What are the 10 Best Jobs in IT and Engineering?

Careers
Posted By Terri Williams on October 25, 2016 at 4:00 pm
What are the 10 Best Jobs in IT and Engineering?

When selecting a field of study, choosing to focus on information technology or engineering seems like a no-brainer. But not all information technology and engineering jobs are created equally. Some are growing rapidly, while others have leveled off or seem in decline.

For example, web developers only need an associate degree and the jobs are projected to grow by a whopping 27 percent through 2024. But demand for computer programmers is sharply declining. In engineering, demand for civil engineers is projected to grow by 8 percent, electrical engineers have a flat growth rate, and aerospace engineering will experience a negative growth rate.

While no one has a crystal ball to say which jobs will fare better than others, CareerCast has created a list of the 10 best jobs in IT and engineering based on median annual wage and growth rates.

Rank Profession Median Annual Wage Growth Rate through 2024
1 Data Scientist $128,240 16%
2 Information Security Analyst $90,120 18%
3 Software Engineer $100,690 17%
4 Computer Systems Analyst $85,800 21%
5 Network & Computer Systems Admin $77,810 8%
6 Petroleum Engineer $129,990 10%
7 Web Developer $64,970 27%
8 Environmental Engineer $84,560 12%
9 Civil Engineer $82,220 8%
10 Mechanical Engineer $83,590 5%

 

John Reed, senior executive director for Robert Half Technology, says that while the technology industry in general is thriving, there are also “hot areas” in the sector. “Big data, security and development talent are in demand, and some roles are even seeing salary increases up to more than 5 percent – but this isn’t necessarily consistent across the board,” he says. “Right now, the big data, cloud and digital initiatives which are driving businesses are also boosting hiring.”

Information technology

Right now, IT really is the “it” industry, and demand is so high for some professions that Dino Grigorakakis of Randstad says  IT grads should consider job-hopping. Data scientist is the highest-paying IT job on CareerCast’s list and has a growth rate that is more than double the 7 percent national average for all U.S. jobs.

Jason Moss is co-founder and president of Metis, which provides data science boot camps and courses. He tells GoodCall that demand for data scientists is growing in new and established markets, both large and small. “Metis just expanded to both Chicago and Seattle in response to the high demand for data science skills in both cities,” Moss says. “Data scientist is no longer just a New York City or Silicon Valley job – although demand in those cities remains extremely high as well.”

The shortage of individuals who can mine data to create a competitive edge for their organizations has created a favorable hiring climate. “Data scientists have hit the sweet spot with high salaries and flexible working arrangements. Because the positions are tech-oriented, they lend themselves to remote work and unconventional hours,” Moss says.

In fact, employers are prepared to offer various perks to lure data scientists to their organization. “For example,” Debbie Berebichez, chief data scientist at Metis, tells GoodCall, “Metis allows its data scientists to devote one quarter of their time each year to work on ‘passion projects,’ which are self-directed research efforts that dive into topics the individual employee has a genuine interest in.”

Joe Devine, partner at Bridge Technical Talent, says the job market depends on technology trends. “As new technologies emerge, companies require more people (with new skill sets) to implement the new tech. In the 1990s, demand was off the charts for network engineers as everyone was racing to build out their network,” he says.

“Today we’re seeing high demand in application development, big data, and cybersecurity; these fields have broad appeal across many industries and demand is likely to remain high for years to come,” Devine says.

In addition to security analyst, systems analyst, administrator, and software engineer, web developer is also a good job because it only requires an associate degree and has the highest growth rate on CareerCast’s list.

Engineering

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for engineers in general is projected to increase by 4 percent, less than the national average for all U.S. occupations. But the job outlook varies greatly depending on the specific field.

Petroleum engineer is the top-rated engineering job on CareerCast’s list, with a 10 percent job growth outlook. Besides having a salary that is $45,000 more than the second highest-paying engineering job on the list, this job also has the second highest job growth rate. (Software engineer at No. 3 is actually an information technology job.) Many petroleum engineers are projected to retire in the next few years, creating more demand for those who can develop ways to extract oil and gas.

CareerCast named environmental engineer one of the most underrated jobs of 2016; the field has the highest growth rate of the engineering jobs on the list. As more focus moves to air and water pollution control and recycling, environmental engineering jobs are expected to increase.

Civil engineers will see consistent growth in their field with public and private construction projects ranging from buildings and roads to bridges and dams.

As one of the broadest branches of engineering, mechanical engineers can find employment in a variety of industries, including machinery manufacturing, computer and electronic products, research, and engineering services.

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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