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Software Engineers Ranked Best Job in America 471

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the here-comes-the-paycut dept.
fistfullast33l writes "CNNMoney and Salary.com have ranked the title of Software Engineer the best job in America. Computer IT Analyst also ranks 7th on the list, placing both technology positions in the top 10. From the article: "Designing, developing and testing computer programs requires some pretty advanced math skills and creative problem-solving ability. If you've got them, though, you can work and live where you want: Telecommuting is quickly becoming widespread.""
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Software Engineers Ranked Best Job in America

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  • Telecommuting is quickly becoming widespread.
    I disagree.

    Especially with larger companies, I see it more and more that telecommuting is a frowned upon idea. In fact, most of the articles on telecommuting today are instructions on how to argue with your boss [quintcareers.com] because your boss is going to be the last person that wants you telecommuting.

    And that's just for jobs in general. With software engineering jobs, the need to work together on a team is obviously a mandatory requirement. Very few solid and marketable software applications are written by one person. Telecommuting just raises another possible barrier and could compound dynamics and differences among team members. There are also security issues regarding the connection between work and home as well as the problem of productivity being a hard thing to measure when developing software.

    Then of course there are home distractions that all managers would worry about.

    This is old news to the Slashdot crowd [slashdot.org].

    In the Fortune 500 company I work for, I don't know anyone who telecommutes. We are encouraged to work with different teams accross the country but they are at company facilities in sub-teams that get together everyday.

    If by "widespread" they mean one person does it in New York and one person does it in California then I would agree. If they mean "widespread" by increased frequency and occurance then I would not only disagree with them but adamently argue that it's not accepted as a viable method for getting the job done in the software engineering world.

    Software Engineers Ranked Best Job in America
    Now that, I can see. I've only been working in the field for a couple years but I can already see that the room for growth in software development is unparalelled. What I mean is that people who start out as grunt developers often have a chance to become a team manager--it depends on how well they can estimate mentally and breakdown a project into tasks (something programmers are required to do in code anyways). More and more I see the manager world developing into two different kinds of managers--engineering managers and business managers. In fact, I have two managers (Office Space is more accurate than you think) with those two titles. One I can talk tech with and the other doesn't know jack about what I'm doing.
    • IAWTP.

      I, too, work for a rather large Fortune 500 company, and we have one member that telecommutes. Sure, the rest of us would like to, but it's frowned upon. Even though our one telecommuter is arguably the brightest, most talented, and hardest-working engineer, I still catch little glimmers of phrases along the lines of "anyone know what he's up to?" That type of garbage.

      And, no, it's not me (sadly).

      Give it another ten years or so, when companies finally get their heads out of their collective asses

    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:47AM (#15113527)
      Telecommuting is quickly becoming widespread.

      I disagree.


      I beg to differ. I've been doing my job from India for quite a while now. : p
      • by Atzanteol (99067) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:17AM (#15113798) Homepage

        I've been doing my job from India for quite a while now

        Hah! I've got one better. Somebody else has been doing my job from India! Oh. Wait...

      • by hackrobat (467625) <manish@jethani.gmail@com> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:38AM (#15113990) Homepage

        On a more serious note: I'm a software developer based in Bangalore, India. We do telecommute quite often. The reasoning: if we can work remotely with our colleagues halfway across the globe in a different timezone, why can't we work remotely with our colleagues a few kms. away from home? Most American companies in Bangalore (like Oracle, Adobe, etc.) have flexible timings, and usually no one notices when you're around and not. As long as you're checking in code, answering email, closing bugs and putting out specs in time, you're doing fine.

        I often travel to the US and work from there (mostly San Francisco), and I can say that India is going to be defining work trends in the coming years. Americans are very "old school".

        • by rossifer (581396) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @11:52AM (#15114582) Journal
          I often travel to the US and work from there (mostly San Francisco), and I can say that India is going to be defining work trends in the coming years. Americans are very "old school".

          Be careful that you don't get the selection of US companies you work with confused with all US companies. I have contracted for companies that have extensive offshore dev/qa/analysis efforts and for companies that don't think it makes much strategic sense. The work environment at companies which consider more than just dollars are (predictably) much more interesting, motivating, trusting, etc...

          I agree that India is way ahead of the Fortune 500 on how to do software work. So are lots of companies right here in the US. (in my experience, they're usually the ones with very few MBA's on staff)

          Regards,
          Ross
    • > because your boss is going to be the last person that wants you telecommuting.

      Of course. Forgive my cynicism, but what's the fun in strutting and ordering people around, when they're at home where they can ignore both and concentrate on their work?
    • as well as the problem of productivity being a hard thing to measure when developing software.

      Then of course there are home distractions that all managers would worry about.


      If managers are worried about where you are and whether or not you're being distracted, that is a problem in itself. An engineer should be producing measurable results. If you cannot show what you accomplished, and can only show how many hours you worked, you should start looking for a new career :)

      In the Fortune 500 company I work fo
    • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:57AM (#15113612)
      Telecommuting is overrated in a number of cases. I enjoy the ease of contact with my coworkers. Part of the draw of my current profession is that I work with funny, intelligent people.

      Working at home would likely be filled with endless distractions, mostly in the form of a two and seven-year-old who want to play Princess or Legos, respectively. Rarely does my coworker dress up in pink and demand they be called Princess Dave.
    • I'd say telecommuting is more of a "not everyday" type of thing. At least here, I can telecommute, I just can't do it every day. Perhaps 2 days a week, during a non critical time, I could pull it off. That seems to be acceptable, to me at least, because for most projects you shouldn't need 100% every day, face to face communication between the leads and the grunts. If you do find yourself needing that, then either the grunts aren't understanding the project specs well enough, or they aren't being laid out w
    • You're right. There is this theory that working from home makes one less accountable. I'd love it if reality were as this article suggests; but it's far far far from reality. Out of the 100s of colleagues in the field, only 2 are based out of their homes. 1% of the work force I'd bet.
    • Especially with larger companies, I see it more and more that telecommuting is a frowned upon idea. In fact, most of the articles on telecommuting today are instructions on how to argue with your boss because your boss is going to be the last person that wants you telecommuting.

      And that's just for jobs in general. With software engineering jobs, the need to work together on a team is obviously a mandatory requirement. Very few solid and marketable software applications are written by one person. Telecomm
    • If by "widespread" they mean one person does it in New York and one person does it in California then I would agree. If they mean "widespread" by increased frequency and occurance then I would not only disagree with them but adamently argue that it's not accepted as a viable method for getting the job done in the software engineering world.

      I have to disagree with you as well. I also work for a Fortune 500 company, and we are currently going through the process of moving most of the software engineers to a

    • Well, at my Fortune 500 employer, 2/8 folks on my team telecommute full-time from out of state and one guy works at home in the morning then comes in for the afternoon. However, telecommuters have to start out full time on-site; no one can telecommute until they've worked for the company for at least 6 months. Also, telecommuting limits some opportunities for growth - you might be a technical lead as a telecommuter, but you won't be a project lead. Managers are all on-site.

      Now, we're located in a smaller
    • I believe you're more likely to find telecommuting possibilities if you live in the suburbs and work for smaller or newer companies. The company I currently have a contract with has been set up for telecommuting for several years, now, and I take advantage of it on a regular basis. Some companies have managers that are less paranoid than others, and smaller companies are more likely to experiment with telecommuting since they likely don't have a large infrastructure, and the tech staff can maintain a VPN
    • I have an agreement that says I can telecommute one day per week. Some weeks it is difficult to schedule that day if I have a lot of meetings.

      One day might not seem like much, but it gets me away from the commute one day and lets me do a few things around the house instead of being stuck an hour away all day

      example: I had a problem with my heating system, so I scheduled the maintenance for a work from home day so I could be there when they were working on the furnace. The work from home day worked out

    • The place I last worked, a lot of people telecommuted, but it was a telecom, so I guess it would have looked bad saying 'the telephone's no good for communication! you have to be here!'
    • My manager (who is quite technical and did all of the coding for our application until I arrived a little over a year ago) works between three and four days per week from home now, and if I wanted to I could work a couple of days a week from home myself.

      At this point I'm choosing not to, but it's nice to have the option.

      It's also nice to have a technical manager who has a clue. :-) I've been lucky in that regard for most of my career, though.
  • This [slashdot.org] story said that IT managers have the U.K's third-worst job -- ranking just below phone sex operator (No. 1) and ferry cabin cleaner (No. 2).
  • Are you sure? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mayesa (944673)
    Wouldn't it be a better job to own a company like Google or Microsoft? http://www.servicerules.com.ar/ [servicerules.com.ar]
    • This was supposed to be ironical, right? Pointing out that Gates and Brin/Page were software engineers/CS types?

      Just checking... I'm kind of slow on the uptake.
  • by suso (153703) * on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:40AM (#15113467) Homepage Journal
    Tell that to unemployed software enginner Steve (who comes from a rough area) and is making more money selling Vibe than he ever did at Intertoad.
  • Software Engineer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LithiumX (717017) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:41AM (#15113480)
    So what exactly constitutes a "software engineer"?

    At my job, I have to write software (varying from simple quickie scripts to complex neural-net based adaptive administration controls) to handle the administration and maintenance of a few tens of thousands of servers. I have to be able to work with 5 different languages and be familiar with developing for four different architectures.

    I'm rarely ever given the chance to plan anything in advance (that's just how this place works) and "testing" is often done hot - launch once operational, and quickly work out the bugs while it's in use. I usually work either entirely alone, or with our admins to give them tools to their specifications and needs. No team, little oversight, and full responsibility for failures.

    Does that make me a Software Engineer? Or just a two-bit coder?
    • Your probably a software engineer with the wrong title.
      • by SnapShot (171582)
        It seems like the proper use of the title of "software engineer" has been argued in the letters section of Dr. Dobbs for only about 20 years, but here's how I got the title.

        Boss: What do you want on your business card?
        Me (with 2 years of experience): Senior Software Engineer.
        Boss: Ok.

        Looking back with a few more years of experience under my belt it seems a bit humorous; especially if I ever go back to look at the code I was writing at that time.
        • Just goes to show how little a title really means. You do the same work, you get the same pay... why would your boss care if you wanna call yourself Senior Software Engineer or Chief Kahuna of The Southeast Cubicle? Talk about a cheap motivator...
    • by 91degrees (207121)
      2 bit coder. Writing code isn't strictly neccesary forbeing a software engineer any more than welding bridges together is an essential part of structural engineering. It's just that software engineers tend to do their own construction.
      • In that case... where can one find a (meaningful) list of descriptions of the various titles that people throw around like candy? I've gotten so used to people claiming to be this or that (and not even knowing what the title means), that I wonder how much they really do mean.

        On the other hand, it's hard for me to describe exactly what I do when I have no real way of knowing what I can honestly claim to be. System Administrator was the last task I've had where I knew exactly what I was, and even then I
    • You don't choose anarchy. Anarchy chooses you.

      I guess your sig describes your work enviroment well.
    • by Dr. Cody (554864) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:54AM (#15113584)
      At my job, I have to write software (varying from simple quickie scripts to complex neural-net based adaptive administration controls) to handle the administration and maintenance of a few tens of thousands of servers. I have to be able to work with 5 different languages and be familiar with developing for four different architectures.

      I'm rarely ever given the chance to plan anything in advance (that's just how this place works) and "testing" is often done hot - launch once operational, and quickly work out the bugs while it's in use. I usually work either entirely alone, or with our admins to give them tools to their specifications and needs. No team, little oversight, and full responsibility for failures.

      Does that make me a Software Engineer? Or just a two-bit coder?


      No, that just makes you some idiot waving his e-penis on SLASHDOT DOT ORG
    • > Does that make me a Software Engineer? Or just a two-bit coder?

      Consider an analogy between a civil engineer and a construction worker, and let that answer your question.

      Kinda makes you think how immature our profession is, too.
      • I'm not sure that analogy works well. You do have programmers who are "construction workers". Someone else lays out the plan and blueprints, and they just fill it in with material (code). There's skill involved, but those skills are primarily devoted to the details, not the big picture.

        I'm assuming most programmers are in my position... they know what the problems are, but have to come up with the solution, the method, the architecture, and the implementation themselves.
    • 2 bit coding? I thought coding for 8 bit CPUs was pretty old school, but that takes the cake.

      Dan East
    • by KnightStalker (1929) <map_sort_map@yahoo.com> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:03AM (#15113668) Homepage
      You remember the A-Team episodes where they weld steel plates on the outside of a car or whatever, drop a bus engine in it, stick some guns on and go ass-kickin?

      If you call that mechanical engineering, you can probably call your job software engineering. I'd do either one of 'em though...
    • Seems like you can't really call yourself a computer engineer if you don't know what one is... I'm sure I'll get hammered for going this route, but do you have a degree in computer engineering? You wouldn't call yourself an electrical or civil engineer without a degree, so why is it any different for computer.

      How does Software Technician sound? Putting two-bit coder on your resume probably won't get you far! :-)

      • It describes what I do much more precisely than Programmer or Software Engineer. I don't pretend that what I do is "engineering", and it isn't -- it's far less precise than that -- but I do a LOT more than write code, since I also do design work, write test plans and do testing, do support work, write documentation, etc.
    • Re:Software Engineer (Score:3, Informative)

      by Randolpho (628485)
      So what exactly constitutes a "software engineer"?

      The question for the ages. Nobody really knows, to be honest. More accurately, we can't decide. Wikipedia touches on the subject, if you want to read more:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_engineering# Debate_over_who_is_a_software_engineer [wikipedia.org]
    • Re:Software Engineer (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pclminion (145572)
      Does that make me a Software Engineer? Or just a two-bit coder?

      This is not a personal attack by any means, but I'd say that because you release code in an untested state, what you are doing is not "engineering." Imagine if a civil engineer built a bridge and tested it by having the public drive over it. The bridge might be okay, but it's not how things are done in engineering.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      You had me at "complex neural-net based adaptive administration controls" - LOL... You must be very special indeed to be controlling tens of thousands of servers without a team or any backup and nobody above you in the chain of command. Or you're a pretentious wannabe software engineer, another one of which we can do without. You should go work for one of the big consultancy firms - they love guys like you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:42AM (#15113482)
    "You can work anywhere you want"
    So long as it's in India or China.
  • O rly? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Valar (167606) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:44AM (#15113497)
    Telecommuting is quickly becoming widespread.

    Yeah, telecommuting from India.
  • Math? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by etymxris (121288) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:45AM (#15113504)
    I have a degree in math and CS and I hardly ever use anything I learned in math for software development. Maybe simple sums and if things are getting really advanced I'll divide by the number of elements for an average. For that matter, I rarely use anything I learned in CS either, past the sophomore year anyway.

    The vast majority of software, at least that I've come across, is just moving data around. Certainly, more complex software development exists, such as in the financial services sector. And we rarely have to get into the details of how complex data structures work because we always rely on libraries. Again, I'm sure there are exceptions, but from what I've seen of the work I've come across and that has been done by other developers I know, little is used of school knowledge.

    That said, development isn't easy either. You have to be able to pick up new and weird APIs fairly quickly and find creative ways around asinine constraints. I'm just not seeing much in the way of school knowledge used though.
    • Re:Math? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How much math you need really depends on what type of apps you develop. I used to do data analysis automation for a few years on data coming in from physisists and chemical engineers and I used all my math skills constantly including calculus and DE to solve what they needed. But I think the majority of development is business type apps where algebra is about as complex as you need.

      I think the main point of CS degrees pushing math so hard is math teaches a certain way of thinking and approaching a problem
    • Re:Math? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by woodsrunner (746751) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:01AM (#15113648) Journal
      The math skills you need develop your mind to be able to pick up wierd API's and find creative ways around problems. It's sort of like when basketball players take ballet, they generally don't throw a pirouette into their layup routine, but the discipline pays off in transferable skills such as grace and injury avoidance.

      You might not think the math skills aren't necessary because they are so ingrained into your way of thinking you no longer see the benefits anymore. But try and do basic gui programming with some one without an understanding of geometry... it's pretty scarry.

      Math is the cross training of choice for coding.
    • Re:Math? (Score:3, Insightful)

      I have degrees in math and CS also, but I had to learn additional math once I got my current job. I deal with graphics (lots of matrices) and physics computations on an everyday basis (the software in question is a 3D user interface for medical doctors).

      True, many software engineers don't need math. But it helps anyway, and it also proves to your employer and other engineers that you're a critical thinker and thus you deserve a respectable salary. It also helps weed out those who shouldn't be studying CS,
      • I develop software that reads out instruments. Often these give a voltage along a curve, which must be calculated to sane engineering values using polynomes. That's the most advanced math I've seen so far....
    • by Stalyn (662)
      Well Computer Science was first a subset of Mathematics until CS became it's own branch. The first computer scientists were really mathematicians, such as Turing and von Neumann. Also Knuth has a PhD in Mathematics. Computer science in recent times, especially programming, has abstracted a lot of the math away. However math is still very fundamental to Computer Sciences.
       
    • Math is probably the wrong term anyway. The kind of "math" most software developers use is something along the lines of complexity theory. Designing code so that it can still solve problems in almost linear time.
    • The use of applied math in software engineering is a bit of a misconception. What we really do most is encode logic, which is what computers understand. Math can help with analyzing things like performance and also may be necessary for specific applications, but being able to design a set of logical steps to reach a solution (and then encode those steps in the syntax of a programming language) is what most of software engineering is about.
    • It depends what you work on. The two types of software projects that require ALOT of math (of projects i work on) are graphics and genetics related software. In any software dealing with vector graphics you'll do more math on curves than you'd ever want to do. In software dealing with DNA analysis there was pretty intense mathematics.

      But, it is true that for alot of developers working on business related software, you really only need simple math skills to estimate memory usage, efficiency, etc.
    • My degree is in Physics. In the process of getting my degree, I used
      tons and tons of algebra. Maybe other programmers think differently, but
      I find programming very mathmatical.

      1) Factoring lines of code out of loops or into methods
      2) Looking for invariants
      3) Commutation (can you switch the order of operations and get the same result)
      4) Being carefull about details
      5) Finding the mistakes (where did I pick up that incorrect factor of 2?)

      It is true that you might not use specific things you had in school (li
  • Cool news that I have the best job in America. Maybe I won't quit and open a computer store afterall. :-)

    boxlight
  • by defile (1059) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:47AM (#15113522) Homepage Journal

    Most computer software requires nothing more than simple arithmetic.

    There are exceptions such as in finance and 3d graphics, but come on.

    This mentality is really annoying. The math office in my high school wouldn't let me take the C++ class because I had not taken the requisite Calculus class first. Even though I was writing C++ code in my part time job! (Out of spite, I'll mention that I took the state C++ AP test and went on to score the highest in New York. Take THAT Mrs. Lechner!)

    Pfft.

    • finance and 3d graphics, but come on.

      I agree on 3d graphics, but not even finance requires 'advanced' math skills. Last time I had to use math (collision of a segment with a circle for a 2d game), the math involved was stuff I learned on high school (and not some fancy private place, just an average 3rd-world country public high school). And I didn't even have to actually know all the details, just understand the basic concepts, enough to let the math software solve the equations for me.

      Sure, for a lot

      • I've worked on some nasty accounting projects, and there is some nasty math involved. Not nasty in the sence of advanced calculas math. It's nasty in the proofs kind of way. You need to take huge and complex accounting formulas and break them down step by step (just like doing proofs).

        So I can see requiring Algebra II as a pre-req, but advanced calc/trig is over kill even in the financial world. It's good to have taken a calc and trig class, just in case you do run into some forcasting model that makes assu
    • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:59AM (#15114177)
      I think it depends on whether you want to be a software engineer, or a computer scientist.

      I've done programming for manufacturing, IT services, .com product/service providers, and military employers. I have a bachelor's in math+cs, master's in cs, and I'm working toward a PhD in cs. Here's what I've found...

      For software engineering, I had nearly no need for math. I mean, you might do a little back-of-envelope multiplication to estimate disk storage needs or batch job durations, but that was it. The hard work for those jobs was making good software / database designs, avoiding concurrency / threading issues, etc.

      For the military work, that's when I went from being mostly a developer to being mostly a computer scientist. THAT'S where the heavy math came in to play. Heavy statistics (for making sense of sensors), diff. eq. / vector calculus (for dealing with physics models), optimization theory (for planning future actions), etc.

      I still haven't figured out why high school programming teachers stress so heavily the connection between math and programming. For most software engineering jobs, you could have stopped at high-school Pre-Calculus. Just not if you want to be a computer scientist.
      • What you're describing isn't a a computer scientist, but rather an programmer working in a field where math is needed.

        One could say the same about any specialized domain where the programmer needs to know about the domain itself as well as core programming (& maybe computer scientist) skills. Just because someone working on a radar system needs advanced math and someone else working in the bioinformatics field needs a knowledge of genetics doesn't make advanced math or genetics a prequesite to be consid
      • by tignom (562076)
        Why is everyone on this thread assuming that "math" just means arithmetic, geometry and calculus? I took a lot of those clases on the way to my CS degree and I don't use very much of them at work. But I also took discrete math and some algorithms courses that applied it. Even if you're not thinking about discrete math, you're probably using it a lot when you're coding. It's one of those things that happens in a back corner of your brain without always requiring conscious awareness of what you're doing.
  • Math skillz (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mightypenguin (593397)
    I don't really see this amazing need for math skillz. I don't think I've used any calculus at my job, and I'm not even writing just business apps but also some basic software drivers and industrial automation stuff. College algebra is all I've had to use so far. But I appreciate the talk up of how amazing my job is :) I'm not even sure Linus Torvalds has ever had to use calculus in Linux.

    Now we DO have to work with funky algorithms and I guess studying math helps with that somehow...
    • Re:Math skillz (Score:5, Insightful)

      by saddino (183491) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:06AM (#15113706)
      Most of the actual advanced math in programming is so intuitive, you probably don't realize you're using it: discrete structures, set theory, topology logic, etc. If you can design an efficient, optimized well abstracted OO framework then your using math "skillz" whether you know it or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:48AM (#15113529)
    I don't see Male Porn Star anywhere on the list...

  • Software Engineers Ranked Best Job in America

    Well, duh!

    MjM

  • by StevenHenderson (806391) <stevehendersonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:49AM (#15113545)
    I am guessing since most of these jobs have been farmed out, it has diluted the dissent in the job pool.

    I guess when that happens, the few people that still have jobs are quite grateful and enamored with them.

  • The best job I ever had (air traffic controller) didn't even break the top 50...the worst job(s) I've ever had were as a software engineer (or programmer, whatever the hell you want to call it).

    Something's not right here...
  • by saddino (183491) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:57AM (#15113620)
    Even being a "Software Engineer" varies from the "coding monkey" who gets it from the man, or the "unemployed contractor" who can't find a job, to the "game company project manager" or "I run my own successful software business" types.

    All in all, it's a great job, agreed. But there's always a better title in the field, with better perks and better pay, and better everything.

    So keep coding your butts off. ;-)
  • by gregarican (694358) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:01AM (#15113650) Homepage
    Would be the guy in "Office Space" who went on to make his Jump to Conclusions game. He had a secretary who would gather the requirements from the customers. Then the secretary would take the gathered requirements and pass them along to the engineers. Oh wait, he was laid off. Forget what I said...
  • Crap! (Score:2, Funny)

    by 0tim0 (181143)
    So this is as good as it gets?!

    --t
  • It does take creative problem solving ability. Beyond that . . .

    Having "evolved out" of programming into a PM role I found
    1) I didn't use much math beyond the basics.
    2) I COULD NOT just work where I wanted. I've said this before and I'll say it yet again - regions of the US vary highly.
    3) Telecommuting? Not so much. I'm allowed more telecommuting leeway was a Project Manager.

    And best job . . . I don't see that either.

    *I* enjoyed it. However I also enjoy Project Management just as much (not that I don't
  • Start: Run: Calc
    K: Run: kcalc

    That's all the math skills I use on a daily basis.
  • puter nerd (Score:5, Funny)

    by stacybro (757940) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:16AM (#15113793) Homepage
    My 4 year old daughter walks up to me one day and say "Dad, Mom says you are a puter nerd, but it's OK cause you make lots of money..."
  • "Nice work if you can get it."
  • Some of the thoughts in the (teeny) article-let are interesting...

    For example, lots of comments talk about the "math skills" statement. Indeed, actual math is uncommon in my daily software engineering, but being able to discover algorithms, utilize patterns and algebraic problem solving do go easily from math to software engineering.

    Back, neck and eye problems? Check...

    Long hours (at release time)? Check...

    Fear of outsourcing? Check...

    Telecommuting? Check (but I like the people interaction I get w
  • I see we are nowhere on the top 50, but listed in the listing of 166 other jobs (Good pay, but not a high enough outlook). It seems sad that a major that many CS people drop down to due to CS's difficulty at my university (IT) has a higher ranking (I'm not trolling. At my university, CS has a lot of required science and mathematics courses most computer scientists will never use in their career that the IT majors are not required to take. So technically the major itself isn't really more difficult unless
  • by xPsi (851544) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:45AM (#15114054)
    Obviously this isn't exactly a scientific ranking and is somewhat arbitrary. Nevertheless, it probably has some qualitative merit.

    But it seems odd: If you compare software engineer to college professor, it is clear, based on their data, that the 10-year growth parameter is fairly heavily weighted in their ranking since professor is equal or higher in all other areas.

    Software Engineer:
    average salary: $80.5k
    10-year growth: 46%
    Average annual job openings: 44.8k
    Stress: B
    Flexibility: B
    Creativity: A
    Ease of Entry: C

    College Professor:
    average salary: $81.5k
    10-year growth: 31%
    Average annual job openings: 95.3k
    Stress: B
    Flexibility: A
    Creativity: A
    Ease of Entry: C

    It seems like *if you had the job*, the quality of that job *right now* would be somewhat independent of the 10-year growth parameter. In that same spirit, if they folded in some "job security" parameter, it seems the tenture (or tenture-track) options of a professor would trump all others.

  • by Kupek (75469) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @11:14AM (#15114317)
    But they have it ranked as C, which I assume is average entry difficulty. According to their numbers, there are about 95,000 professor positions open every year. But that's not the whole picture: only a small fraction of that 95,000 are positions open to a particular person. In order to be a professor, you need to have a relatively narrow expertise. There will be few professor positions open in the country that want your particular expertise.

    I also think they underestimate the stress level of getting tenure. Getting tenure is a cutthroat process.

    For the record, I am a Computer Science graduate student.
  • by vinn (4370) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:17PM (#15115686) Homepage Journal
    I thought their choices were pretty good, but they completely screwed up with the reasoning behind the selections. Here's my take on it:

    1. Software engineer
    Congratulations, no one really knows what you do. As a software engineer you have carte blanche to fuck off. Don't like what you're working on? Tell your employer it'll take two years and 10 people to accomplish. No one will know the difference. Just remember, 10 minutes of inspiration gets more accomplished than a strong work ethic.

    2. College professor
    Congratulations, you figured out how to never leave college. Rather than figuring out how the real world operates you get to tell future generations how you wished it worked. It's the only job in the world where you can bang 18 year-olds for the rest of your life and simply be called 'eccentric'.

    3. Financial advisor
    Congratulations, you figured out how to be a criminal that gets a salary. Because, hey, no one really goes to jail for white collar crimes. Scraping a few pennies worth of commission from every trade is not only legal, it's expected. The best part: the only qualifications are you need is the ability to use Excel and wear a shit-eating grin. It's possibly the only job in the world where someone else will take a fall for your dirty deeds. Think Enron.

    4. Human resource management
    Congratulations, you're so good at covering your ass a company has hired you to cover theirs. When most people get frustrated at work they put their head down and mutter obscenities. Instead, you have the opportunity to fire the asshole who pissed you off. Furthermore, if you don't like your benefit package you can create your own.

    5. Physician's assistant
    Congratulations, you found a cover for being an escort. We all know you bought the nurse's outfit first and found the job second. Working bankers' hours gives you the ability to pursue more lucrative opportunities on the side.

    6. Market research analyst
    Congratulations, you figured out how to remove the stress and anxiety from marketing leaving you with pool parties and martinis. As an analyst, you get to try new products and impress your friends with the latest in cell phone technology. The best part: you'll still make plenty of money to pursue your coke habit.

    7. Computer IT analyst
    Congratulations, you figured out how to get a lucrative job in the IT market without any technical knowledge. As a translator between real people and the geeks you'll be revered by both. The real people will invite you to after work parties and give you an escape from nerddom. The geeks will be so thankful you've removed human interaction from their job they may let you play with their dual-core superpiplined hyperthreaded 64-bit processors.

    8. Real estate appraiser
    Congratulations, you've discovered the single career more criminal than financial advisor. You have more angles than a protractor. Not only do you get kickbacks, you have a waiting line. As if banks, insurers, and developers weren't enough, now you have every government agency on the Gulf Coast wanting to give you money for a job they've already done. Just remember, banks have to report every transaction over $10,000.

    9. Pharmacist
    Congratulations, you're a licensed drug dealer. You're college buddies are now serving mandatory minimums for selling a few tabs of acid at a Widespread show. Meanwhile, you're doling out Valium and Vicodin on a daily basis to the doctors' wives. If the people making the drugs have a stock symbol, it can't be that bad, right?

    10. Psychologist
    Congratulations, you found a way to get paid for kissing ass. This whole career was developed by a genius who figured out there was money to be made by telling codependents everything they wanted to hear. You have that special knack for convincing people their friends are wrong when they 'Get over it.'

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