Best job of 2012: software engineer (again!)

CareerCast issues its annual ranking of 200 jobs, based on opportunities, stress and work environments. IT-related positions make the top 20.

For the second year in a row, CareeCast ranks software engineer as the best job anyone can have. Once again, good going, people.

Photo Credit: AspiraCon

CareerCast observes that among 200 analyzed this year, software engineers have the most pleasant working environments, the lowest amounts of stress and physical demands, and a fairly decent hiring outlook. Salaries average about $88,142 a year.  Software engineer also topped last year's list.

Despite all those issues and troubles we regularly discuss on this site -- aligning with the business, dealing with fickle users, piled on by management that wants everything on the cheap -- it's a great time to be a software engineer.

The number 2-ranked job is actuary. Go figure -- so calculating peoples' lifespans does have its rewards.

Other IT jobs making the list include computer systems analyst (#9), and Web developer (#15).  Even more fun than being a geologist (#22), museum curator (#31), astronomer (#43), or actor (#178).

Oh, and the worst job of all -- lumberjack hits bottom at #200.

CareerCast says it arrives at its rankings along five categories: physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook. "Jobs receive a score in each individual category, and when these are added together, the career with the best overall score is ranked 1st, while the one with the worst overall score is ranked 200th."

Not everyone buys into CareerCast's ranking system, however. As someone notes in the site's talkback section: "I'm surprised 'job ranking researcher' didn't make the number 1 spot because you can apparently just assign subjective numbers to vague, difficult to define categories, slap some confusing green bars on them and BAM! You have a popular list that I'm sure (way too many) people believe."

Obviously the writer of that comment isn't a software engineer.