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What Is a Principal Engineer and How to Become One

What Is a Principal Engineer?

A principal engineer oversees the research, development, and design of engineering projects for a company or organization. These engineering experts are leaders in their industries and need an advanced understanding of their discipline to manage projects and guide team members. As a principal engineer, your job duties include creating budgets, negotiating with vendors, and delegating work. You may also train staff members, set project deadlines, and work to improve engineering application processes.

How to Become a Principal Engineer

To become a principal engineer, you typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering and extensive on-the-job experience. You must also have state licensure as a registered professional engineer (PE), which demonstrates the highest level of competence and involves passing two exams. Additional qualifications for the career include strong interpersonal, analytical, and managerial skills, as well as expertise in your engineering specialty.

Principal Engineer Job Description Sample

With this Principal Engineer job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Principal Engineer role.

Job Summary

The Principal Engineer position will be responsible for leading the engineering team and providing technical expertise to the organization. The senior-level technical engineer will develop and implement engineering solutions for the organization, manage technical projects, and oversee the design, development, and implementation of engineering solutions.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement engineering solutions
  • Lead and manage technical projects from conception to completion
  • Oversee and manage the design, development, and implementation of engineering solutions
  • Provide technical expertise and guidance to the engineering team
  • Coordinate with other departments and stakeholders to ensure successful project completion
  • Analyze engineering challenges and develop solutions
  • Monitor and assess the performance of the engineering team
  • Research and recommend new technologies, processes, and procedures

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in engineering or a related field
  • Proven track record of successful project management
  • Strong technical and analytical skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Able to work as part of a team and independently
  • Knowledge of engineering principles and best practices