3 Principal Software Engineer Resume Examples for 2024

Stephen Greet
Stephen Greet January 14, 2024
3 Principal Software Engineer Resume Examples for 2024

As a principal software engineer, you’re a leader and a major player in the decision-making process at your company. You help drive the direction of a project or product by using your technical expertise to design new systems and processes.

Getting to this stage of your career must have taken years of hard work, and it’s a gargantuan task to get all of that experience onto a one-page resume. Don’t worry—it’s not as bad as it might seem.

Our principal software engineer resume templates have been specially designed to help you showcase those career-defining moments. Just follow our resume tips and you’ll be ready to land your next position!

Principal Software Engineer Resume

or download as PDF

Principal software engineer resume example with 6+ years experience

Modern Principal Software Engineer Resume

or download as PDF

Modern principal software engineer resume example with 6+ years experience

What Matters Most: Your Coding Skills & Software Engineering Experience

Your resume skills and work experience

Due to your extensive experience in the industry, you have both a broad range of skills and niche specializations. However, it’s important not to go overboard when listing skills on your resume

The ideal approach is to match your list to each job description. For example, if the company is seeking a back-end dev, focus on your knowledge of Python or C++. In addition, display your broad knowledge of programming as a whole.

Make sure to list at least one high-level and one low-level programming language, an architectural technology like AWS or Azure, and a range of libraries and software that cover different areas. The list below will vary based on your programming languages of choice.

9 best principal software engineer skills

  • C++
  • Python
  • C#
  • SQL
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Docker
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Jenkins

Sample principal software engineer work experience bullet points

When writing your work experience bullet points, it’s all about show, don’t tell. Don’t tell the hiring manager what your previous company wanted from the role; instead, tell them what you personally did with it. 

The best way to do this is to get specific and tangible, focusing on the outcomes of projects you were deeply involved in and using identifiable metrics to back up and highlight your successes. This makes your claims believable, impressive, and eye-catching. 

As a technical lead, you should also talk about the teams you managed and the ideas you spearheaded to successful completion. This adds a sense of leadership to your accomplishments.

Here’s how you can quantify your impact:

  • Designed and implemented a highly scalable cloud infrastructure, reducing monthly hosting expenses by 32% while maintaining 99.99% uptime 
  • Led the successful integration of a third-party API, expanding product functionality and driving a 25% increase in revenue within 3 months of implementation
  • Championed the adoption of a code review process, improving code quality and reducing post-release defects by 29%
  • Headed a cross-functional team in the migration of a legacy system to a microservices architecture, resulting in a 55% reduction in system downtime and a 67% increase in scalability

Top 5 Tips for Your Principal Software Engineer Resume

  1. Showcase your specializations 
    • After years of experience in the industry, you’ve developed some specific areas of expertise. It’s important to highlight these even if they’re not particularly relevant to the role. Are you a back-end, front-end, or full-stack dev? Make it clear throughout your resume.
  2. Highlight your design skills
    • Principal engineers aren’t one of the cogs that help bring a plan to completion—they’re the technical leaders that design and structure the direction of a project. Make sure to demonstrate your project planning and idea-championing skills and experience in your work experience bullet points.
  3. Express constant growth
    • Many say that programming is a passion as much as it is a job. Show that you’re up to date and interested in coding by talking about conferences you’ve attended, new courses you’ve tried, or your own projects you worked on outside of your job.
  4. Tailor your resume
    • Your title as a principal engineer is very powerful, but this doesn’t mean you should send out a one-size-fits-all resume. Instead, tailor your work experience highlights to each role and maximize your chances. 
  5. Illustrate your soft skills
    • Rather than listing soft skills, it’s much more convincing to illustrate your proficiency through your work experience bullet points. After all, your job involves writing up technical design documents, giving presentations, and convincing other engineers and stakeholders—all of that demonstrates your people skills.
How long should my resume be?

Your experience is extensive, so it’s okay to go over one page—but it’s best to fit it all into one. However, you can include a link to your website and portfolio to let recruiters learn more about you.

Should I include all of my work experience?

It’s usually best to focus on your principal roles and what came directly before them. There’s no need to include more than three different roles; your other jobs can just be quick mentions at that point. 

Should I include a cover letter with my resume?

Yes, cover letters are essential for principal software engineers. It gives you space to expand on a few points in your resume, showcase your personality, and focus directly on what you’d like to achieve at the company.