Another January, another “Best Jobs” in America list from US News and World Report. For technologists (or those considering becoming a technologist), this annual recap offers some good news: software developer came in second among the best jobs (as well as second among the best STEM jobs and number one among tech jobs).
“Software developers are employed in a range of industries, including computer systems design, manufacturing and finance,” the report adds. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts job growth of 21.5% for software developers between 2019 and 2029. Over this period, approximately 316,000 jobs are expected to be created.”
US News and World Report uses a number of data points to determine its ranking, including median salary, unemployment rate, future job prospects, and stress level. The magazine rated software developers’ stress level as average and “flexibility” (i.e. the ability to determine your own schedule, as well as work-life balance) as above average. .
The next tech-focused job on the overall list, data scientist, came in at number eight. The rankings are notably dominated by medical roles, including physician assistant (in first place), nurse practitioner (in third), and physician (in fifth).
Here’s how the magazine ranked tech jobs:
It’s no secret that software developers and engineers with the right mix of skills and experience can expect high compensation, especially when you factor in bonuses, stock options shares and other benefits. Here’s a breakdown of representative salaries for software engineers at some of the biggest tech companies, courtesy of levels.fyi (which collects the compensation data):
You can also boost your salary even higher with the addition of highly specialized skills. For example, data scientists who develop specialization in machine learning and AI skills may find more opportunities among companies that need technologists who can train algorithms on huge datasets. It’s a similar story with cybersecurity experts: those with the skills to counter cutting-edge threats have an edge even in a crowded job market.
When it comes to calculating lists like this, it’s easy to see how projected strong job growth and high salaries put tech jobs near the top. When it comes to work-life balance and stress levels, well, that varies across occupations and industries. For every web developer who enjoys fixed hours and an average workload, there are a dozen game developers who suffer from the brutality of “critical time”. But in startups offering equity or in more established companies that pay substantial bonuses to reach particular production milestones, an insane amount of work could be worth it.