In The Register article Software engineer rated best job of 2010 (almost), Gavin Clarke highlights the job of "Software Engineering" ranking #2 in The Wall Street Journal's Best and Worst Jobs 2010 (Actuary was #1) based on a CareerCast.com study.
There are numerous other software development-related jobs listed in CareerCast's Best and Worse Jobs 2010. Besides the #2 listing for Software Engineer, other examples are Computer System Analyst at #3, Web Developer at #15, and Computer Programmer at #34. The worst of the 200 is that of the roustabout.
One of the observations one cannot help but make when looking at these lists is the attempted delineation of various similar-sounding professions. There are already numerous blog posts and forum threads examining what makes a software engineer different than a computer programmer and so forth, so I won't go into that here.
The CareerCast.com page The 10 Best Jobs of 2010 provides a brief description of the job duties of a "software engineer" and points out that what particularly sets this occupation apart is its "hiring outlook":
With low unemployment compared to the national average and projected job growth of nearly 45% through 2016, Software Engineer currently has the best hiring outlook of any available job in 2010.
After a difficult worldwide economy has had a tremendous negative impact in the world of software development, it is encouraging to see positions in this field ranking so high in these studies.
The Systems Engineers may have had the #1 position in 2009, but that was so 2009. We Software Engineers have the highest ranking of related fields in 2010. Take that, Systems Engineers.
I now go to ensure that my resume refers to my current position as "Software Engineer."