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The 10 Best Jobs of 2011

software engineer - the best job of 2011 By Andrew Strieber

This is our 2011 Worst Jobs report.
See the 10 Best and Worst Jobs of 2012

The geeks strike back: despite enduring an industry bubble and the threat of outsourcing, Software Engineer ranks as the Best Job of 2011.

In recent years, the job market has increasingly rewarded math whizzes at the expense of less technical professionals. Actuary, Mathematician and Accountant have all ranked among the best jobs in America by offering a pleasant work environment, good salary and healthy job security. But in 2011, as the emergence of specialized technologies creates new industries, landing the year's best job requires not just skill with numbers, but a strong knowledge of computers too.

Software Engineer, a job that involves the design and creation of software for everything from operating systems to cell phone "apps" to interactive games, ranks as the best job of 2011, according to this year's Jobs Rated report. Surveying 200 different professions across a wide variety of industries, skill levels and salary ranges, Jobs Rated researchers determine their rankings of the best jobs and worst jobs according to five core criteria: Work Environment, Physical Demands, Outlook, Income and Stress. The goal of each Jobs Rated report is to determine how gratifying each profession will be for a majority of workers – not just those who are famous or exceptional – so they can be sorted into a list of the "worst" and "best" jobs.

What helped Software Engineer capture the title of America's Best Job? While many factors push a career to the top of the rankings, the strong performance of Software Engineer this year can be attributed to two emerging industries: web applications and cloud computing. A proliferation of companies making applications for smartphones and tablets, along with the push to develop "cloud" software hosted entirely online, has made the job market for Software Engineers broader and more diverse. And a diverse job market brings improvements in stress factors such as Growth Potential and Competitiveness, as workers become less beholden to employers or vulnerable to outsourcing. In fact, the stress ranking for Software Engineer improved 10 spots this year, jumping from 25th to 15th place overall.

By contrast, 2010’s Best Job, Actuary, saw both its overall outlook and stress rankings fall sharply for 2011, due in part to continued uncertainty regarding insurance industry regulation.

Each year the Jobs Rated report seeks to find professions that provide the best overall experience for workers, not just jobs that excel in one particular area. For 2011, Software Engineer managed to rank better than 15th for every measurement criteria save one – Income, where it still finished 23rd. This means that on average, the profession offers a comfortable work environment, few intense physical demands, better than average income, strong hiring and comparatively low stress, helping it easily rank among the best jobs of the year. And while there may be exceptions to these findings (both good and bad), when compared to a low-ranking job such as Garbage Collector, which requires intense physical labor in an unpleasant work environment for little pay, Software Engineer fares particularly well.

Continuing a recent trend, a majority of the jobs that rank in the top 10 this year require proficiency in math, science or technology, and all of them require higher education or specialized training:

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

  • Overall Score: 60.00
  • Income: $87,140.00

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Applies mathematical theories and formulas to teach or solve problems in a business, educational, or industrial climate.

  • Overall Score: 73.00
  • Income: $94,178.00

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Interprets statistics to determine probabilities of accidents, sickness, and death, and loss of property from theft and natural disasters.

  • Overall Score: 123.00
  • Income: $87,204.00

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Tabulates, analyzes, and interprets the numeric results of experiments and surveys.

  • Overall Score: 129.00
  • Income: $73,208.00

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Plans and develops computer systems for businesses and scientific institutions.

  • Overall Score: 147.00
  • Income: $77,153.00

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Studies the physical characteristics, motions and processes of the earth's atmosphere.

  • Overall Score: 175.00
  • Income: $85,210.00

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Studies the relationship of plants and animals to their environment.

  • Overall Score: 182.00
  • Income: $74,278.00

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Analyzes and records historical information from a specific era or according to a particular area of expertise.

  • Overall Score: 192.00
  • Income: $63,208.00

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Diagnoses and treats hearing problems by attempting to discover the range, nature, and degree of hearing function.

  • Overall Score: 195.00
  • Income: $63,144.00

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Assists dentists in diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of a group or private dental practice.

  • Overall Score: 197.00
  • Income: $67,107.00

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While top-ranked jobs like Biologist and Computer Systems Analyst are related to growth industries such as biotechnology and cloud computing, many of the jobs that finish near the bottom are in industries that have suffered during the recent recession. These low-ranking professions frequently offer a combination of backbreaking labor, dangerous (or deadly) work environments, low pay and poor employment prospects.

Any of the 10 best jobs listed here would provide a pleasant work environment, good pay and strong hiring prospects. But which professions should you avoid if you're looking for a low-stress, highly-rewarding career?

Continue to the next page to see the 10 Worst Jobs of 2011.

Test, just a test

Hello. And Bye.
Yes, really. I join told all above. Let's discuss this question. Here or in PM.


i think you dont need to look any further or perhaps if you already have a career you might need to change it ASAP.... if in class Yes, roper English is a must 100%, Otherwise its called "FREEDOM OF SPEECH" -look into it people lol

Mathematics and money! a big paradox

Mathematics and money! a big paradox

Best Job

Actually the best job with the least stress is performed by the very person who wrote this article in the first place. They sit in an air conditioned room. They dont have to do any real research - most of the facts are pieced together from either the internet or their imagination. And they arent accountable to anyone else for publishing ill-conceived information and presenting it as fact to a gullible public.

Lots of unhappy workers out there!

I'm a softie with over 10 yrs of exp. and getting ~110k. It's incredibly interesting profession and fun BUT only if you work for yourself or as a hobby. Large firms are modern sweatshops,difficult work that not many can do.

Go find something more stable, 50% of softies drop out for every 15 years of their careers.

Go be a dentist a doctor or an optometrist - they are a real mafia out there

dental hygienist

I have been a dental hygienist for almost 30 yrs. I have worked for the same two dentists for 29 years. I worked full-time for a few years, part-time after my two daughters were born and now 2 days per week. I would like to work at least one more day a week but the job outlook is not so good. I do fill in for the other hygienists in our office to make extra money. It is a great job for a wife and mother, but not for a single woman who needs to support herself. I love my job and especially working with the patients. It can be very rewarding and interesting. you do need to know how to work with very different types of people and to be kind and compassionate.

dental hygienist!

Dont even think about it to become one, it is a hard and stressful job. And, only you make dentist richer since you cant even open your own practice. if you are not a good looking and young, forget about to get a job after practicing years. Better off to become a hair dresser!

Dental Hygienist

I agree especially in the State of Pennsylvania. It only took 44 states before us to allow hygienist to give anesthesia. Out west in some states hygienists can own their own practices. I would never advise someone to practice hygiene..I worked for a doctor for 13 years and came to work one day and he told his 2 full-time hygienists I don't want to pay health care any longer so as of this day your now part-time. Jobs are so hard to find so I go to 5 different offices...And now the ADA and Surgeon General are pushing for an Advanced Hygiene Practioner license I'll be dead before Pennsylvania ever even blinks in that direction....Go into nursing.....More options, better job security, benefits and 3 12 hour days.......P.S. Great Dentists who treat a hygienist as a true professional and team member are very few and far between

exchanged charts

Funny how the two charts in Italy are exchanged. Historians and biologists are usually out of work and if not, the income is very low (20/25000 EUR / year). Construction worker, welders and painters but have a secure job and well paid. Italy is a country on the other hand!

Curioso come le due classifiche in italia siano scambiate. Storici e biologi sono di solito senza occupazione e se non lo sono, il reddito è bassissimo (20/25000 euro/anno). Muratori, saldatori e imbianchini invece hanno un lavoro sicuro e ben remunerato. L'Italia è un paese al contrario!

Because Software Engineering is the most difficult one

Most of the Software Engineering graduates even don't know how to write one line of code. Because such a though job it is, requiring so much concentration and stay looking at monitor for the whole day, everyday, scrutinizing the lines of code and debugging them, no need to say, meeting the deadlines. This is why it still demands, and there is many vacancies available.

Dental Hygiene job outlook is horrible!

I am a dental hygienist and have been out of work for 9 months. Every interview I go on I am up against 50 to 60 girls and that is for one or two days a week! There are private schools out there pumping out 60 girls a year! Not including all the other colleges graduating students equaling up to 150 new hygienist a year!!! That is more then there are jobs available in my area which is only about 30-40 jobs. I am looking at going back to school because I have loans and no way to pay it back. You can get hired as an assistant and get paid 3 times less however, but who wants to do that when they have a license. Your stress and hard work and time and money is better off used somewhere else. Google it!

Dental Hygienist job, yes it is a horrible horrible job!

Better off to become a hair dresser then hygiene. At least you can open your own business. All you do is to make dentist richer and richer. and not enough you have to work harder and harder till you break down physically and mentally..

Audiologist vs software engineer

i am an audiologist. but looking at the current audiologist's prospects, being a software engineer is a better option.

why do you feel that way?

why do you feel that way?


First of all, this is a great website that has been very helpful in my research.

However, the hiring outlook and income of Physicists are much, much higher than what I was led to believe previously, and this has caused some confusion.

Since the job is not in fact in the top ten, I wasn't expecting the website to post a detailed report, but I thought a visit to the forums might be helpful.

Thank you

87,000 For Software Engineer?

87,000 for a software engineer seems like a lot. Maybe a senior highly experienced software engineer with decades of experience who made it to the top in a highly valued industry sector of software engineering. UD posted a link to this article. I think they are trying to justify the high cost of BS degrees. I highly suggest you never go anywhere out of state for a college degree, due to cost, if you go.

87k is not a lot

When I first saw that number, I assumed they were talking about a starting salary somewhere not in NY or SF. I'm a software engineer who is making 110k and I still think that's low. I have friends making 150k.

yes, 87k is peanuts

I live in sf though, rent is as expensive as manhattan in my building. at 130k, I can barely pay rent! 15 years experience, very talented engineer.

to complainers it could be worts

It kinda of crazy that people complain about not payn rent I make less then 25,000.00 a year I pay reant and have childern .I been to school also but ifi had half of 87k I would be thankful. People kill me talkn bout what they can't afford .any of these jobs are great and I only wish I had happy for what u have.cause many who do work hard still don't have good jobs let alone a great one.and I think 87k is great.

you're obviously living

you're obviously living beyond your means..downgrade and you would have no problem paying rent!


Funny people some are. So, when your salary is not enough...for your "normal" level of living, you just downgrade?...So I believe everyone in Somalia have no problems? They seem to be very "downgraded".-MF

You're an idiot

The kids in somalia don't have an income. You make 130k+ and your whining about not having any money.


Most tech companies pay that as a starting salary these days.

Top companies (Msft, Google, Facebook etc.) pay more

$150-200K (includes salary, bonus plus options) is fairly common at the top orgs for a Sr level Developer, SW Architect of SR. technical Program manager. Unfair as it seems, that is the way it has always been - however, you also make trade off's in the atmosphere and level of politics you deal with, etc. in the larger organizations.

Best Top 10 Jobs

Thanks for posting this interesting topic. I'll try to get a course to be a software engineer. I think it suits me because i do love this kind of work. Thank you for sharing this.

Angry People

I don't understand why people think they have be rude to teach others that they have an opinion or that they're wrong. don't like your job change it, don't like your life do something about it. If you were in a 3rd world country I understand, maybe : ) instead of thinking so hard about money, and making papers, why don't you think about this: none of the things you work so hard to buy can go 6 feet under the dirt with you!
so live life, be nice, make a difference, and maybe think about the war we are in that we pay so much for as an economy. No one even thinks about that any more cause its not so close to home, but what goes around comes around, Carma or gravity? people stop the madness and greed and start thinking


FRIENDLY advice. Check your spelling next time. "Karma" is spelled with a "K". Otherwise, very good comment and thought.

she made her point!

Spelling you should be ELA teacher lol

Reply to comment |

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Thanks Friendly Correctional Officer

He doesn't have to, really....Does it really matter that he spelled Karma wrong? Yu get the point right? It's a response not a resume.

Spelling Does Matter

If, for nothing else, as a common courtesy to the reader. Mistakes are fine, if unintentional and, where possible, they are corrected. Intentional abuse of the English language is not OK. It makes morons of us all, resume response or not. Please note the word "you" contains an "o". "Yu" sounds more like a Chinese surname.


drink a beer relax...ku down bro

well.. yu got the pointe too

well.. yu got the pointe too times. so it might not matter as much as yu think.

incorrect, lazy. or 'trendy' spelling.

It pretty much dumps the writer/speaker into the minimum wage ranks by hiring personnel, and also goes with clothes that shriek the same at interviews if fortunate enough to obtain one.

Biologists are broke

What biologist is making $75,000 per year??? I have BS and MS degrees in biology, and I am living paycheck to paycheck! I don't know anyone from school that makes anywhere near that much money!!

same for meteorologists

half the amount is probably closer to reality. And also the stress free environment is in most cases not true. Most meteorologists work day and nightshifts, with of course varying work load depending on the situation, but in periods phonecalls from media and the public all shift long at the same time as work tasks must be finnished.
But this might however just be tha case for Scandinavia, while U.S meteorologist earn loads with no stress..?


We all have the same amount of time whether we have more money or not. The fact when you are young is you don't understand that time is more important than money or resources. "Career" comes from the word race. You are in a race and you want to win. However, if you do not enjoy the race the prize means very little. Serving others with your gift or calling is the best perspective to approach when considering a profession. Any job you choose is important to others if you do it with heart and soul (passion). Some are compensated more than others because of the time they have put into preperation for that career.


war is the reason why er work so hard and still cant afford and the reason why through out history economies have been doing so poorly.

serving others is called communism

Serving others is called communism. Finding work that you loveot do and doing it selfishly not only assures maximum satisafction it guarantees you will do a better job. Helping other people should be a side benefit of your work not the end all.

Serving others...

There is TWO ways you can "Serve" others. Being Paid, or NOT being paid. Serving others is NOT Communism. Communism is where everyone works for a 'common' end. And either all are paid or no one is paid, but all benefit. Serving others without being paid, "Volunteers" only exist in the Capitalist System and is designed to "serve" the Capitalists. Usually someone making a pot-a-money, leads a group of idiots working for free.

Why we work

Isn't it silly that the only thing we really need to work for in America is to buy or rent land to live on? A lot of people only need their car to get to work. And food, if you aren't working too much and have time to prepare it yourself, is pretty cheap. So why are we killing ourselves working 60 hours a week? To pay for a piece of land to live on in "our" country. What a scam this place is. Wake up!

Why we work

The people supposedly "killing themselves" by working 60 hours a week are typically the people who love their jobs and embrace the satisfaction of productive work. Since it seems the only reason you work is to keep from starving, you are obviously not one of them.

You are a joke

People who work 60for hours a week typically love their job?!?! Haha. I am a lawyer and I love my job, but working 50 hours a week alone robs me of time with my family and community. Get real man its one thing to love your job, but to say people who work 60 hours a week love it is a joke. People do it because they must. And this BS about helping others is communism, what a moron. Working to help others is called human nature, we've been living that way before capitalism and communism existed. Get your head out of your ass

amen brother

Couldn't have said it better, im a software dev, make 6 figures but hours a week ? You work till shit is done. And my whole family was communists and fuck you, commies were by majority decent people who all just wanted to put food on tables of the poor and link up electricity around the world. Now im a god damn capitalist slave. Yeah I make good money live good and have a good family. But I still donate all I make to a cause, just like my communist forefathers. Its just human nature to do the best you can and help those who are hurting.

Re: Why we work

Well Anonymous, what do you propose as an alternative to working in "our country", as you so oddly phrased it. Yes, it is "our" country as opposed to any of the others existing in earth's economy. Any of which, providing you meet their criteria for entry, you are free depart to so perhaps you should start saving your money, buy a one-way ticket, and seek your fame and fortune in a place more suitable to you liking. One of the many wonderful freedoms we enjoy here in "our" country, is the freedom to quit it at anytime providing you are not a criminal or awaiting criminal proceedings.

Now, having said that, perhaps you might explain you concept of work and for what purpose your valuable talents can be used for and just how much you think you are worth to society. If, as I suspect, you believe that you should make enough money to spend it freely in pursuit of things that bring you pleasure, and have all your basic needs met by the government, that what you are hoping for is some from of socialism. Well then, good luck with all that because you just might not be worth what you think you are; some government bureaucrat might instead deem you as a slacker, had you a shovel, and put you to work shoveling sewers. Now wouldn't that be a surprise?

Be happy that you live in a country where you can pretty much be whatever you little red-tinged heart desires, that is providing if you are willing to work hard enough, long enough and sacrifice all those pleasures you seek until that time that you have actually earned the right to enjoy them as the fruits of your own labor. You see, in your utopian dream-like world, in order for you to get those fruits before you deserve them, they would have to be paid for by the labor of others.

Good luck with your job hunt and if it is Russia where you seek your future, bring warm clothes. I believe Siberian gulags are still in fashion there and if you don't make the grade and complain too awful much, that might be your permanent assignment.

In a way ... I do agree.

Thanks for posting this!!!

This is disgusting

It's so sad and embarrassing for me to be a part of this species.
I just can't fathom that all your hard work in going to school and better yourself mentally is worth crap compared to the millions these neanderthal athletes, actors/actress and musicians make. Some of these people who probably have high tuition cost probably wont be able to make a dent on it. Then you have others who juggle work and go to school. What went wrong?

This is disgusting

I totally agree! Our society "worships" sports and entertainment figures, but leaves it's children unprotected. Can our fall be far behind?

What went wrong?

What went wrong was humans allowing "neanderthal athletes, actors/actress and musicians" to make such money. People love spending their money on all that crap. Rich people who got their money in easy ways (parents, stocks, inheritance) LOVE spending money on that crap. People who work hard also like spending their money on that crap.

So pretty much America creates the most vicious cycle out of all the other countries...

how much do you earn per

how much do you earn per year?

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