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Software engineer rated best job of 2010 (almost)

Those damn actuaries!

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When it comes to stress levels, salary and sheer physical demands on your body, it doesn't get much better than being a software engineer. Well, almost.

To really land on your feet - or, as it might be, on your buttocks in some plush swivel chair and a comfy office somewhere - you need to be an actuary.

Yes, actuaries have beaten software engineers - just - to scoop the title of best job to have in 2010, according to a survey by site Careetcast.com. Coming just behind software engineers were computer systems analysts. Web developers ranked number 15.

The survey, called Jobs Rater, rated 200 jobs across a number of categories, including work environment giving them each a score, to find out what makes the best and worst jobs.

Software engineers and systems analysts beat biologists, historians, and dental hygienists in the top-ten.

Careercast.com wrote that while software engineer finished number five for work environment and inside the top 30 for stress, income, and physical demands what truly helped the position of software engineer stand was the outlook on hiring.

"With low unemployment compared to the national average and projected job growth of nearly 45 per cent through 2016, software engineer currently has the best hiring outlook of any available job in 2010," Careercast.com said.

Actuary just beat software engineer because it had a higher overall score in all categories evaluated, ranking well for its low physical demands and stress levels.

The jobs site noted people don't like taking risks and want a progressive working environment and career prospects. "While we may admire the exceptional - famous stars, successful billionaires and life-saving heroes, for example - top careers in the Jobs Rated report typically don't stand out as the most glamorous, highest paying or most noble.

"Instead, they are the jobs that offer the greatest chance of enjoying a combination of good health, low stress, a pleasant workplace, solid income and strong growth potential."

Among the stress factors measured and scored were quotas, deadlines, the amount of lifting required, machines or tools used, risk to your life, and meeting with the public. While software engineers might have room to complain about the first two, let's be realistic: There's not much risk or effort associated with lifting a mouse or much danger of physically running in to many members of the general public during an average day, except when you pop out for lunch.

Physical environment factors measured included the amount of crawling, stooping, or bending required in a job, exposure to toxic fumes, and level of stamina needed.

For the record, roustabout was rated the worst job. Ironically, it's probably actuaries that determine how risky jobs like roustabout is before software engineers build the kinds software that's used in systems by insurance companies when it comes to providing them coverage.

You can see a full list of best and worst 200 jobs here and read about the JobsRated index here. ®

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