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In my experience a 'principal' security consultant (I'm in infosec) is the same as the principal engineer you mention. They talk a lot but are so busy, they delegate everything and are very out of practice. If any actual work needs doing, they delegate not only because they don't have time but also because they would need to relearn and look up a lot of things. The junior and senior roles, however, are often pretty accurate descriptions, though the biggest difference is often in management skills and not in technical skills. Some juniors can't do anything and some are as good as some seniors will ever get, but in terms of talking to higher ups or negotiating between companies, there is usually a clear difference. And if a principal consultant still has technical skills, it's not noticeably better than a senior's.





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