What does a Principal Engineer do?

Learn all about Principal Engineer duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Principal Engineer.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

A principal engineer is responsible for the design and development of products, systems, or processes. They may also be responsible for supervising the work of other engineers and technicians.

Principal Engineer job duties include:

  • Direct and coordinate the work of engineering staff.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of engineering projects.
  • Monitor compliance with safety and regulatory standards.
  • Evaluate project proposals to determine feasibility and desirability.
  • Prepare reports and presentations to communicate project status and findings.
  • Develop budgets and schedules for engineering projects.
  • Coordinate the activities of outside contractors working on engineering projects.
  • Serve as a liaison between the engineering department and other departments within the company.
  • Keep abreast of new developments in engineering technology and methodology.

Principal Engineer Job Requirements

A principal engineer is a senior-level engineering professional who provides leadership and direction for engineering projects. They are responsible for the overall planning, execution, and success of engineering projects. A principal engineer typically has a bachelor's degree in engineering, although some positions may require a master's degree. They must also have several years of experience in an engineering role, as well as any relevant certifications.

Principal Engineer Skills

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Organizational
  • Strategic Planning
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making
  • Interpersonal
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Presentation

Related: Top Principal Engineer Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Principal Engineer

A career as a Principal Engineer can be extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally. As the head of engineering for a company, you will be responsible for ensuring that all engineering projects are completed on time and within budget. You will also be responsible for mentoring and developing junior engineers, as well as managing the engineering team as a whole. If you are interested in becoming a Principal Engineer, there are a few things you need to do in order to make your dream a reality.

First and foremost, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an accredited university. Once you have your degree, it is important to gain experience in the field by working as an engineer for several years. After gaining enough experience, you should then pursue a master’s degree in engineering management or a related field. This will give you the skills and knowledge necessary to lead an engineering team successfully.

Once you have your education and experience in place, it is time to start networking. Get involved with professional organizations related to engineering and make connections with other engineers. These connections will be invaluable when it comes time to apply for jobs or promotions. Additionally, it is important to stay up-to-date on industry news and trends so that you can offer valuable insights to your team.

If you follow these steps, you will be well on your way to becoming a Principal Engineer. With hard work, dedication, and the right qualifications, you can achieve success in this exciting and challenging field.

Related: Principal Engineer Resume Example

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