Ten Low-Stress IT Jobs. Really?

Most of us consider IT to be synonymous with stress, so it’s noteworthy when TechRepublic assembles a list of what it calls ten low-stress jobs for IT pros. This most likely depends on your definition of “low-stress” of course. Do you believe the following job titles are like a Sunday in the park?

1. Computer sales
“Sales folks don’t take their work home or have to deal with deadlines, and that alone makes a huge difference in the stress levels.” True, but you know what can really stress you out: customers.

2. Desktop support technician
“While someone’s personal work (or a project) may get delayed until you fix the issue, systems administrators and network engineers have to fix problems that often affect entire departments, buildings full of people, or even the entire company.” Yes, but most of us would agree that desktop support people are among the most stressed in the office, especially when the boss can’t get his BlackBerry to sync with his desktop calendar.

3. Backups administrator
“The beauty of this job is that while needing to restore from backup is a super-critical task, it is a rare issue. The majority of your day is spent doing routine tasks that are not under the gun on deadlines.” So replace stress with boredom?

4. Configuration (or presales) engineer
“This is a customer-facing job. But your customers tend to be knowledgeable, which takes a lot of the stress away.” Good point.

5. Computer lab support
“All I had to do was answer basic questions (like how to save a file), keep the printers full of paper and toner and jam-free, clean one or two computers per shift, and file a ticket if a computer broke. I wasn’t there to troubleshoot. I’d just reboot the computer if it gave the user grief. The only stress from this job was the low paycheck.” Right. Not exactly a growth path.

6. Application architect
“All development jobs are stressful in their own way, but architects’ code usually doesn’t deal with the troubles caused by actual users since the architects mostly write libraries that other developers use and guide the overall development of the application.” It’s true that if you can separate yourself from big deadlines your life will be less stressful.

7. Build engineer
“Like the architect, this job seems to butt up against timelines the least and requires minimal contact with people outside IT. While it is a difficult job that requires knowledge of a large number of technologies, it is the kind of position where you are left in relative peace and quiet to do your work.” True again.

8. Installation technicians
“The beauty of this job is that while you are on a timeline and have a schedule, any major problems found at the client’s site are justifiable grounds for delaying the installation and are generally understood by the customer.” True, but it does take a special kind of person to assemble complex systems.

9. Trainer
“They come in, present their materials, and leave before the real carnage occurs.” Yes, but the boredom question arises again.

10. IT industry analyst
“They never have to actually implement anything. Even better, their mistakes do not result in dead servers, security breaches, or buggy applications. And by the time it is possible to find out whether their predictions were right, no one remembers them.” Those who can, do. Those who can’t write about those who do!