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What does a Principal Software Engineer do? by Bobi Dev Genius

As an Engineer well into your career, we know you’re an expert at what you do and have a breadth of experience across front and backend technologies. You take pride in being someone who more junior members look up to and sharing your expertise with others… That’s why we’re placing a heavy emphasis on leaning on your expertise to take on a high level of responsibility while being a role model and mentor to others on the team. Within company A, Janet is a manager leading a relatively recent PaaS offering. She rewards quick thinking, wants her team to be satisfied, and gives her team yearly stock options because she doesn’t want anyone to leave.

Is principal software engineer higher than staff software engineer?

The rank above a staff engineer is principal engineer. It's harder to pin down the day-to-day execution of this role because each person's journey depends on their own expertise, and how they can apply it to help the business achieve its goals.

Unlike engineering managers, it’s important that I do “hands on” work. This includes my own tech designs and coding, but much more reviewing the designs and code of others. I see my job as delivering technical artifacts through others. What’s different between the principal/staff role and the senior eng/tech lead role is the levels of indirection. For a senior eng, you are generally owning the output of a team of people (roughly 3-7 people, though it varies). There are many key differences between these two careers, including some of the skills required to perform responsibilities within each role.

Jira Software

And if you don’t, and/or they keep pushing you to climb the ladder further, then yeah, you should probably find a new gig. I’ve been very disappointed by comparing people’s titles with their actual technical ability — somehow it never seems to be the case that the ability outstrips the title. A principal developer and principal IT architect should also be able to identify the best new approaches for the organization and take the responsibility of training new each new SW developer on how to implement it. Senior vs principal engineer on the other hand focuses on implementation and bug fixing on either a new system or in an already existing one.

  • The projects were just too different from each other and that made it really hard for me to context shift between them.
  • As others have noted, it really varies between companies, but the main difference between Senior/Staff and Principal is that the latter can be a much more “people” oriented role.
  • I just want to write, improve or even remove code to make software better.

Our community fosters an environment of positive energy, collaboration, and sustainable growth. We know that maintaining an open flow of information across teams, among individuals, up and down and around the company, is crucial to how we work. We are a company of builders, and we are driven to confront the hard problems and solve them. Want to see what a day in the life of an Okta employee looks like? Check out our blog to meet our team members and see how we’re living out Okta’s values every day. I do think management is something more people should try in a controlled fashion, but make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons.

Solutions Engineering

“What got you here, won’t get you there.” This was something that I heard a lot when I was a Senior Software Engineer who was curious about being a Staff Engineer. When it came to the Staff promotion specifically, this piece of advice was spot on. As I mentioned above, the skill set needed to be a successful Staff Engineer at Google looks very different than the levels before.

what is a principal software engineer

Senior engineers earn lower levels of education than principal software engineers in general. They’re 5.2% less likely to graduate with a Master’s Degree Icebreakers for Virtual Meetings That Are Fun and Creative and 0.4% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree. Finding and hiring the right principal software engineer for your company is a very tedious process.

How to hire a Principal Software Engineer with no hassle

That is why offshoring your software development needs can be the best solution to your problem. Of course, there are pros and cons of offshoring, but many companies have found great success by going this route. It would be best to look for candidates who exhibit exemplary leadership, communication, problem-solving, and organization skills. Before interviewing or considering any candidates, analyze your recruitment process first. As it may not be prudent to let principal developer candidates undergo test assignments.

Due to Appfire’s exponential growth, we are seeking a talented and highly self-motivated professional to join our team as a Principal Software Engineer. In this pivotal role, you will be working with a high performance team that designs and delivers enterprise-class software products and solutions in the Atlassian landscape. There will be many opportunities to showcase your deep technical knowledge, keen analytical skills, proficiency at written communication, as well as your interpersonal and organizational skills. You will participate in technical analysis, design and development of Appfire’s Business Intelligence and Reporting apps. Application to principal software engineering job requires the SW engineer to have the knowledge in integrating and testing different components of a system to create the ideal operational service.

Principal Software Engineer Certificates and Courses

Make sure they are challenged enough to grow, but not so much that they end up stressed and out of kilt. You need to be able to communicate with not just other software engineers, but also product managers, directly with customers and many other verticals within a business. I think there’s a continuum of political savvy, though, where most developers have some level of it. Managers deal with unrealistic salary bands via title inflation when they can, but sometimes their hands are tied. I joined a team that did have the freedom to use title inflation and ended up with a principal title in a team with more principal engineers than non-principal engineers. One interesting thing about senior engineers is the fact that they reach title inflation once they hit over 7 years of experience.

Principal level is then another 6-8 months away, but they have very few of those due to insane attrition rates by that point. At my previous place I managed a senior engineer and made it amply clear to him that we are peers. Between us my job was to handle all the bureaucracy (including scheduling https://forexarticles.net/what-are-the-software-development-models/ meetings, finding meeting rooms etc.,) and his was to be the team’s tech lead. I was a manager-of-managers, but officially I was a “senior software engineer”. Burned me badly on a couple reference checks, until I specifically started explaining the situation during interviews.

As I mentioned earlier, if you become an expert in software engineering, you should not have any problems with moving to web development or other areas. I agree that “the solver” is one flavor of the role, but I think there are a few other valid ones too. Many of the staff+ engineers I’ve interacted with fall in the “tech lead” or “architect” category. Now, company B is a consulting company that wants to offer “senior” engineers for $1000+/hour. They never hire anyone with the title “junior” (not even fresh grads) and promote practically everyone after 8-16 months to a senior title.

  • While their salaries may differ, the common ground between principal software engineers and senior applications engineers are a few of the skills required in each roleacirc;euro;trade;s responsibilities.
  • On average, senior engineers earn a lower salary than principal software engineers.
  • This is the most visible with the CEOs that fail being given absurd bonuses and then justifying that as necessary to attract top talent.
  • Tech expo and conventions are another way of scouting high-level tech professionals.

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