's in a SAN environment.
  • Utilize python to create scripts for test media and performance testing.
  • Develop 4K Linux video player using FFmpeg to demonstrate WiGig 802.11ad.
  • Select a microprocessor IP core and map the applications and interfaces onto it.
  • Develop Matlab tools (expert level) for image processing and image quality enhancement.
  • Implement IBM's SVC for block data migration efforts between EMC and Netapp storage.
  • Cooperate with METRON to improve Raytheon s foliage penetrating (FOPEN) radar capabilities.
  • Develop GUI base tools and utilities to aid in the development and testing of disk drives.
  • Monitor and control QA procedures during various phases of project development with major focus on problem solving and debugging.

Senior Principal Engineer Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a Senior Principal Engineer does, you may be wondering, "should I become a Senior Principal Engineer?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, Senior Principal Engineers have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 4% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of Senior Principal Engineer opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 12,800.

Senior Principal Engineers average about $65.26 an hour, which makes the Senior Principal Engineer annual salary $135,746. Additionally, Senior Principal Engineers are known to earn anywhere from $103,000 to $178,000 a year. This means that the top-earning Senior Principal Engineers make $75,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

It's hard work to become a Senior Principal Engineer, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming an Engineer, Team Lead Engineer, Staff Engineer, and Research Engineer.

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5 Senior Principal Engineer Resume Examples

Senior Principal Engineer Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 7% of Senior Principal Engineers are proficient in Python, Architecture, and Hardware. They’re also known for soft skills such as Mechanical skills, Creativity, and Listening skills.

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

  • Python, 7%

    Increased customer satisfaction with quality by generating detailed report using Python scripting tools.

  • Architecture, 7%

    Provided architecture, designed and developed a VeUML Meta-Architecture maximizing the amount of automatically generated and validated code for Real-Time systems.

  • Hardware, 7%

    Conducted analysis study contracts, incorporated signal processing algorithms in FORTRAN VAX software processing packages and made recommendations for hardware development.

  • Cloud, 6%

    Defined pricing strategies to optimize profitability; mentored Solution Directors on Oracle Retail Cloud licensing and migration strategies.

  • Java, 5%

    Served in a critical role as project leader and principal developer for a pure Java version of the GeneTrack V4 product.

  • Software Development, 5%

    Performed initial audit on software development process through a primitive CMM checklist and questionnaire from Carnegie-Mellon.

"Python," "Architecture," and "Hardware" aren't the only skills we found Senior Principal Engineers list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of Senior Principal Engineer responsibilities that we found, including:

  • The most important skills for a Senior Principal Engineer to have in this position are Mechanical skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a Senior Principal Engineer resume, you'll understand why: "Mechanical skills allow engineers to apply basic engineering concepts and mechanical processes to the design of new devices and systems." According to resumes we found, Mechanical skills can be used by a Senior Principal Engineer in order to "Coordinate design activities of Senior Assay Scientists, Embedded Systems, Hardware and Mechanical Engineers. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling Senior Principal Engineer duties is Creativity. According to a Senior Principal Engineer resume, "Mechanical engineers design and build complex pieces of equipment and machinery." Here's an example of how Senior Principal Engineers are able to utilize Creativity: "Launched FPGA deliverable 1 month ahead of schedule by utilizing advanced simulation and inventing unique debugging techniques. "
  • Listening skills is also an important skill for Senior Principal Engineers to have. This example of how Senior Principal Engineers use this skill comes from a Senior Principal Engineer resume, "Mechanical engineers often work on projects with others, such as architects and computer scientists" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "Designed the backend components that directly communicated with the SQL 2012 database that housed the ERP data using Entity Framework 4. "
  • A Senior Principal Engineer responsibilities sometimes require "Math skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "Mechanical engineers use the principles of calculus, statistics, and other advanced subjects in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work." This resume example shows how this skill is used by Senior Principal Engineers: "Developed Java Applets for Frame Relay Statistics presentation. "
  • Yet another important skill that a Senior Principal Engineer must demonstrate is "Problem-solving skills." Mechanical engineers need good problem-solving skills to take scientific principles and discoveries and use them to design and build useful products. This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a Senior Principal Engineer who stated: "Led DoD clients in the achievement of business objectives through the implementation of software and business process solutions. "
  • See the full list of Senior Principal Engineer skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a Senior Principal Engineer. We found that 67.2% of Senior Principal Engineers have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 21.0% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most Senior Principal Engineers have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's impossible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every nine Senior Principal Engineers were not college graduates.

    Those Senior Principal Engineers who do attend college, typically earn either Electrical Engineering degrees or Mechanical Engineering degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for Senior Principal Engineers include Computer Science degrees or Business degrees.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a Senior Principal Engineer. We've found that most Senior Principal Engineer resumes include experience from Northrop Grumman, Salesforce, and Dell. Of recent, Northrop Grumman had 515 positions open for Senior Principal Engineers. Meanwhile, there are 75 job openings at Salesforce and 63 at Dell.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, Senior Principal Engineers tend to earn the biggest salaries at The Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, and McKinsey & Company. Take The Bank of New York Mellon for example. The median Senior Principal Engineer salary is $179,560. At Citigroup, Senior Principal Engineers earn an average of $173,107, while the average at McKinsey & Company is $172,337. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on Senior Principal 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, Motorola Solutions, and Raytheon Company. These three companies have hired a significant number of Senior Principal Engineers from these institutions.

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

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    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.

    In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take Engineer for example. On average, the Engineers annual salary is $49,283 lower than what Senior Principal Engineers make on average every year.

    Even though Senior Principal Engineers and Engineers have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require Curiosity, Python, and Hardware in the day-to-day roles.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a Senior Principal Engineer responsibilities require skills like "Architecture," "Software Development," "DOD," and "Infrastructure." Meanwhile a typical Engineer has skills in areas such as "AWS," "Troubleshoot," "Javascript," and "GIT." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Engineers tend to make the most money in the Professional industry by averaging a salary of $90,753. In contrast, Senior Principal Engineers make the biggest average salary of $135,728 in the Technology industry.

    Engineers tend to reach lower levels of education than Senior Principal Engineers. In fact, Engineers are 8.4% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 4.0% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Team Lead Engineer?

    A team leads engineer is in charge of spearheading and overseeing the efforts of an engineering team, ensuring efficiency and smooth workflow. Although the duties may depend on one's industry of employment, it typically includes designing and developing systems according to project requirements, setting objectives and construction guidelines, delegating tasks, managing budgets and schedules, and monitoring the workflow, performing corrective measures as needed. Furthermore, as a team leads engineer, it is essential to encourage the workforce to reach goals, all while enforcing the company's safety standards and regulations.

    The next role we're going to look at is the Team Lead Engineer profession. Typically, this position earns a lower pay. In fact, they earn a $18,066 lower salary than Senior Principal Engineers per year.

    A similarity between the two careers of Senior Principal Engineers and Team Lead Engineers are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "Python," "Architecture," and "Hardware. "

    While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that Senior Principal Engineer responsibilities requires skills like "Curiosity," "Cloud," "Software Development," and "DOD." But a Team Lead Engineer might use skills, such as, "SAN," "Active Directory," "Javascript," and "Database."

    On the topic of education, Team Lead Engineers earn lower levels of education than Senior Principal Engineers. In general, they're 6.4% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 4.0% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Staff Engineer Compares

    Staff engineers are responsible for designing, developing, and inspecting various products, equipment, or structures. These professionals may perform varied duties depending on their specialization that includes overseeing the design and construction of buildings, bridges, sewer systems, and other infrastructure, estimating the financial costs of construction projects, and ensuring compliance with health and safety laws and regulations. Other duties include designing and developing machinery, tools, and engines, solving design problems, and building the manufacturing equipment needed to create their products.

    The Staff Engineer profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of Senior Principal Engineers. The difference in salaries is Staff Engineers making $22,586 lower than Senior Principal Engineers.

    Using Senior Principal Engineers and Staff Engineers resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "Curiosity," "Python," and "Architecture," but the other skills required are very different.

    There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a Senior Principal Engineer is likely to be skilled in "Cloud," "C #," "DOD," and "Infrastructure," while a typical Staff Engineer is skilled in "CAD," "Microservices," "Javascript," and "Civil 3D."

    Additionally, Staff Engineers earn a higher salary in the Technology industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $124,217. Additionally, Senior Principal Engineers earn an average salary of $135,728 in the Technology industry.

    When it comes to education, Staff Engineers tend to earn lower education levels than Senior Principal Engineers. In fact, they're 5.4% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 2.0% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Research Engineer

    Research Engineers are responsible for a wide range of duties, including researching and developing new technologies and prototypes, and finding solutions to improve techniques, procedures, and technologies.

    Research Engineers tend to earn a lower pay than Senior Principal Engineers by about $51,032 per year.

    According to resumes from both Senior Principal Engineers and Research Engineers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "Python," "Hardware," and "C #. "

    Each job requires different skills like "Curiosity," "Architecture," "Cloud," and "Infrastructure," which might show up on a Senior Principal Engineer resume. Whereas Research Engineer might include skills like "Research Projects," "Data Collection," "Simulink," and "Image Processing."

    Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The Technology industry tends to pay more for Research Engineers with an average of $102,860. While the highest Senior Principal Engineer annual salary comes from the Technology industry.

    In general, Research Engineers reach similar levels of education when compared to Senior Principal Engineers resumes. Research Engineers are 1.9% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 3.7% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.