Rob Suchy


In today’s business world, principal data architects are often well compensated for their skills. Usually, they have to be subject matter experts and also possess the ability to lead a team of data architects and certain other specialties, like software developers.

Additionally, they are generally responsible for handling multiple projects simultaneously, at times using innovative approaches, and are frequently tasked with communicating complex information to members of other departments who may not be as familiar with tech-oriented concepts and terminology.

Exactly how much you can make as a principal data architect depends on a number of factors. However, here is some information about averages and pay norms that can give you an initial picture.

National Statistics

Typically, a six-figure salary is considered a norm for principal data architects in the country, with the median pay reaching nearly $140,000. In most cases, monetary compensation is largely award purely as salary, but some companies also offer bonuses and profit sharing opportunities that can impact total compensation, or how it is divided.

Even those starting out in the first principal data architect position or those who choose to work for a smaller company with fewer demands can expect a salary of at least $95,000. However, those with substantial experience or who live in higher cost areas may see opportunities to earn upwards of $200,000 per year between salary, bonuses and profit sharing.

Generally, principal data architect positions also come with a wide range of benefits that up the value of the total compensation package. Medical, dental, vision, and life insurance are common offerings, as well as retirement benefits.

Becoming a Principal Data Architect

While the hiring requirements can vary from one employer to the next, most positions will require a minimum of five years of experience as a data architect, data engineer, data scientists, software engineer, or similar role as well as a substantial amount of education, ranging from a bachelor’s to a master’s, commonly in a field like computer science or its equivalent.

You’ll also need a strong understanding of big data, data structures, and algorithms, regardless of your previous background. Which platforms will be requested will depend on the company, as well as statistical analysis software options and programming languages.

Since these positions are typically leadership roles, a variety of soft skills are also necessary, like strong communications skills and the ability to work with and manage a team. Creativity and problem-solving are also highly valued, as well as being able to conduct thorough independent research when needed. Most professionals in these positions are also highly detail-oriented and analytical, with substantial quantitative skills.

Ultimately, there is no hard and fast rule regarding compensation for a principal data architect role, though anything shy of six-figures is likely to be uncommon.

If you are interested in finding a principal data architect or other tech position, the professionals at Choice Technology Group can connect you with some of today’s leading employers. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today.