Best Jobs in America

CNNMoney/PayScale's top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.

3. Software Architect
Software Architect
3
"My favorite part is having the ability to work with so many different groups on a regular basis," says Tom Thomas, a software architect at Costco Wholesale in Seattle. "Each day I have the opportunity to make [a] customer's life that much easier."
Median pay: $121,000
Top pay: $161,000
10-year job growth: 27.6%
Total jobs*: 520,800

What they do all day? Software architects play a pivotal role as bridge-builders between technical teams and management. More than just great software engineers, they understand how to solve business problems with technology and are responsible for designing a system that fulfills those needs.

How to get the job? Good architects are big-picture thinkers who understand how an organization's software system works as a whole, so it helps to be familiar with help desk, data center or other IT operations beyond software development.

What's great? What's not? Architects make vital decisions that drive a business technologically, so it's a high-pressure job. On the plus side, since software is an integral part of nearly every industry these days, architects who stay sharp technically have the opportunity to work in practically any sector in the world. --G.W.

What they do all day? Software architects play a pivotal role as bridge-builders between technical teams and management. More than just great software engineers, they understand how to solve business problems with technology and are responsible for designing a system that fulfills those needs. --G.W.

Quality of life ratings:
  • Personal satisfaction: B
  • Benefit to society: B
  • Flexibility: A
  • Low stress: B
Subscribe to Money Magazine

*Total jobs is estimated number of people working in broader BLS 'job family.'

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and CNNMoney research

Do Software Architects have great jobs, or what? Are these great jobs, or what?
It's still a tough job market, so when CNNMoney, in partnership with data from PayScale.com, set out to find America's Best Jobs this year, first and foremost we looked for professions that offer great growth opportunities.

Other big factors: pay (how strong it is now, and how fast it's growing), overall job satisfaction, and how many jobs are in the field overall.
More

Comments? E-mail the editors

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.