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Study Says Software Engineers Have the Best US Jobs

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the i'm-sure-you're-all-totally-on-board-with-this dept.

Software 337

D H NG writes "According to a new study by CareerCast.com, software engineers have the best jobs of 2011 in the United States, based on factors such as income, working environment, stress, physical demands and job outlook, using Labor Department and Census data. Mid-level software engineers make between $87,000 and $132,000 a year, putting them in the top 25% of the 200 professions studied by income. Software engineers beat out last year's number one job, actuary, which came in third, behind mathematician."

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Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (3, Interesting)

Mad Marlin (96929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798406)

Software engineer: $87,000; Computer programmer: $71,000. It is weird that they break those two up.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798668)

They are different things.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798820)

As someone who's worked in the field for a decade (and who survived the CS department at Cal), the difference seems to be that of executive assistant versus secretary. What are the connotations you have for the terms, and where did they come from? My wild guess is if back in the days of punch cards, the programmer fed the punch cards to the computer and the engineer wrote them.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798924)

Not really. Since it's self-reported, it's up to the person checking the box to bin themselves. What we learn here is that people who shy from calling themselves "software engineer", or are labelled "computer programmer" by their company's org chart, make less than people who report in as "software engineer".

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (4, Insightful)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799120)

Not really. Since it's self-reported, it's up to the person checking the box to bin themselves. What we learn here is that people who shy from calling themselves "software engineer", or are labelled "computer programmer" by their company's org chart, make less than people who report in as "software engineer".

Maybe it's because those who know the difference also know how to make themselves more valuable.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799770)

Maybe its because "computer programmer" knows the quality of the code he/she writes and the small amount of testing that is done to insure it is good; and, realize that while it is NOT crap he/she would not wish to bet their life on it. Real Engineer have a higher standard. So, the "software engineer" gets paid more for being less honest. Tim S.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798698)

spoken like someone who truly is a code monkey.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798718)

In my experience, Computer programmers are the code monkeys who do what engineers tell them to do. The software engineers are the guys who sit just above the code monkeys telling them what to write, what they need to fix, prioritizing jobs, and dishing out estimates.

They are usually different jobs, believe it or not.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (0)

exploder (196936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798800)

As a mathematician who used to be a software engineer, I laughed. I guess if you were really hard up for the extra $X/year, though...

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798888)

They don't. It's self-reported. They just put the checkbox there.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (3, Insightful)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798978)

From what I have seen in my time in industry, companies typically have fewer software engineers than computer programmers and while both roles will have employees sitting at a computer writing code, the software engineers will also spend a good deal of time designing the overall architecture of a system. Likewise, the software engineer is also generally the more senior level position and may also be the first person to take heat when a major problem is found in a system.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (2)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799130)

From my time, the terms are interchangable. The org charts and the business cards call everyone a software engineer. In normal discussion, everyone uses the term programmer or coder.

Electrical engineer vs. electrician? (1)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799058)

It is roughly the same distinction between an electrical engineer and an electrician. Sorry, I didn't have a good car analogy.

Re:Electrical engineer vs. electrician? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799218)

Mechanical engineer vs mechanic?

Re:Electrical engineer vs. electrician? (2)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799406)

Automotive engineer (the guy who designs the engine) and mechanic?

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799428)

It's sort of electrician and electrical engineer. Both deal with wires and electricity but only one of them is likely to ever be responsible for the end to end design and life-cycle of a system and is writing white papers advancing the state of the art.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799562)

Where are most of these jobs. What is the cost of living for people with these jobs. I bet if you break down you will see we are not so good off compared to other jobs which is more distributed.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (0)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799756)

Are those strictly employee figures, or does this include contractors?

I'd guess contractors would bust those figures open.

I'm effectively self-employed in a non-IT engineering field. I work in a family business where my dad died last year and me and a brother and sister are now holding things together. I know what you're thinking but the second generation has been running things for several years now, though we have little expectation of being able to pass the business on to a third generation. We're in a dirt under your fingernails industry and we all came up through the ranks(ish) but that just wouldn't work with kids these days. Better off letting them do whatever they have a passion for, rather than trying to shoe-horn them into an industry the Chinese will probably dominate in ten years time. I say "an industry", when the "an" is redundant.

What surprises me is that IT professionals, mid-level software engineers or whatever the hell, are smarter than me, have trained longer than me, are in a much more competitive environment than me (the mechanical engineering field, excluding the automotive graveyard, is relatively tiny - there are demand issues that limit remuneration but it isn't horrible, though income is much less than for similar level IT) but make far less than me. I'm little more than a shop-keeper with a BIT of technical knowledge in my specific field. Most people never need to know any of my technical information. When they do they bounce off walls wondering what to do until they find me. The main difference is that I'm now third-owner in the business and decide how I'm paid. My salary is modest, but the bonuses and pension contributions are both amble and strategic. There's a decision every person can make, but most choose to band together as employees rather than go their own way. I suppose those high paid employees are worried that if they put their skills up for auction they wouldn't be SO necessary. Perhaps the premium is partially bought with expediency from the HR guys who have to process the paperwork every time they upgrade.

Oh and it shouldn't be a capital question. We have around 2 million quid of infrastructure to do what we do in mechanical engineering. With IT you need, what? A mobile phone and a website?

Those top-rated software engineers need to be looking at making some real money and throwing off their shackles. ;) In fact EVERYONE should. Mass employment only ever served one specific.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (0)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799830)

Darn. I'm going to reply to my own comment to head off some typical criticism.

YES, I'm suggesting people should work primarily for themselves. SOME folk will say that isn't practical, but these are the same folk who object to every move the corporations make to treat people like units. Jesus, pick a side. You can't have secured employment from a beneficent Santa-like corporation and a decent wage. A decent wage teeters on the precipice whose slopes are unemployment and death.

Make your own decisions. Help people. Get rich. It's pretty simple.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799828)

It's just title inflation. It used to be:

  • junior programmer
  • programmer
  • senior programmer

but now, since it's cheaper to pay in titles than in more money, companies spread that out to

  • junior programmer
  • programmer
  • senior programmer
  • software engineer
  • senior software engineer
  • software architect
  • senior software architect

It really is all the same job, but "programmer" is just used for the more junior-grade positions in that same job.

Re:Software engineer vs. computer programmer? (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799894)

They also tend to separate civil engineers and construction workers. Just because someone knows how to lay up a brick wall or weld a steel beam it doesn't mean he is an engineer. The same applies to IT. Just because someone knows how to write code in a specific language it doesn't mean that he is an engineer.

Before slashdotters post with opposition views (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798434)

This study covers competent software engineers which might explain why your outcomes are so different.

Re:Before slashdotters post with opposition views (2, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798938)

If Wall Street proves anything, it's that competence and compensation are in no way related.

Re:Before slashdotters post with opposition views (5, Funny)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799424)

Oh, don't be so harsh. There could be a negative correlation...

Actuary? Really? (5, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798492)

I'm astonished that would be the top job last year. Personally, I'd rather shoot myself than be an actuary. But of course, a good actuary would already know that...

Re:Actuary? Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798526)

You'll notice that the criteria don't include "intellectual fulfillment." Actuaries rate pretty highly in all the criteria the study considers, but perhaps their job is not as interesting as some others.

Re:Actuary? Really? (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798776)

You'll notice that the criteria don't include "intellectual fulfillment." Actuaries rate pretty highly in all the criteria the study considers, but perhaps their job is not as interesting as some others.

I know some actuaries, and they find their jobs very intellectually stimulating and fulfilling. For people who really like math and statistics, doing it professionally is enjoyable and challenging. It's not like actuaries spend their days adding up big columns of numbers -- we have computers for that. Actuaries figure out how to use sophisticated statistics to tease out subtle patterns from large masses of information. It's challenging and the results are often surprising.

Re:Actuary? Really? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799270)

Also pension actuaries have to learn a lot about the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA, both extremely challenging, extremely convoluted bodies of law; it's not all just numbers.

Re:Actuary? Really? (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799338)

You offer this as evidence FOR that job being intellectually fulfilling?

Re:Actuary? Really? (1, Troll)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799570)

You'll notice that the criteria don't include "intellectual fulfillment." Actuaries rate pretty highly in all the criteria the study considers, but perhaps their job is not as interesting as some others.

I know some actuaries, and they find their jobs very intellectually stimulating and fulfilling.

However, at least in the US, the results the actuaries come up with are invariably used to screw people out of money. No insurance rates have ever gone down as a result of an actuary's work - the results are used only to decide which group of people a company can justify screwing just a little bit harder.

Hence those of us who don't find that kind of work to be interesting or fulfilling then also find that the work is on ethically shaky ground as well. And those of us who would find the work to be interesting or fulfilling would still find the work to be ethically questionable.

Frankly from my vantage point pimps and drug dealers are more honest than insurance company employees. Insurance companies I place on the same level ethically as politicians and used car salesman.

Re:Actuary? Really? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799700)

You'll notice that the criteria don't include "intellectual fulfillment." Actuaries rate pretty highly in all the criteria the study considers, but perhaps their job is not as interesting as some others.

To play the devil's advocate I can think of one reason why someone might want to become an actuary rather than any of the other highly-rated jobs from the survey.

That reason is one of the key things that sets that job apart - nobody ever (possibly in the history of all humankind) calls an actuary beyond business hours. You might need a software engineer in the very wee hours of the morning (perhaps because the attached project has foreign clients) but you can't say the same for actuaries. Hell I'm a graduate student in the biological sciences and I bet I've had more off-hours calls related to my work while working on my PhD than most actuaries will receive in their entire lifetimes.

That said, I still wouldn't want that career path for myself. I suspect I'd find 24hour on-call plumbing more rewarding.

Re:Actuary? Really? (1)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798860)

Actuaries are people who didn't have enough personality to be accountants.

Re:Actuary? Really? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799630)

Actuaries are people who didn't have enough personality to be accountants.

Or strong enough ethics to sell hookers and drugs on the street corner.

Lot of variability (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798498)

Being a software engineer can mean a lot of thing. You can work in a big company churning out DAO's all day or working at a little company architecting your own projects. You might make a lot of money. You might have a lot of time to look at slashdot and try to get one of the first five posts.

Re:Lot of variability (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798916)

You might make a lot of money. You might have a lot of time to look at slashdot and try to get one of the first five posts.

I'm still trying to find out if the two are mutually exclusive.

Re:Lot of variability (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799536)

Of course not. And neither condition applies to some.

Job security (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798514)

Assuming you can actually find a Software Engineering job that will stay in the U.S., yeah, they're the "best."

Re:Job security (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798610)

someone has to fix the offshore teams' fuckups.

Re:Job security (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799332)

HAHAHA

Re:Job security (2)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799856)

Salaries are set by supply and demand. Those salaries are high because companies can't find enough programmers.

Of course it is. (5, Funny)

tool462 (677306) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798638)

Where else can you get paid $100k+ a year to gripe all day on Slashdot about how crappy your job is?

Re:Of course it is. (1)

hellkyng (1920978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798724)

Security Engineer... someone has monitor website access to keep those overpaid Software Engineers in line!

Re:Of course it is. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798794)

Network admin. You can always just pull up a traffic sniffer and pretend you are collecting data.

Re:Of course it is. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798848)

I was doing that today. On my celly.

Found all of the wi-fi hotspots in the building. Surprised how many there are, considering they're against security policy.

Re:Of course it is. (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799364)

Found all of the wi-fi hotspots in the building. Surprised how many there are, considering they're against security policy.

So you're the evil twin of the Verizon guy? "I can hear you now. BAD!".

Re:Of course it is. (1)

kwabbles (259554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798842)

Or gripe all day on Slashdot using your i7 Extreme with three SLI'd 480's that you harassed management to buy since you were "tired of waiting on the compiler".

Re:Of course it is. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798862)

Yeah, sorry... there is a gross lack of modern programmers on Slashdot. And very very rarely does an actual architect post here.

Scared me for a second. (5, Informative)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798672)

The 132k figure is not for mid-level engineers (although maybe it is in a big city). The actual quote from the article is "Most earn a typical mid-level income of about $87,000 and top out at $132,000". Makes me feel a little better and it's maybe the first time I RTFA in over a decade of visiting here.

Re:Scared me for a second. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798976)

I am a mid-level engineer and make only 55,000 (in NY)

Re:Scared me for a second. (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799286)

run away

Re:Scared me for a second. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798980)

It should also be "top 25 of the 200 professions" instead of "top 25% of the 200 professions".

$132K is a bit low for top-tier engineers (5, Informative)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799006)

$132K as an upper bound sounds about right for mid-level engineers but is a bit low as an upper bound for senior software engineers at large corporations. Principal software engineers at Microsoft are paid at around $160K with fairly huge bonuses that push their yearly pay to nearly $200K. Staff software engineers at Google and others are in the neighbourhood. Note that these are cream-of-the-crop engineers who have chosen to stay as ICs rather than go into management. Source: personal knowledge and glassdoor.com.

Re:Scared me for a second. (1)

Manfre (631065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799026)

I had the same reaction. I wish the article stated whether or not the salaries included bonuses and other monetary benefits. My base salary is not that impressive, but the bonus and retirement benefits usually add 30-40% to my yearly income.

Re:Scared me for a second. (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799220)

Yea, no shit. I'm not making anywhere near that, but am just starting out. I was really thinking I was sucking or something.

Re:Scared me for a second. (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799746)

On top of the fact that salary normally increases rapidly near the start of one's career, you timing for starting your career was very unlucky, with the bad job market. I suspect you may be able to wrangle big raises as the market improves, but you'll likely have to switch jobs to get them. IME employers find it acceptible to pay big bucks to get the shiny new guy, but harder to pay the same amount to retain those for whom they're accustomed to paying less.

Re:Scared me for a second. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799230)

I do not understand your feelings about this, what are you saying?

Damn! (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798674)

Who let the word out?!?

Feeling good (1)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798688)

Thanks editors, now I can justify my choice of a mathematics BS with a compsci minor to my parents!

On a more serious note, upper div math is no joke. The 1800's and 1900's had some serious brain power.

Obviously, you're not a golfer. (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798706)

I'd rather have the Dude's job.

Re:Obviously, you're not a golfer. (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798732)

Nah, you really don't.

Re:Obviously, you're not a golfer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799356)

Read this [amazon.com] and see if you feel the same way.

eh (2)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798710)

I'm 10 years out of college and make at the low end of that range, though I live somewhere that's relatively cheap compared to most hotbeds of software development. I work 40 hours a week (sometimes a few less) and probably spend 25% of that not doing anything productive in a work-related sense. So from a "money per unit effort" sense I'm pretty well off. From a "doing something that is intrinsically rewarding and gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment"...not so much.

Re:eh (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799254)

6 years out and not in the range yet :p Though still doing better than the arbitrary goal I'd set of making over £30k a year by the time I hit 30. I make enough that I don't really have to worry about money any more, that's good enough for me. I spent some time last year worrying that I wasn't making as much as I should be, but discovered all these really high paying wages tend to be in much richer areas, and for much more high stress/responsibility jobs than being the head "IT guy"/programmer for a small/medium sized business. As it is I have it pretty good.

I'm not a games programmer like I wanted to be when I was a kid, but by all accounts games programmers are generally treated like shit for little pay, so that turned me off the idea. And at least when I write specific internal apps for the company I work for, I do get some sense of pride and accomplishment because I can see the direct results of my work. One day one of the admin staff loudly proclaimed her love for me simply because the equipment tracking system I wrote made life so much easier for her than using the mess of spreadsheets they had before.

Re:eh (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799850)

You can't directly compare income in the UK vs the US. At the very least, deduct what we pay for health care (premiums, co-pays, prescriptions...), repaying college loans, lack of public transport, and receiving fewer vacation days.

I suppose the US may come out ahead even when all factors are taken into account. Although I didn't factor in anything for subsisting on cat food in retirement.

lol conflict of interest much? (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798744)

Do you think they, or monster.com, are going to publish a story with more realistic salaries? They want more people using their site for job searching.

I have a mathematician friend from a top tier university who would be very interested to know that mathematicians make >$90k/yr. Heh. He's not the lame-weirdo type mathematician either, fyi.

Re:lol conflict of interest much? (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799240)

The salaries at my flagship state U are public record, and most of the math profs are topping 90k.

I think that it's sad, really... (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798762)

... that so much of the perception of how good a job is would be derived from how much money one makes doing it.

Re:I think that it's sad, really... (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798948)

It's only one of the five criteria they combined to produce their metric.

And they probably under-weighted it.

How much money you make may not have a lot of bearing were it not for studies like these that show you where your pay fits in the scale.

That will either make you happy or unhappy, or both at the same time, on the spot.

Me, I'm whistling at the moment.

Re:I think that it's sad, really... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799272)

Agreed. If money was the only concern, I'd be working offshore or down a mine or something.

Manager: "You've got the best job in the world!" (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798836)

Manager: "Why do you need a pay raise?"

Me: "Um, because my job makes me feel like I'm in the asshole of he world."

Mathematician's rank contradicts the old joke: (5, Funny)

1yongyorf (937425) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798906)

What's the difference between a mathematician and a large pizza?

A large pizza can feed a family of four.

Re:Mathematician's rank contradicts the old joke: (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798970)

Unemployment among mathematicians is very, very low.

But that's because there are very few people who class themselves as mathematicians.

Most of them are doing something else for a living.

Including flipping burgers, etc...

Now, if the study was done based on what your degree was in, or on what you believe you are qualified to do but aren't necessarily doing...

Re:Mathematician's rank contradicts the old joke: (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799296)

Unemployment among mathematicians is very, very low.

But that's because there are very few people who class themselves as mathematicians.

That's because Mathematician isn't a job. No one would claim their job is a Mathematician unless they were specifically getting paid to do research into math - which is very rare. Often you are paid to teach Math at a university while persuing your study of mathematics.

Re:Mathematician's rank contradicts the old joke: (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799392)

Plenty of mathematicians work in industry--"mathematician" most certainly is a job, and not only (though yes, mostly) tenured big-university professors do it.

Re:Mathematician's rank contradicts the old joke: (1)

backbyter (896397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799454)

My neighbor in Fairfax was the only non-academic I've known who earned his living doing theoretical math -- for a certain 3 letter agency and later in the private sector.

Re:Mathematician's rank contradicts the old joke: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799180)

But a mathematician can prove it!

Mid-Level $132k, really? (0)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798928)

Maybe I need to leave the Bay Area. I'm most definitely senior level and I'm constantly offered architecture positions, but seems most want to pay $125k (hahahahaha), which I consider LOW (and it is) for that sort of work on a FT basis, so I stick to contracting. It seems the Bay Area pays lower because there's more supply of IT professionals here, driving down the price. This article makes me consider wanting to scout for other areas where there's growing demand, but less of a talent pool to draw from. I know I sure wouldn't miss living in SF, talk about a den of over-educated idiots. It's ok if you're into political correctness to the point of religion and "progressive liberalism" to the point where it's an environmentally-friendly form of fascism. So yeah I'd be happy to leave.

Re:Mid-Level $132k, really? (3, Interesting)

company suckup (1351563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799520)

Well in that case I'm sure Grand Island, NE. would love to have you.

Re:Mid-Level $132k, really? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799616)

Come to seattle - we have a different sort of religion, but not so much with the enviroweenies. Oh, and you'll learn to hate guys on bicycles. Sadly, the weather is a bit gray, but the flip side is good skiing an hour or two away.

Re:Mid-Level $132k, really? (2)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799628)

European here. After a few years in London and then some time in Australia where things didn't pan out so great, I decided to head back to the old country, south of France.

Turns out I only lost about 10% on the salary, when really, I expected the cut to be more something like 30-40%. Turns out that if you find the right employer, they will go the extra mile if they've estimated your worth correctly.

Re:Mid-Level $132k, really? (1)

lip_spork (939597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799708)

Ah, there he is...the ubiquitous blowhard "complaining" that the >$125k he's paid (well over twice the national average) is still too low for his glorious talent.

Hey, why not try your hand in sub-Saharan Africa? Almost no competion at all! Just think how much money you'll make! Hahahahahahhaahaa!!!

Stressful job, but not a bad one (5, Informative)

Mean Variance (913229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798962)

I have carried the title "Software Engineer" for 13 years. I'm of mixed opinion about how great the job is. It pays pretty well, but much of that is relative to what you're comparing to.

There are worse jobs out there, no doubt, but we're not just coders at least in my experience and many people I know in Silicon Valley. You have to read a lot of boring documents. You have to know how to write. There are meetings. There are customers to talk with. For me what makes it "not the greatest job in the world" is that it's stressful in a way that people don't understand.

Deadlines always loom, and they are always too short. A good SE has to constantly decide where to unit test, design, explain to management, or just hack to get it done. There's no worse feeling when management decides that a project is taking too long and asks "who can we add to the project?" like we and our code is just plug-n-play factory work.

That is stressful and few people understand the kind of stress created on the job. I'm not asking for pity. It's a good gig overall, but sometimes I wish I would have stuck with my original, lower paying pursuit of teaching junior college mathematics.

Re:Stressful job, but not a bad one (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799416)

I'd had to agree with you, especially related to the plug-n-play factory worker statement. It seems to me that developers are more and more being looked at like white-collared factory workers by other workers in the company. Computers are the new cars in our generation. The company that I'm at has started to outsource to India more and more and at the end of the day I feel like my work is just a commodity.

Don' t like it, quit (1)

gunner800 (142959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798972)

As a software engineer, this makes sense to me. I haven't met many other engineers who don't like their jobs. Those who do, quit and do something else. I suspect it helps that before you get called "engineer" you build some widely usable skills, and we get paid pretty well even early in the career. So if you don't like it, you have some flexibility in finding something else. Try that in a field with highly specialized (or no) skill, or less ability to save money.

Laughable headline (1)

The Joe Kewl (532609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799038)

Does "best job" mean "most easily replaced" for budget reasons? Must be why my job was "outsourced"

Re:Laughable headline (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799198)

Don't know where you work, but where I do any engineer who is worth something is never outsourced. Its true we do, but it is for menial tasks and for work we just don't have the time to complete now given how many people we have on staff.

Astronomers vs. Physicists (1)

simonbp (412489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799048)

As an astronomer/astrophysicist, I find it hilarious that "physicist" rated higher than "astronomer" due to stress level. Apparently working with real data is much more stressful than with just theory.

And mathematicians are even higher, the hippie bastards...

Pardon me (1)

BisexualPuppy (914772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799092)

Pardon me, but I'm not that aware of taxes and such in the US, so what's left to the guy which earns say $100k/year ?
That $8300/month (~6500euros), and in Europe (France especially) 6500 is a *lot* (average salary is somewhere between 25ke and 30ke per year).
I'm working for ~50ke (~$65k) per year, and that's a good salary (especially for someone without any diploma (hence my english skills). It costs my company about twice this amount (so ~120ke before taxes), and I get, after taxes, 80% of this (so ~3200e/month) (and I owe about one month of salary for general taxes, per year, but we never take this into account when talking about salaries).

To summarize, I earn 50ke, divide per 12, remove 20%, that's ~3200e/month in my pocket (and that's something like two times the average salary). So, what's really left for the pocket of an american earning $100k/month ?

(I'm aware that you have to pay for medical insurances and such, and, besides 'normal' taxes, that's about 100e/month in my case).

meaningless question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799094)

The notion of an objectively "best" job is absurd on the face of it. I have a job that, on the face of it, is pretty good. The pay is great for the local cost of living, the work environment is comfortable, the physical labor is minimal, it's not especially difficult work, I like most of my co-workers, and it's for an organization that's doing work I believe in. But I fucking hate it, because it's a terrible match for my personality. It's 75% of the time on the phone (no, not telemarketing), which I'm sure would be fine for a "people person" who likes smalltalk and chit-chat, but I absolutely despise talking on the phone. I don't even phone with my friends, instead either meeting them in person or e-mailing or texting them. So my every working day is a living hell, even though this survey would conclude it was a "good" job. And I seriously think I'd rather be assembling refrigerators or delivering pizzas.

the opposing viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799144)

is presented here [dilbert.com]

Meh (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799156)

We hardware engineers are your gods. :-) Without us, what would you run your software on? Hey, I tease. Mostly. :-D

Re:Meh (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799224)

We hardware engineers are your gods. :-) Without us, what would you run your software on?

Last year's already designed hardware. You have it backwards... if we don't write new software, who's going to need more RAM/speed/space?

Re:Meh (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799878)

You have it backwards... if we don't write new software, who's going to need more RAM/speed/space?

Gullible idiots, of course.

reporting income (1, Insightful)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799164)

If you are a software engineer and you make over a million dollars per year, do you think you would want people to know this? I'd rather just file a W-2 and say I made $20K/year and write the rest off through my corporation as an expense. I think once you get above a few hundred K per year, it really behooves you to adjust what you report as personal income accordingly, otherwise you're just going to be giving away all your money towards taxes. I think most people in this position are already doing this tho, so I'm preaching to the choir I'm sure. :/

Re:reporting income (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799438)

Fucking write offs, how do they work?

really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799200)

Software engineering beat out porn star? Really?

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799694)

yeah, those bukkakes must make the job awesome.

bah (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799320)

Attorney is ranked 82nd? There is no way that job should be ranked that high, calls their methodology into question.

survey? (1)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799488)

So... A major dataset is what people doing those jobs told them? Most people have performed few different roles and for few employers. Most people have no idea, except that the grass is always greener elsewhere.

True this is my impression based on anecdotal evidence, but since I work as an accountant and most of my time is out at a client, I get to observe and interact with lots of different people at work and see their payroll. And for some reason people have a habit of confiding in me, I think they're looking for some independent assurance on just how overworked and underpaid they are.

Or aren't. I can recount stories, but it just ends in a muddle because none of them really have any clue whether they're being overworked or underpaid. There is some kind of masochistic humour to be had though when (and this happens so often it's a standing office joke) you have to sympathise with someone saying they wished they make close to what you do, only to later do the payroll section and find they make 25-50% more.

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