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Software Engineers Remain Top US Job 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the back-to-back-champs dept.
D H NG writes "In a study by Careercast.com, software engineers retain their position as having the top jobs in 2012. The #1 and #2 positions remain the same from last year. One surprise entry was human resources manager in the #3 position. The worst job was lumberjack, beating out last year's roustabout."
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Software Engineers Remain Top US Job

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  • The worst job was lumberjack...

    I own some mountain property. Beetles, fire danger, blah, blah, blah. I play lumberjack a couple of weeks a year, and it is hell what it does to your body!

  • Lumberjacks (Score:4, Funny)

    by SchMoops (2019810) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:22PM (#39686297) Homepage
    I don't know about that worst job. I mean, I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK.
  • by DataDiddler (1994180) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:22PM (#39686299)
    ... sys admins, DBAs, and network engineers have it so bad that they cannot even be mentioned by these types of surveys, apparently.
    • by TheLink (130905)
      FWIW, Web Developer is lower on the list at #15 and Computer Programmer is #34 on the next page.

      Whereas the article says a Software Engineer "Researches, designs, develops and maintains software systems along with hardware development for medical, scientific, and industrial purposes".
      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        Wow has technical programming sudely just got a lot better paid time to dust of my FORTRAN and Call Red Bull Racing or Cern
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:25PM (#39686327)

    The article specifically mentions being a software engineer at a startup or startup like environment is a great job to have, because you get to sit in cafes with your macbook air all day.

    As a software engineer at a startup, I understand that sentiment. I do have a lot of flexibility. I can work from anywhere, come in at any time, leave at any time. The work I do is fun, and considering that there the management hierarchy is essentially flat, I get to make important customer facing decisions AND implement them.

    There is a big downside to this. There is a very high risk when you work into startups. You could be rolling in success one month, and the next month you could be forced to shutdown. TFA and most comments on startups looking inside out, don't often write about the stress that comes with this kind of risk. And you know what? We have a lot of fun, but we have plenty of 60 hour weeks too, when shit hits the fan.

    • The article specifically mentions being a software engineer at a startup or startup like environment is a great job to have, because you get to sit in cafes with your macbook air all day.

      As a software engineer at a startup, I understand that sentiment. I do have a lot of flexibility. I can work from anywhere, come in at any time, leave at any time. The work I do is fun, and considering that there the management hierarchy is essentially flat, I get to make important customer facing decisions AND implement them.

      There is a big downside to this. There is a very high risk when you work into startups. You could be rolling in success one month, and the next month you could be forced to shutdown. TFA and most comments on startups looking inside out, don't often write about the stress that comes with this kind of risk. And you know what? We have a lot of fun, but we have plenty of 60 hour weeks too, when shit hits the fan.

      I miss the days when my workweeks were only 60 hours...

    • by TheLink (130905) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:43PM (#39686521) Journal
      Your job title might say "Software Engineer" but are you really one as defined by the survey?

      From the first page of the article it says a Software Engineer "Researches, designs, develops and maintains software systems along with hardware development for medical, scientific, and industrial purposes."

      If you're a Computer Systems Analyst
      it's #9 on the list, Web Developer you're #15, if you're a Computer Programmer it's #34. So which category do you really fall in?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Ha ha! At startups (and I assume most big companies too), there are no such demarcations. If I take the definitions that they specified, the time spent in each role in descending order would be "Software developer" > "Computer programmer" > "Computer analyst" >> "Web developer".

        That could change any time, but some people are better in certain fields than others.

        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          yes but most startups these days are me to consumer sites not "development for medical, scientific, and industrial purposes"
    • I agree. They also don't mention that the pay at startups isn't always great. The potential payout can be great, but the actual pay is often on the lower end of the scale.

      Still, I love working for startups and small companies, so much less BS to deal with.

    • by lightknight (213164) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @02:41PM (#39687057) Homepage

      Did they mention that part of the reason you are in the cafe isn't for the atmosphere, but because the logistics involved in transporting that much caffeine and sugar to the office are untenable? How about the part where you begin cutting the caffeine with nicotine and other stimulants as you try to make a product deadline?

      Let's be honest: it appears a romantic job, being able to do what you want, having no dress code, and still being paid. But reality dictates that if it were easy, there'd be more Software Engineers than there are.

    • >There is a big downside to this. There is a very high risk when you work into startups. You could be rolling in success one month, and the next month you could be forced to shutdown. TFA and most comments on startups looking inside out, don't often write about the stress that comes with this kind of risk.

      After 19 years in industry including five full time startup jobs I don't think there's a quantitative difference in job stability between working at a startup and working at a big company. Only the det

  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:26PM (#39686345) Homepage
    ..and I'm OK.

    Sorry.

    • by OzPeter (195038)

      ..and I'm OK.

      Sorry.

      Well given your predeliction for wearing women's garments, it's no surprise that your career choice isn't faring well in the US. Perhaps you should move to a more enlightened country?

  • lol (Score:4, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:33PM (#39686419)

    It's not all lattes and coding in pajamas, though. If there's a glitch in a program's codes, Mr. Hilkert might be up past midnight searching for solutions.

    Oh, the Humanity! Up past midnight looking for a bug in a program!

    • by davek (18465)

      It's not all lattes and coding in pajamas, though. If there's a glitch in a program's codes, Mr. Hilkert might be up past midnight searching for solutions.

      Oh, the Humanity! Up past midnight looking for a bug in a program!

      I'm an engineer and I'm OK...
      I work all night, and I sleep all day.

    • Indeed. It's more along the lines of "the product was supposed to enter QA a week ago, the client is harassing your product manager, and it's been a week of hell, during which you slept for 6 hours every other day." And sleep doesn't come easy, as you have trouble resting when your mind is throwing up new possibilities, trying to explain that bug and how to fix it.

    • by jon3k (691256)
      We call those First World Problems [youtube.com].
  • by wdhowellsr (530924) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:38PM (#39686463)
    I started programming in High School thirty years ago and yes it was GW-Basic but it was programming. There is such a high demand for developers that companies are starting to hire junior developers with two years experience in .Net and C#. We need to start offering programming as an elective in all US schools, even it it is just html, javascript and css as a starter.

    You start teaching High School freshman using Microsofts Express software, by their Junior year they will be interning at Fortune 500 companies and very likely will start working at graduation. Depending on their abilities and especially if they are a natural programmer, there is no limit on what they can make.

    This should also be true for any other language currently being used in the business world.

    "How do you know if you've never tried it?"
    • The emphasis on training (not learning) what businesses want and being replaceable cogs in the machine was something that drove me away, very quickly, from software engineering.

      • by drkstr1 (2072368)

        The emphasis on training (not learning) what businesses want and being replaceable cogs in the machine was something that drove me away, very quickly, from software engineering.

        You must not be talking about actual "software engineering." Software engineers are most certainly not replaceable cogs. They are hired specifically for their critical thinking and ability to solve new problems. I personally spent a great deal of effort trying to recruit and retain a talented software engineer to manage the "cogs".

    • by Ryanrule (1657199)
      "There is such a high demand for developers that companies are starting to hire junior developers with two years experience in .Net and C#." You mean a demand for devs who will work for 45k a year?
    • If companies didn't hire "junior devs with 2 years experience", where would they expect to get any devs with 10 years experience a decade from now?
  • by PJ6 (1151747) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:41PM (#39686497)
    I've seen so many clucterf***s in software development that I called BS, but here's their definition of Software Engineer -

    Researches, designs, develops and maintains software systems along with hardware development for medical, scientific, and industrial purposes.

    Guess that's different. It's quite narrow. Maybe the rating is actually accurate for that niche. But the rest of the industry? Not a chance.

    • by dkf (304284) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Saturday April 14, 2012 @02:14PM (#39686817) Homepage

      I've seen so many clucterf***s in software development that I called BS, but here's their definition of Software Engineer -

      Researches, designs, develops and maintains software systems along with hardware development for medical, scientific, and industrial purposes.

      Guess that's different. It's quite narrow. Maybe the rating is actually accurate for that niche. But the rest of the industry? Not a chance.

      That's what a real SE does. The rest? Well, they're either called Programmers or Code Monkeys, and they tend to be people who don't care about what it really takes to produce programs for the long term and that solve real people's problems. The SE might have some CM underlings, or might not: depends on the organization where he/she is working and the nature of the project. (Remember, "industrial purposes" can have quite a wide interpretation.)

      • by PJ6 (1151747)

        That's what a real SE does. The rest? Well, they're either called Programmers or Code Monkeys, and they tend to be people who don't care about what it really takes to produce programs for the long term and that solve real people's problems.

        There are a lot of careless programmers, but that statement is not accurate. Programmers are often forbidden to produce a quality product. The reasons are always the same, and are often stated explicitly:

        1. We don't have the time to wait for proper engineering
        2. Even if we did, we're not going to pay for it.

        Even if you leave 9-5 and run your own gig, there's no escape from this.

        And that's reality. The frantic customer, or dumbf*ck middle management, telling you not to do X the right way.Take your pick

  • by wombatmobile (623057) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:41PM (#39686505)
    "Software Engineer" can mean so many different things. It could be heaven. It could be hell.
    • It could be heaven. It could be hell.

      The best way to tell is if your boss's tail is as pointy has his hair.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Indeed. It's usually a programmer who got promoted. Of course they are "better off". You don't go to school and directly become a "software engineer" in most cases. You start out as a grunt programmer and then work your way up or kiss the right asses at the right time.

      I don't know if it's the same for lumberjacks.
             

  • by Anonymous Coward

    data is being created faster than it's being analyzed

  • (Kirk Luoto) .. "There were times when I thought maybe I should do something different," he says. But he quickly realized he wouldn't be happy in some of the higher-ranked jobs, especially the cubicle-based ones. "I don't like desks," he says.

    There is a lot to be said about understanding what you like an don't like to do.

  • ...and I'm not surprised, given that they apparently laid off the ones who were supposed to handle this article. Anybody want to take a crack at correlating the category scores with the green-bar indicators?

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:45PM (#39686537)

    I'd put in a good word for layabout as an enjoyable occupation, though.

  • This is ironic, as the same day I am reading that the school I attended is looking to slash its Computer Science program. See link:
    http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&discussionID=107291847&gid=87185&commentID=76608150&trk=view_disc&ut=3T3QmAZFiDn5c1

    UF is shotting itself in the foot. Please visit this site http://saveufcise.wordpress.com/ to sign a petition to oppose the budget cuts!

  • "work environment" is completely subjective. Some people like busy active interaction, others like to work alone. Some like to talk to the public, others don't. Stress is also difficult to quantify: If an airline pilot screws up, hundreds of people die - but its really unlikely. If a software engineer screws up he gets fired - but he is much more likely to screw up than the pilot. As far as physical demands - some people would prefer a job where they get exercise working outdoors - being a lumberjack is O

    • by Bill Dog (726542)

      I wonder how porn star would rate on their list......how would you rate the "work environment".

      Not sure but I'm guessing they would say it sucks.

    • If you want to keep your job as a porn star, every day will be a hard day.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:56PM (#39686655)
    What is interesting about software engineering right now is that we are at a point where someone, solo or with a couple of buddies, can realistically develop a product and reach an audience. We have not been able to do that very easily in a while.

    In the stone ages of personal computers, the 1980s, a few guys working out of their garage could literally develop software, put a 5.25in floppy in a ziplock baggy with a xeroxed manual, and take it to the local mom-and-pop and brick-and-mortar computer shops that were around back then. Some friends and I *literally* did the above. You could talk to the manager, do a quick demo, he'd often buy a few put it on the shelf and after they sold give you a phone call to order some more. Repeat as necessary, increasing your geographic coverage.

    Then came a couple of decades where the small computer shops were replaced by big chain stores and later online. During those times it was really difficult to reach customers. Even with the internet you were still largely limited to selling to a relatively small technically inclined niche. The general public did not get onboard until very recently.

    Today with the general public largely accepting pure digital distribution via the various app stores the little guy(s) can actually reach a decent audience. For example Perpenso Calc for iPhone iPad [perpenso.com], a calculator app offering RPN, scientific, statistics, business and hex functionality. A product like this shows up in a store search right next to HP and TI offerings. So yes, its a pretty good time to be a software engineer.
    • by hoggoth (414195)

      Say, that is interesting. I find it fascinating that someone can write Propenso Calc (tm) and that the public can find Propenso Calc (tm) in an online store, and can buy Propenso Calc (tm) (special half-off deal today only!) and can solve lots of interesting problems with Propenso Calc (tm). I don't know if there was any other time in history when Propenso Calc (tm) could have done as well as Propenso Calc (tm) has done.

      • by Roachie (2180772)
        Say, does anyone here know where I can procure a site license for Propenso Calc(tm), a calculator app offering RPN, scientific, statistics, business and hex functionality??
        • Didn't I see the main actor, Woody Harrelson [reddit.com], using Propenso Calc(tm) during the engaging feature-film, RAMPART [observer.com] ?? I believe I did...

          • Perpenso Calc(tm)... either a speling fail on my part, or it must have been one of those dirty, rotten, thieving, knock-off apps flooding the app store.

  • With so many so-called "software engineers", that explains why there is just so much bad software out there. Not everyone has the discipline to turn their software development practices into engineering work. In my experience a lot of software engineers are really just, well, ... coders... ?
  • And for the third year in a row the worst job is.....CRACK WHORE.
  • The companies that give the software engineer title to actual software engineers...of course they are happy and content. Their company probably doesn't try to screw them over. I'd like to note that many companies have programmer analysts doing the work of a software engineer just so they don't have to pay them what a software engineer gets paid.
  • Thumbing through, I find this one (my own career choice) to be rated higher for "stress" than any of the preceeding careers. The methodology apparently looks at the following: Travel, Outlook/Growth Potential, Deadlines, Working in the Public Eye, Competitiveness, Physical Demands (stoop, climb, etc.), Environmental Conditions, Hazards Encountered, Own Life at Risk, Life of Another at Risk, Meeting the Public.

    Can't see why it would rank so high in stress when those are the factors. If I want to "get away"

    • by Wovel (964431)

      You should blame the flight attendants and their union. They drove AA into bankruptcy and routinely out negotiate the Pilots. Bizarre really. Despite all oftheir claims about being there for passenger safety, they have very little to do with it.

      • Upper management is to blame. Why should flight attendants settle for peanuts when executives are raking in millions? No reason I can see. Crandall, former head of American Airlines, once persuaded everyone to take a pay cut for the sake of the airline. Then he turned around and accepted a huge bonus for negotiating the cuts. Needless to say, the employees were infuriated. After Crandall left, management did it again in 2003. Huge pay cuts for the rank and file, big bonuses for themselves.

        Until exe

      • by jbwolfe (241413)
        Not sure if you're trolling or not. Ok,I'll bite...

        If you going to blame the flight attendants, why not the pilots too? Let's add the mechanics and the rampers while we're at it. Shit, let's be honest and assign all the blame for all the economy's problems to all of labor. They are the real problem here, and everywhere. Who needs the middle class, Why did we bother bailing out Detroit? Lazy autoworkers don't deserve to mop up after they shutter the industry. Let them find jobs at Walmart like everybody els

      • by Smallpond (221300)

        You should blame the flight attendants and their union. They drove AA into bankruptcy and routinely out negotiate the Pilots. Bizarre really. Despite all oftheir claims about being there for passenger safety, they have very little to do with it.

        Flight attendants are making 20 - 80K depending on seniority, and the only battle going on is management trying to fire the older ones and somehow convince young people to come in and put up with low pay and horrible working conditions. Flight attendant pay accounts for less than 10% of the cost of your flight, fuel over 50%. I don't think unions had much to do with AA's problems.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @03:32PM (#39687473) Journal

    I'm working on a programmable chainsaw.

  • How come "Software Engineer" and "Actuary", both desk jobs according to their descriptions have different scores for "Physical Demand". Especially when the later is measured according to the weight one is expected to lift while performing his duties (ok, they say they also take "pulling, pushing, standing, walking, stooping, kneeling, crawling, climbing, crouching or reaching" into account, but still... click the "Jobs Rated Methodology" link). And what do the green bars mean? They don't seem to be scaled a

  • by Wovel (964431) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @04:33PM (#39687967) Homepage

    What a silly list with no basis in reality. I suppose if you have no ambition or drive that is a good place to start. Otherwise, do something you love. Besides, the #1 job in the world is CEO. Requires no skill, little formal training, and the pay is pretty good.

  • If you read the methodology page http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/2012-jobs-rated-methodology [careercast.com] then a lot of the problems are obvious. One that stands out to me is that the stresses are almost all elements of other factors, especially work environment. The stress criteria are not what comes to my mind when I think about work stresses. I can see where they are legitimate but not if they are already reflected by other categories.
  • Yeah, I know, there are some high paid IT jobs.

    But I would not expect those jobs to last. Employers are offshoring as fast as they possible can, and the few jobs that cannot be offshored, are being filed by foreign visa workers. There is just no way for Americans to compete with third world wages.

    China, and India, are cranking out about 600,000 tech degrees a year. And the US is not even able to place it's own tech graduates.

    Remember how manufacturing was offshored? Well offshoring IT is far easier. With IT

  • The mint has a humorous post [livemint.com] on one of the worst jobs in that list.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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