If you’re a software engineer, you’ve got the best job in the world. At least that’s what some people think. High pay. Low stress. Little physical exertion.
Yes, it’s time again for the “Best Jobs” rankings—those glitzy slideshows ranking occupations in terms of job prospects, pay, stress, job satisfaction, and working conditions–and making the top jobs all sound just perfect.
In Careercast’s “Best Jobs of 2012” list, software engineer earned the No. 1 ranking for the second year running—followed by actuary, human resources manager, dental hygienist, and financial planner. With an overall score of 176 and annual salary of $88,142, software engineers deal with low stress and are in relatively high demand.
Software developer has also topped US News & World Report’s Best Jobs list for several consecutive years. But this year it was knocked off its pedestal by the registered nurse job category. The main reason? Hiring for registered nurses is expected to reach fever pitch as the population ages; 711, 900 new registered nursing positions are expected to be created in the US between now and 2020, compared with 143,800 positions for software developers during that same period.
For both registered nurses and software developers in the US News & World Report rankings, job satisfaction was judged to be “medium.” But the unemployment rate for registered nurses is lower—5.5 percent, compared to 7.9 percent for software developers. But software developers make considerably more: $87,790, compared to a median salary of $64,690 for registered nurses.
Several other technology occupations ranked in US News & World Report’s Top 10. Database administrator came in at No. 5, with a 7.9 percent unemployment rate, hiring projection of 33,800, and median salary of $73,490. Web developer was sixth, with a 7.9 percent unemployment rate, hiring projection of 65,700, and median salary of $75,660, followed by computer systems analyst, with a 7.9 percent unemployment rate, hiring projection of 120,400, and median salary of $77,740. In ninth place was computer programmer, with a 7.9 percent unemployment rate, hiring projection of 43,700, and median salary of $71,380.
But occupations in the healthcare industry are nipping at tech jobs’ heels. Medical assistant ranked higher than database administrator, Web developer, computer systems analyst, and computer programmer in the “Best Jobs of 2012” list. And pharmacist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist were also in the Top 10.
Those of you working in the technology field already know that you’ve got it made, relatively speaking. Sure, it can be stressful when you’re finishing a project on deadline or trying to solve problems that at times seem unsolvable. But the pay and working conditions are much better than say, a lumberjack, which ranked among Careercast’s “Worst Jobs of 2012” due to its low pay, lack of job prospects, and dangerous working conditions.
And you can heave a collective sigh of relief that not a single technology job category made an appearance on Career Bliss’s “Unhappiest Jobs of 2012.” No, those were reserved for product manager, program manager, marketing manager, and director of sales (just in case any of you think about making the leap into sales or marketing).
And in case any of you are resenting that the software developer occupation was knocked from its pedestal by registered nurse, know that registered nurse was also the third-most-unhappy job of 2012. Just remember that next time you’re in the hospital.
If you work in software development or engineering, what do you think of your job? And if you’re looking for opportunities in software, visit the IEEE Computer Society jobs board.