Looks like this might be a good time to be a software engineer.
In January, the career guidance site CareerCast.com rated Software Engineer as the best job for 2011. The website evaluates 200 professions covering a variety of industries, skill levels and salary ranges, and bases its rankings on five criteria: work environment, physical demands, outlook, income, and stress. According to the survey, software engineers have one of the least stressful jobs.
Our thirst for social media, cell phone apps and iPads is leading to more jobs for computer specialists of all stripes. Programmers, app developers, website and product designers, and cloud specialists all seem to be in demand at tech companies. From CareerCast.com:
"…the strong performance of Software Engineer this year can be attributed to two emerging industries: web applications and cloud computing. A proliferation of companies making applications for smartphones and tablets, along with the push to develop "cloud" software hosted entirely online, has made the job market for Software Engineers broader and more diverse. And a diverse job market brings improvements in stress factors such as Growth Potential and Competitiveness, as workers become less beholden to employers or vulnerable to outsourcing."
Early this year, Software Engineer was the job title with the largest number of openings at NetApp, Cisco and Intel (350, 407 and 250 respectively), companies that are on Fortune Magazine’s 2011 list of best workplaces.
Internet and social media icons Google,Facebook,Twitter, and Zynga are leading a hiring frenzy in Silicon Valley. These and other technology companies are vying for talented software engineers and developers, luring potential employees with unusual perks.
Google has announced that it plans to hire more employees this year than it did in 2007, when it added over 6100 workers. Facebook, which has roughly 2000 employees (a tenth of whom are said to have been at Google previously), is moving this summer from Palo Alto, CA to a new site in Menlo Park with a capacity for 3600 workers. "As the company grows, we’re aggressively hiring the best talent we can in the quickest manner possible," says Facebook representative Slater Tow.
Social gaming company Zynga expects to double its 1500-strong workforce over the next year, while Twitter plans to grow from over 400 employees right now to 3000 by 2013.
Google's hiring spree for IT talent isn’t just limited to the US. Google and Microsoft are posting hundreds of jobs in Europe, Australia, India, and Japan.
These tech bigwigs aren't just competing for talent with each other. They also face competition from smaller web-based startups that are proliferating because of the recession.
Finally, a promising note from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Computer software engineers are among the occupations projected to grow the fastest and add the most new jobs over the 2008-18 decade, resulting in excellent job prospects."
PHOTO: Canadian Veggie, Flickr
Prachi Patel is a freelance journalist based in Pittsburgh. She writes about energy, biotechnology, materials science, nanotechnology, and computing.