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Software Engineers Ranked Best Job in America

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the here-comes-the-paycut dept.

471

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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We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113433)

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.

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (4, Interesting)

idhindsight (920184) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113496)

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 and realize they can outsource jobs to intelligent people that live in rural areas for a salary somewhere in between what they're paying their silicon-valley people and their Indian script-readers.

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#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

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113575)

Dammit. Valar beat me to it by 3 minutes...

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (4, Funny)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113798)

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...

Re: We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113577)

> 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?

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (1)

neurojab (15737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113589)

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 for, I don't know anyone who telecommutes.
I also work for a Fortune 500 company, and about 20% of the people I work with telecommute most of the time. Most everyone else at this company telecommutes at least one day a week. I'm talking about mostly Software Engineers here. Once you have all the tools to get your job done at home and effective ways to communicate, it's not difficult.

I still prefer a face-to-face meeting with a whiteboard, but telecommuting isnt' all bad.

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113610)

If telecommuting is so difficult and unusual in your experience then I guess I'm one of the lucky few. I work at IBM in Texas and many of us are allowed (even encouraged) to telecommute. With management approval we can get our broadband line paid for. Some people are asked to let go of their assigned office cubicles and work at home full-time. In most IBM offices there are "guest" cubicle sections for employees who are just visiting or who come into the office for meetings, to use the printers / fax machines / copiers, etc. I forget the exact figures but a good percentage of IBM's employees telecommute. Something like 30%? Maybe more by now. And this isn't just one group or department. I know people in sales, development, tech support, marketing and other areas who do this.

Why would you want to telecommute? (4, Funny)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (2, Insightful)

John Courtland (585609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113625)

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 well enough by the leads. Either that or the leads need to relinquish the leash.

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (1)

micromuncher (171881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113628)

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.

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (2)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113632)

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. 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.

I think it depends. When I worked for a major financial firm as an offshore employee (which was pretty funny since I was definitely on shore), they had me working from home 5 days a week to free up cubicle space. Mind you, I worked pretty much on my own, but with the panopoly of telecommuting tools available, it was easy to hold meetings and generally be involved. The downside is the lack of face time -- people tend to forget you exist if they don't see you, and while that's great if you're a programmer and want to get things done, it's lousy from a standpoint of keeping yoru job or moving up, as I found out when they ended my contract rather abruptly.

As to security issues, I think VPN software has matured quite a bit and depending on the precautions you take, remote computing is pretty secure. And as far as team members go, while tyou don't have that instant bonding and camraderie, nor do you have people borrowing your stapler or perring over your shoulder or filling your cube with chit-chat when you're trying to work. I think in the end, it's a mixed bag, and I suspect managers are reticent to let workers telecommute from the fear that they won't be able to control them and see what they're doing at a moment's notice. I suspect a lot of manager's don't really trust their programming staff.

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (2, Interesting)

Khomar (529552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113665)

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 work-from-home model (hundreds if not thousands of people). It was determined that the cost of maintaining facilities outweighed the downside to development due to less direct communication. Why is this possible? Because technology has gotten to the point where it is increasingly easier to communicate via instant messenger applications, VPN, NetMeeting (yeah, I know, it could stand A LOT of improvements), and even video conferencing. Most of our training is being done on-line, and it is getting much better. A few years ago, setting up a remote office was difficult and expensive, but most of the bugs have been worked out now. The technology is advancing continually making the experience -- nice.

The biggest reason is cost, and it started, I believe, when looking at consulting/contracting work. Given the cost of fly a developer down and pay for their food, housing, and other costs, it became far more advantagious to simply have them work remotely. With VPN technology improving and becoming more stable and reliable, they found that developers could do their work just as well from their office in Denver instead of flying out to New York. In my company, most of the people in my office worked for projects ranging all over the country -- from San Diego to Connecticutt. While there might be groups of three or four on the same project, a lot of people, like myself, were the only ones on a given project from our center. There really wasn't much need for me to be in the office, and my project didn't have the budget to fly me down. As you multiply this scenario across the company, you start to wonder why you even need the office at all.

While I am certain there will be companies that hold out on WFH, there are some very large firms that are embracing it whole-heartedly. Are there drawbacks? Yes, but to many companies, the cost savings make it worth the risk.

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (1)

borkus (179118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113686)

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 job market and frequently have to hire folks from out of town if we want experienced people. Flexibility in things like telecommuting and leave gives us a slight edge, especially when the gross salary won't be as much as in a larger market.

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113736)

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 server easier. Frankly, I would avoid companies > 2000 employees as a rule, just because they become bureaucratic headaches when they get large enough. They tend to hire managers who want to build empires, as well, and those are the ones who have an innate distrust of their employees.

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (1)

oudzeeman (684485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113756)

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 good when I bought a new house and had to stick around my house all afternoon for the cable company to establish service

Re:We Still Aren't Trusted to Telecommute (2, Funny)

ezeecheez (931550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113789)

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!'

Phew (1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113436)

Engineering software is boring. Most of the people I know would better be porn actors. You Yankees are sick [billmon.org]

Tar_Baby (0, Troll)

Commander Trollco (791924) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113439)

Hello all. I am a teacher at a Tucson-area preschool. I keep a bowl of candy on my desk for pupils that have been *extra good. Tootsie rolls, peppermints, jollyranchers and all else. But this is no ordinary candy.
On nights after work, kept up late for "grading" pieces of string and glitter glued to construction paper, I am wont to take a break. I unwrap candies, insert them into my anus, and carefully replace the cellophane.
Sometimes the fecal residue even helps it to stick.
I take a quiet, serene pleasure in seeing who gets sick, who turns up missing for days or weeks at a time. The parents are the best; overcome with worry, in complete irrational fear- of everything except me. They don't know that I am poisoning their kids. Perhaps I will offer a lollipop to one of them. Yes, that would be interesting.
A little girl in my am group last spring. Her name is Patsy, with curly brown hair. She is not equipped with the strongest immune system... and she is dead. Her mother seemed distraught at best.

Re:Tar_Baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113689)

Is that supposed to be shocking and inflammatory? Because it's not. It's just stupid and badly written. You are not a troll - you are just an idiot.

Yez (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113445)

In other news, my balls are rated the best balls in America!

Re:Yez (1)

galenoftheshadows (828940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113528)

Objection, your honor! Heresay! :-P

Not the best in every country (2, Interesting)

yogikoudou (806237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113452)

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).

Re:Not the best in every country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113466)

IT Manager != Software Engineer

Re:Not the best in every country (4, Informative)

nmx (63250) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113515)

This 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).

IT manager and software engineer are completely different jobs. That's like saying that an orderly and a trauma doctor have the same job.

Are you sure? (2, Insightful)

mayesa (944673) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113457)

Wouldn't it be a better job to own a company like Google or Microsoft? http://www.servicerules.com.ar/ [servicerules.com.ar]

Talk to the hand (5, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113467)

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.

Re:Talk to the hand (1)

Zzesers92 (819281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113761)

Steve (who comes from a rough area)

Actually Steve "coming from a rough area" was only part of the schtick he used to sell all those subscriptions to Vibe.

For the two people on slashdot who don't get this, it's an Office Space [imdb.com] reference.

Software engineer vs. system administrator (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113474)

I realize that this site is mainly geared towards system adminstrators and other professionals who change passwords and plug PCs in for real programmers, so it's probably the wrong place to say this. But being a programmer just seems like a much more enjoyable line of work than babysitting servers all day long.

Re:Software engineer vs. system administrator (3, Insightful)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113510)

being a sysadmin is a good job, as long as they give you the leeway to do things the way you want them. because once you get done cleaning up the mess the last guy got fired for, and after you get done setting things up the way you want them to be... its a pretty slack job (after everything gets running smoothly), leaving you with plenty of time to experiment with new technologies and stuff. As a programmer, you generally have things you're supposed to be working on every minute of every day. /former sysadmin, current programmer //thinking of switching back

Re:Software engineer vs. system administrator (5, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113618)

I've been both a software engineer and a system administrator/engineer. They both have their perks.

Software engineering I think gives you more of a sense that you're working on something really big, and there's obviously a huge sense of accomplishment when something you spent a year writing is used by thousands of people. On the flip side, though, you have to work for a year or more pounding away at code, with no real sense of accomplishment other than passing milestones. Often times, even that gives you no real sense of a job well done, since time frames for milestones are often set unrealistically, so you end up feeling lousy about missing a milestone instead of good for hitting one.

Then, there's the problem of usage. I've been a part of failed projects, and it can be gut wrenching. I've worked on applications that took 2 and 3 years to write, and ended up failing for various reasons. It sucks pouring so many hours into something and making all the sacrifices necessary to work 80 hour weeks just to have the project fail.

Being an SA, on the other hand, has its own rewards and issues. First, most SAs (unless you're a junior grade) don't babysit servers all day long, they generally are working on various projects to build or improve systems. These projects tend to be of a shorter duration than software projects, so there is generally more of an immediate sense of accomplishment. Also, you tend to be closer to the user base, which means you can easily see people using something you built on a day to day basis and draw some sense of accomplishment from that.

On the other hand, SAs also tend to be overworked, and can easily get caught up just trying to put out fires to maintain the servers rather than working on new and better things. A good SA will be able to stabilize things, but depending on the issue at hand that could take days or weeks or even months of very long hours before things return to where they should be. While a good SA will automate virtually every day to day task they can, sometimes they are too busy putting out fires to do so. This sort of thing can cause rapid burnout.

I spent 5 year being an SA, then spent 5 years being a software engineer, and now I'm back to being an SA again. Chances are good I will eventually be a software engineer again at some point. Both jobs have their advantages, and depending on where you work, both jobs can generate basically the same salaries.

Re:Software engineer vs. system administrator (1)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113768)

Nicely done, troll. I almost fell for it ;-).

I am curious, though, do you really believe that sysadmins change passwords and plug in PC's? Where I work, that is done by Helpdesk.

I wrote perl scripts to babysit the servers (all UNIX), and I spend almost 100% of my time working on projects. Usually that means writing web applications and modifying open source software to better fit what our organization (ISP) needs. I bet I write more code than an average "real programmer" does ;-). I'd much rather work with open source software than write IT applications in .NET (this is what our applications team does all day).

And that is a roundabout way of pointing out that TFA is bunk. "Best" is a subjective term. I wouldn't trade my UNIX SysAdmin position for a Software Engineer position unless you bumped up my salary a good bit. That's unlikely.

Software Engineer (4, Interesting)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 8 years ago | (#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?

Re:Software Engineer (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113495)

Your probably a software engineer with the wrong title.

Re:Software Engineer (2, Insightful)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113633)

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.

Re:Software Engineer (1)

castoridae (453809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113672)

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...

Re:Software Engineer (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113771)

IT jobs are gained by experience, and usually a job that requires a "Senior Software Engineer" pays better than one that requires a "programmer".

Re:Software Engineer (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113523)

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.

Re:Software Engineer (1)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113586)

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 didn't know what it was called when it involved about 70 servers.

Re:Software Engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113641)


Just stick "Large Scale" in front of your title. Maybe an "Automation" in there somewhere as well, since it's seems like that's what your coding is for.

Re:Software Engineer (1)

Ours (596171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113534)

You don't choose anarchy. Anarchy chooses you.

I guess your sig describes your work enviroment well.

Re:Software Engineer (4, Funny)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 8 years ago | (#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

Re: Software Engineer (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113629)

> 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.

Re:Software Engineer (2, Funny)

Dan East (318230) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113651)

2 bit coding? I thought coding for 8 bit CPUs was pretty old school, but that takes the cake.

Dan East

Re:Software Engineer (4, Funny)

KnightStalker (1929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113668)

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...

Re:Software Engineer (4, Funny)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113743)

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?

You mean every A-Team episode, ever? :)

Re:Software Engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113693)

You have to be an engineer first. And then you need to know how to engineer software.
This is not coding or system administration, though these are very important.

Re:Software Engineer (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113699)

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! :-)

Re:Software Engineer (2, Informative)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113777)

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]

You can work anywhere in India or China (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113482)

"You can work anywhere you want"
So long as it's in India or China.

O rly? (5, Funny)

Valar (167606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113497)

Telecommuting is quickly becoming widespread.

Yeah, telecommuting from India.

WooHoo! (1)

galenoftheshadows (828940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113500)

I'm gonna spend 4 to 8 years on a software engineering degree, and when I'm almost 30, I can have the Best Job in America!!!!!

Waitaminute... I'm a CEO! I already have the Best Job in America! I get to sit on my lazy ass, screw my shareholders, play golf, and then get on national TV at a Supreme Court Hearing and claim I had nothing to do with it! Go me!

Math? (5, Insightful)

etymxris (121288) | more than 8 years ago | (#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? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113585)

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 and enhances logic skills. This we all need.

Hit the nail right on the head (1)

Mr.Surly (253217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113647)

I was going to post a comment just like this. After years of doing software development, the most complex math I've ever needed would be considered basic algebra.

Now, on my own time, I've done some graphics work, with the requisite trig stuff. Even then, this is all High School level math.

Re:Math? (5, Insightful)

woodsrunner (746751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113648)

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? (3, Funny)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113755)

The math skills you need develop your mind to be able to pick up wierd API's

*shrugs* I happen to like Perl.

Oh wait. You didn't mention Perl at all.

OK, sorry :)

Re:Math? (2, Insightful)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113691)

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, so that's a good thing for you.

Re:Math? (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113732)

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....

Re:Math? (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113740)

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.
 

cool -- maybe I won't quit afterall (1)

boxlight (928484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113506)

Cool news that I have the best job in America. Maybe I won't quit and open a computer store afterall. :-)

boxlight

University Professor? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113509)

University Professor isn't on here? Wow. It might not pay as well as software engineering, but you get summers off, and once you have tenure, it's impossible to get fired.

Then again, you have to deal with rapists [duke.edu] on a daily basis, so maybe software engineering, although not as stable, is a better profession.

Re:University Professor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113666)

College Professor (aka University Professor) is number two on the list, FYI.

Re:University Professor? (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113679)

University Professor (aka College Professor) is number 2. It's on the linked page, which you must not have even clicked on.

Re:University Professor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113711)

Did either you or the moderator bother to RTFA? Uni professors are number 2 on the list....

Re:University Professor? (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113714)

Ummmm, college professor is number 2, for many of the reasons you mentioned....

Re:University Professor? (1)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113749)

Well, since a large percentage of the U.S. population has a criminal record it doesn't really matter where you work, there will be ex-cons there to prey on you. Bubba thinks you got a purdy mouth.

Re:University Professor? (1)

stringycheese (949470) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113751)

It's actually #2 - "college professors". If you read the page, you will see they include university level professors.

Re:University Professor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113763)

All the girls in the class room think he's hot
he shows up wearing the sandals with the white socks
he hears them giggling while he's got his back to the class
he thinks he's got an eraser mark on his ass
and all the girls from the hall show up to hear him talk
even though most of the time he's covered in chalk
Math Prof Rock Star!
woo hoo!
Math Prof Rock Star!
oh yeah!
Math Prof Rock Star!
who knew?
When he was young he never thought that he would be a
Math Prof Rock Star
And after hours outside of his office there's a line waiting
full of girls lining up to ask about their quadratic equations
she leans over the desk and twirls a pencil in her hair
complains that the grade he gave her was way unfair
and all the professors they laugh about it and wish him well
but the guys in the class are just jealous as hell
Math Prof Rock Star!
woo hoo!
Math Prof Rock Star!
oh yeah!
Math Prof Rock Star!
who knew?
He was voted most unlikely ever to become a
Math Prof Rock Star.
And at the end of the day he's got to sneak out the back
there's a stairway behind the machine where you get a snack
she finds him there, grabs him and kisses him hard
he doesn't fight it, he knows he's been caught
and she leads him down to the alley way to her car
it's kind of hard being married to a
Math Prof Rock Star!
woo hoo!
Math Prof Rock Star!
oh yeah!
Math Prof Rock Star!
who knew?
three point one four one five nine two six five three five
Math Prof Rock Star.

Assuming you can find such a job in Ohio... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113511)

... then perhaps it is a good job. I will never know as long I live in this lousy state, though.

Then why do well all complain so much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113516)

If its the best job, why do most of us complain about it so much?
When you think about it, it sure beats shoveling dung for a living.
I guess we're all just a bunch of whiners.

What advanced math? (4, Insightful)

defile (1059) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113522)

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.

Re:What advanced math? (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113687)

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 of specific problems, a mathematical aproach will be a lot simpler and optimal (like the typical "how many bricks does it take to build a piramid?"), but most of the times it's enough to recognize that you need math, and understand the basic concepts.

Math skillz (2, Insightful)

mightypenguin (593397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113524)

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 (1)

scolby (838499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113558)

Now we DO have to work with funky algorithms and I guess studying math helps with that somehow...

Yeah, by helping us figure out how much money we're going to make.

Re:Math skillz (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113655)

Now we DO have to work with funky algorithms and I guess studying math helps with that somehow...

Yeah, by helping us figure out how much money we're going to make.

Not enough according to yourself and too much according to the guy that has to pay you ... in other words, whatever the market determines it should be.

Re:Math skillz (1)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113770)

How much you're going to make is pretty easy to calculate. It's how you spin all of that on your taxes so you can keep more of it that requires some fairly advanced number theory and bistromathics.

Re:Math skillz (1)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113631)

I guess it depends on what line of coding you are in. I do scientific coding and it is quite heavy on math and algorithms. Makes it very enjoyable for me. I think I would get board writing business logic rules...but everyone has their own special niche.

Re:Math skillz (4, Insightful)

saddino (183491) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Math skillz (1)

pedalman (958492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113784)

" I'm not even sure Linus Torvalds has ever had to use calculus in Linux."
Does calculus even run on Linux?

They really screwed this one up... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113529)

I don't see Male Porn Star anywhere on the list...

Re:They really screwed this one up... (1)

galenoftheshadows (828940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113574)

Yeah, but the problem there is who wants to see some scrawny nerd guy or fat old bearded nerd guy in a g-string? None of us could make it as male porn star, no girl in her right mind would screw us, especially on tape, unless they're really sick...

Galen - The scrawny nerd guy, who happens to (sadly) rent from Dan - The fat old bearded nerd guy.

I Coulda Told You (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113539)


Software Engineers Ranked Best Job in America

Well, duh!

MjM

Concentration of the pool (2, Interesting)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Houston, we have a problem... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113567)

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...

Best job? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113578)

Better than porn star???

Outsiders Looking In (3, Interesting)

AMindLost (967567) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113594)

Isn't this a case of people outside the industry looking in and seeing only the 'ideal' that a job/career represents without seeing it in its entirety? Any job can provide enjoyment,satisfaction and fulfillment to a particular group of people but if you're not the right kind of person then that job is never going to reach that ideal.

Follow the money... (1)

scottsk (781208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113601)

So why does Money magazine and ... hmmm, salary.com, hey hey there's a clue ... want to promote "software engineer" (a deliciously vague tite) as the best job in America? I don't know about Money magazine, but you can guess where salary.com's income comes from. ("Salary.com profitably sells advertising and licenses online content to hundreds of websites via its syndication network.") If we traced the money trail long enough, it would be fascinating to see where the hard currency comes from in this web. All I know is this flies in the face of all empirical evidence to the contrary, and ... that means it's time to follow the money.

I thought I had the best computer job ever... (-1, Offtopic)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113608)

...but then again, I'm Tubgirl.

THE Best job in America (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113617)

Is getting paid to read Slashdot. Just don't tell my boss.

Of course, there's still a gradient (2, Insightful)

saddino (183491) | more than 8 years ago | (#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. ;-)

My ideal job (2, Funny)

gregarican (694358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113650)

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! (2, Funny)

0tim0 (181143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113717)

So this is as good as it gets?!

--t

don't let anyone on slashdot know that (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113720)

People here revel in self-pity and bashing the so-called threat to their jobs from outsourcing... I wonder what this will do for their state of mind.

No wonder the head honchos don't take your incessant moaning and groaning seriously -- come on, if you get paid so well and your job is listed as the best (or even among the best), then how do you get off crying and moaning about jobs being created in countries like India and China?!

I mean come on, get off your lazy asses and get to work like every other working man and woman in America does.

advanced math skills my hairy ass. (1)

Hohlraum (135212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113745)

'requires some pretty advanced math skills' thats the phrase SE's use to scare normal people into thinking they can't program. less programmers = more demand = better salaries. I'm glad people are scared shitless of computers it just means more money for me. :)

I guess one is right (1)

Badgerman (19207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113760)

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 program as a hobby still). However, it also had its limitations - among them insane hours, and issues of respect, comunication, and job stability. Frankly, in my management role I have LESS stress.

Livelyhoood = Source Code Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113783)

Software engineering, or software development in general, is only lucrative if the developer gets to keep rights to his code (better yet, start your own company and offer programs rather than source code). Else he is just being conned out of his wares in a work-for-hire arrangement. Many of the job ads for developers of various types are obviously looking for means of production rather than just a programmer. It takes many years to get good development capability. Giving it away for just a paycheck is not prudent. It's a good reason to avoid software development and do something like system administration instead. Sys admins don't feel abused like software developers because there aren't any secrets to setting up servers compared to software development which is a highly creative process. Don't fall for the trick. Always maintain rights to your source code when it is such that it can be reused.

Math skills? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113790)

Start: Run: Calc
K: Run: kcalc

That's all the math skills I use on a daily basis.

puter nerd (5, Funny)

stacybro (757940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113793)

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..."
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