Money magazine and Payscale.com presented their list of the 100 best jobs in America last week, and IT jobs were well represented on the ranking.
Of the 100 jobs that made Money magazine's and Payscale.com's list, more than one-fourth (26) were in IT. In fact, the No. 1 job on the list was software architect. Six other IT jobs—including database administrator, information systems security engineer, software engineering/development director, IT manager, and business analyst—ranked among the top 30 best jobs in America. (Here's the full list of IT job that made Money/Payscale.com's ranking.)
The only field that beat IT for the number of jobs ranked best was health care. Health care jobs took up 27 slots on the list.
Money and Payscale.com define the best jobs as those that offer high pay, solid growth opportunities, lots of job satisfaction and good quality of life (that is, they're flexible, relatively low stress and secure).
I was pleasantly surprised to see so many IT jobs on this list. However, the pessimist in me isn't sure how accurately the ranking represents an IT career. For one, job satisfaction is so subjective. For every IT professional who loves his or her job, I'm sure you can find an equal number who find it absolutely thankless. And the last time I checked, IT jobs, which often require 60-hour work weeks, weren't so flexible or low-stress.
What's more, I know many IT professionals who'd laugh at the idea that an IT career offers job security and growth potential. Tell that to the thousands of IT professionals who've been laid off from HP and EDS over the past two years and to the data center workers whose jobs are likely to be eliminated by cloud computing.
IT salaries, while still pretty generous compared to other fields (such as education and social work, for example), have faced increasing downward pressure over the last decade as companies turned to low-cost centers of labor offshore. (For a look at how globalization has impacted tech wages in U.S, check out the low rates many freelance application developers offer on sites like Elance and oDesk.)
Notably, data from the Money/Payscale.com ranking of America's best jobs seems to corroborate IT workers' anxiety about their compensation, job growth, job security and job satisfaction:
- Only three IT jobs appear on the list of the top 20 highest paid jobs by median pay.
- Only three IT jobs appear on the list of the top 20 jobs for growth potential.
- The two IT jobs that appear on the list of the 10 least stressful jobs are web developer and technical writer.
- The two IT jobs that ranked on the list of the top 10 jobs for job security were information technology training specialist and information systems security engineer.
No IT jobs appeared on the list for job satisfaction.
What do you think of Money/Payscale.com's ranking of the best jobs in America? Do you think IT jobs deserve to be ranked so highly and so well-represented on the list, or do you think the ranking is out of touch with the reality of IT careers today?