Best job of 2011: software engineer

Strong demand for Web applications and cloud computing skills vault software engineers to number one spot for desirable jobs, says a national placement firm.

CareerCast.com has just published its list of the best and worst jobs of 2011, and software engineer comes out on top of a list of 200 professions. Way to go, people.

According to the placement firm's "Jobs Rated" report, software engineers' jobs cover everything from the design and creation of software for everything from operating systems to cell phone apps to interactive games.

The rankings were based on five core criteria: work environment, physical demands, outlook, income and stress.

Software engineers are in the catbird seat thanks 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."

Readers, do you agree that you have less stress than the average working stiff?  Given more than your fair share of tight project deadlines, demanding and fickle end users, and endless changes in technology, software engineers have plenty of headaches. Certainly more stressful than the second-ranked favorable job of mathematician. They don't have to deal with people all day, just crunch their numbers.

Statistician made number 4 on the list of hot jobs, perhaps in large part a reflection of the growth in business intelligence and analytics as a strategic imperative at many companies. In fifth place is computer systems analyst, also driven by the growth in Web and cloud computing.

Just to keep things in perspective: consider the working conditions of the number 1 toughest job identified in the report, that of "roustabout" (also referred to as "roughneck"), those people that work on oil pipelines.

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