The 10 Best Jobs of 2012

The 10 Best Jobs of 2012

By: Victoria Brienza

This is the 2012 version of the best jobs report. Read the Best Jobs of 2013 here.

The world is going digital, and Software Engineers who can help with that transformation are reaping the benefits. Their pay is great, hiring demand for their skills is through the roof, and working conditions have never been better. And that’s why the job of Software Engineer ranks tops in our annual Jobs Rated report on the nation’s best and worst jobs for 2012.

Of course, any job may seem like the best job if you’re unemployed and the improving economy hasn’t ushered you back into the workforce. But there are qualities that make some professions more desirable than the rest of the pack. Again this year our researchers looked high and low to find those occupations that ranked the best in five key areas: Work Environment, Physical Demands, Job Outlook, Income Levels and Stress. And it should be no surprise that Software Engineer ranks No. 1, followed by Actuary, Human Resources Manager, Dental Hygienist and Financial Planner.

“I absolutely agree that Software Engineers have the best job. I love my job and most of the people who are drawn to this field are passionate about it,” says Phil Danne, Lead Software Engineer for Livio Radio in Michigan. Although there are ample job opportunities for qualified Software Engineers, Danne warns recent graduates, “You can't earn your college degree and bank on just those skills for the rest of your career. You have to constantly be seeking out latest knowledge and skills to succeed.”

This year, there are several professions that are making their inaugural appearance on our Jobs Rated Top 10 Best Jobs list.  Human Resources Manager ,  Financial Planner , Occupational Therapist and Online Advertising Manager are all rated as a Top 10 Best Job for the first time due to a combination of high incomes, great environments, good job growth and relatively low unemployment rates.

Employment growth for  Human Resources Managers, for example, is projected to be a very healthy 21% thru 2020, which is on par with most medical professions, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you mix their job outlook scores with their income levels (19th on our Jobs Rated list) and throw in the low physical demands, relatively safe work environment and low-to-moderate stress levels, HR Managers should rightly be listed as a Best Job.

"Every organization has a need for a Human Resources professional. Companies big and small need someone who is skilled in HR," says Pat Kuhl, Vice President of Human Resources for a Maryland health care system. Today, professionals in Human Resources have more of a strategic role than ever before. “We are relied upon to make sure the needs of the employee are in sync with the company’s goals and in support of the organization’s mission," says Kuhl, who adds, “It’s not always an easy job, but it is very rewarding.”

With the increase in digital computing demands and healthcare needs, it makes sense that most of the professions on our Best Jobs list this year are related to the fields of math, science and healthcare.

Software Engineer

1. Software Engineer

Overall Rating:
Median Salary:
Projected Growth:

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

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