The Best And Worst Jobs Of 2011

January 6, 2011

software engineer writes on boardWith the growing need for applications on smart phones, iPads and other devices, software engineers have seen their position jump to the top of a new job ranking report for 2011.

The annual Jobs Rated Report, released by CareerCast.com, computes the rank of 200 American jobs by measuring factors like income, job outlook, environment, stress and physical demands, according to a press release.

Software engineer topped the list as the best job of 2011 because of its low stress, great outlook for employment, strong income potential, few physical demands and a high environmental ranking. It was followed by mathematician, actuary, statistician and computer systems analyst. Ranking at the bottom of the list were roustabout, ironworker, lumberjack, roofer and taxi driver.

Tony Lee, publisher of the CareerCast.com 2011 Jobs Rated Report, which has been conducted for more than a dozen years, says that educational level played a key role in determining what the best and worst jobs are for 2011.

"Job seekers who want to compete for the nation's best jobs will gain a competitive edge by expanding their knowledge and skill set through higher education," he said. "Conversely, the majority of the nation's worst jobs do not require a high school diploma."

Frequently contacted by headhunters and working from home for half of his workweek, forty-one year old software engineer Jesse Severe says he has his pick of jobs in the industry, The Wall Street Journal reported. Severe, who designs flight-training software, began his career as a graphic designer, but moved into software design after seeing how much money his computer programming colleagues were making.

"My job's flexible, pays well and gives [me] a lot of job satisfaction," Severe said.

According to CareerCast.com data, software engineers research, design and develop software systems, earning about $87,000 a year.

For the second year in a row, roustabout was CareerCast.com's lowest-rated job, The Wall Street Journal noted. Roustabouts typically perform entry-level work on oil rigs, which involves loading and unloading trucks in an environment that can often be dangerous. They make about $32,000 a year, performing one of the report's most physically demanding jobs with one of the worst career outlooks. Some workers, however, recognize and accept the risks of the job and look at it as an opportunity to break into the oil industry.

"When you go near oil, it's going to be dangerous, but we all know what we're getting into," roustabout Charles Walters said.

Compiled by Alexander Gong


"Jobs Rated 2011: Ranking 200 Jobs From Best to Worst," careercast.com, January 6, 2011, Andrew Strieber

"'Software Engineer' Rated Nation's Best Job, 'Roustabout' Ranks at the Bottom of New CareerCast.com 2011 Jobs Rated Report," prnewswire.com, January 5, 2011

"The Best and Worst Jobs," online.wsj.com, January 4, 2011, Joe Light

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