Frequently, a startup CTO finds that they prefer more technical engineering roles, and settle back into other roles, like Principal Engineer, VP of Engineering, or Chief Architect. JUNIOR PRINCIPAL / PARTNER MID-LEVEL PRINCIPAL / PARTNER Principal or partner; titles may include executive or senior vice president. The Principal Enterprise Architect may aspire to the slight raise inherent in being the Chief Architect, but this managerial position is largely ceremonial or honorary in nature and not a big step up. The senior principal architect is typically the firm's founder or one of its chief officers. In a single-person firm, the founder serves as the principal architect and handles all business and design decisions. Definition of Architect Positions From 2002 AIA Compensation Report: ... titles may include president, chief executive officer, or managing principal/partner. Most principals have some form of ownership in the company, whether through their role as founders or as more recent investors. Throughout the process, a principal architect manages the work of other professionals.