This Technology Job Might Be the Best Entry-Level Job in America

For students in high school and college, deciding on a career can quickly become a nerve-wracking process. You might feel passionate about a particular profession—but will that profession love you back, particularly when it comes to compensation and job opportunities?

Ultimately, that decision is up to you. However, some sources try to analyze the best first jobs in America—one of which is WalletHub, which just published its latest breakdown. Software engineers topped WalletHub’s list, followed by electronics engineers, engineers, systems engineers, and industrial engineers.

To create its list, WalletHub analyzed 12 factors, including average starting salary, number of job openings, and employment rate. They also looked at projected job growth by 2030, income growth potential, typicality of working more than 40 hours per week, and even the rate of fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 employees.

Although software engineer didn’t top the list in terms of immediate opportunities (that honor belonged to electronics engineer) or growth potential (attorney nailed that one), it had the highest aggregated score of all those aforementioned factors. Other technologist jobs, including hardware engineer and web app developer, also made the top ten. 

Those considering a software engineering career can take heart in one fact: the compensation is pretty good. According to Emsi Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, the median salary for a software engineer is $98,783 per year. It’s also a job in extensive demand: Over the past 12 months, there have been more than a million open job postings for software engineers, and the average time to fill a position is 43 days. (According to the latest Dice Tech Salary Report, the average technologist salary currently stands at $104,566.)

Of course, not every software engineer starts out at that salary. Boosting your compensation hinges on mastering skills that organizations need. For example, job postings suggest employers are very interested in software engineers who’ve mastered the intricacies of GitHubAmazon Web Services (AWS), the principles of test-driven development (TDD), and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). That’s in addition to interest building around TypeScript, jQuery, and PostgreSQL.

No matter what the current stage of your career, learning in-demand skills can translate into boosted opportunities—just make sure to highlight them on your resume and other application materials