Best Engineering and High-Tech Jobs for 2013

A recent study by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., as well as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show significant job growth in engineering and high-tech.

CareerBuilder and EMSI ranked the top 18 jobs for 2013, placing software developer top of the list, with a seven percent job increase (that’s 70,872 additional jobs added) since 2010.

Presumably, this job growth has come about because businesses want to capitalize on mobile technologies and social media, says Matt Ferguson, chief executive of CareerBuilder. Companies want to extract, parse and apply Big Data to bring better solutions to their clients and their own business.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for a software developer is $90,530 a year, and the BLS expects a 30 percent increase in the number of software developers by 2020.

Also making CareerBuilder’s list – computer systems analysts and network and computer systems administrators, both with a five percent job growth since 2010. And mechanical and industrial engineers made the top 18 too, having added 13,847 and 12,269 jobs respectively since 2010 – a six percent job growth for both fields.

Jobs site also took a look at the 2013 prospects for engineers from multiple view points, asking recruiters, employers and college advisors for their perspectives.

According to Monster, recruiters see 2013 as a relatively slow year for most engineering fields with some churn and replacement, but not a great deal of growth.

Some professionals however remain in relatively high demand recruiters say, like electrical engineers and physics majors with postgraduate engineering degrees. Civil engineers, chemical engineers and aerospace engineers are having a harder time, say recruiters, because these fields have suffered substantial layoffs over the past few years and as a result there’s a large pool of workers actively looking to snap up jobs in these areas.

There’s some debate amongst recruiters as to the health of mechanical and manufacturing engineering – while Monster puts these jobs on the decline, defense and energy recruiter Stark ranks mechanical engineers and manufacturing focused engineers in high demand, along with electrical, IT, quality improvement an software engineers.

In general, there’s speculation that environmental engineering could grow in 2013 and beyond as we attempt to address climate change, especially in the wake of Tropical Storm Sandy. And in a somewhat ironic twist, demand for petroleum engineers could increase as the energy sector continues to expand.

Engineering firms in 2013 will be looking to hire engineers who think like businesspeople, according to Monster. Employers want engineers who have been involved with strategy and planning and know their way around balance sheets and income statements. This jives with other research suggesting that engineers with good business knowledge and skills often do better in their chosen fields.

Looking at colleges, engineering degrees in mechanical, electrical and computer engineering continued to be popular in 2012. At the Milwaukee School of Engineering, 95 percent of the school’s 2011 engineering graduates were placed in career positions by the end of that recruitment season, with 2012 an 2013 expected to be the same.

But while our next generation of engineers may be sticking to tried and true engineering fields, its attitude toward the profession might be changing.

Monster looked at how the perspectives and expectations of young engineers differ from their predecessors, finding that the next generation may be less motivated by salary and stability and more prone to use skills in new and interesting ways like volunteering with Engineers Without Borders and helping with developing world projects.

What do you think the trends in engineering and high-tech jobs will be for this coming year?

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