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Software

The best job in America is, oh, software developer

Commentary: US News and World Report releases its list of 100 best jobs. At the top, a job that apparently offers great work-life balance. Really?

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Portrait, girl lighted with colorful code

The secret code for happiness?

/ Getty Images

There is no perfect job.

For joy at work, some merely look for employers who appreciate them, investors who will give them money freely or co-workers who will do most of the work without taking credit. 

Yet US News and World Report is no skeptic. It just released its annual ranking of America's best 100 jobs.

Yes, there are apparently that many.

At the very pinnacle this year is software developer. Which some might find odd, given that the criteria for this ranking include stress level and work-life balance. 

Many of the software developers I know have bags that stretch from beneath their eyes to the sides of their mouths, smoke a little pot to alleviate the strain of unreasonable deadlines and constantly complain about the lack of tuna poke at lunch.

Perhaps, though, such factors are balanced out by others considered here: future job prospects, 10-year growth percentage and, yes, median salary. 

Glassdoor estimates the average base salary of a software developer as $83,197. The US Labor Department, however, believes it's $100,080. And, should you get a job in the San Jose, California, area -- the heart of Silicon Valley -- the average salary increases to $133,010.

One touching kink, though, is that California isn't the highest-paying state for these valuable creatures. 

That would be Washington -- home of Amazon and Microsoft -- where software developers earn an average of almost $9,000 a year more than in California.

Some might be moved that, of the top 10 best jobs, eight of these jobs are in the health sector. 

Indeed, last year dentist was the winner, with nurse practitioner second and physician assistant third.

The top 10 this year consisted of eight health industry jobs, together with statistician at No. 4 and computer systems analyst at No. 8. 

Keeping people alive seems to be lucrative, secure and not so bad on the nervous system.

But perhaps you're keen on engineering, don't want to be a software developer and still somehow want to be happy.

US News has a separate list just for the best engineering jobs. Two predictable suspects -- mechanical engineer and civil engineer take the top 2 spots.

But at No. 3 is cartographer. 

It's good to know that society still needs a lot of help with where it's going. 

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