Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's Great to Work in Tech

DilbertI wonder how much of a stigma still exist for people who work in tech? At times in the past, and probably still today, it was considered an occupation that only geeks and nerds would have. Images of scrawny cubicle dwellers in glasses spending hours in front of their computer are synonymous with IT workers. (And now that I think of it, it pretty much does describe a lot of my coworkers)

But is there a better job that is available to the masses than working as a computer engineer? Think about it for a second. In all the companies I have worked for the following is true

  • Computer Engineers are well paid

  • Computer Engineers have extremely flexible hours. They can come in late and leave early if they wish, so long as they finish their work

  • Computer Engineers can easily get away with doing very little if they choose (see picture)

  • Computer Engineers have physically undemanding jobs

  • Computer Engineers are allowed, and usually encouraged, to take breaks during working hours (Foosball and Video games are the norm at my work)

  • Computer Engineers are in demand and thus jobs tend to be pretty plentiful

Its hard to think of a job that can be as easy (if one chooses) and pays as well as those available in the tech industry. Now while I greatly respect the job, I don't feel many other people do. I know when I was single and trying out the dating services I purposefully avoided saying I was a Software Development Manager. It paid off. Talking to my girlfriend afterwards, she told me she was already concerned that I went to Princeton, and that if I had stated what I did, her first impression would have been that I was too nerdy.

Now you would think that women would love to date a computer engineer and that it wouldn't be a turn off. After all, it is a well paying, secure job, that still would leave time for her or their family. But I guess its just hard to overcome the image of Dilbert and Wally.

What do you think. What are some of the best jobs that an average American can have?


  1. I'm afraid it's true. When I think of a computer engineer, the image of an unkempt, casual guy with glasses and poor fashion sense comes to mind. Beyond looks, I would assume what a computer engineer likes would differ from what I like (hobbies ans interests).

    As for the best job... I can't say this is THE best, but it's up there: CPA. If you have a good book of business, as a CPA, you could choose to only work 3 to 4 months a year, doing taxes. Now, yes the job might not be exciting enough for some people, but here are the pros:
    1) everyone needs to file taxes, so there's always a demand;
    2) few people understand or want to understand all the tax parameters and laws;
    3) most people who need a CPA have complex filings, so your fees can be very profitable (compared to Turbo Tax softwares which run about $50 or HR Block about $100).
    4) once you've established trust with your clientele, you'll likely keep them as a client for life. It's hard to find someone to trust when it comes to money (job security)

  2. CPA doesn't sound bad at all. My vote: personal trainer (maybe not the best, but still pretty cool). If you have good clients, you could be set for life. If you set up your hours, you could just train 4 to 5 days a week, maybe 2 clients max for a total of 5 hours a day. No long extensive hours. If your client has special needs like bootcamp wedding training (wedding dress skinny), you can charge extra.

  3. So if you didn't put Software Development Manager, what did you put down?

  4. Don't about the best job, but I can tell you what is a horrible job: DUI attorney. I was listening to the radio this weekend and heard a couple of ads for DUI attorney. I thought... that job would suck. As a DUI attorney, I can't imagine your client is always falsely booked. Often times, you're probably stuck listening to some lame story about why your client drank too much or the roads weren't well lit (like in Michael Clayton).

  5. Oh I just thought of a great job: interior designer. My friend is a successful interior designer. Of course, he has an enviable book of business which he has built over years of long hours and hard work. His fees are high (hourly charge); however his work is fantastic. He determines his own hours and can take off for a 2 month vacation if he arranged for it. Not to mention, he gets to be creative everyday and no project is ever the same. I myself am not as artistic, so I guess I could venture into personal training. That job sounds pretty doable.

  6. I put something vague like "Technology". You can ask my girlfriend next time you see her :)

  7. I agree. I would never want to be a DUI attorney. I could be a lot of things, but I think the guilt of trying to get off people who are likely guilty would eventually get to me.

  8. Check out how much a computer engineer can make on today's msn article: