'Nerdy' Jobs Pay More, Offer More Job Security, Report Finds

nerdy jobs pay

Jobs in engineering and computer technology have long had the stigma of being "nerdy" professions -- boring, and not particularly high-paying either.

But that was before Facebook's first programmer, Dustin Moskovitz, became a billionaire, and Facebook and other tech companies began paying their interns almost $7,000 a month. Now geek jobs are considered "cool" -- in large part because there are plenty of openings -- plenty of well-paying openings.

In fact, CareerCast.com's latest Jobs Rated report showed that software engineers have the nation's overall best job. Not only is the pay great, but demand for their skills is through the roof -- which translates to job security -- and working conditions have never been better, the report says.

More: 9 Great Health-Care Jobs That Don't Require A Medical Degree

High-tech's rising cool quotient may be one reason that enrollment in graduate science and engineering programs at the nation's universities grew substantially in the past decade, from 493,000 students in 2000 to about 632,700 students in 2010, according to a new report by the National Science Foundation.

Yet, the growing supply of new graduates can't keep up with demand. The U.S. will face a shortage of 224,000 high-tech workers by 2018, according to a study by the Partnership for a New American Economy (via WallStreet&Technology), which promotes immigration reform.

CareerCast notes that even electrical engineers are in short supply, mainly due to the rising growth in the alternative-energy sector, and the need to design more reliable, more high-tech grids to deliver electricity.

More: 9 Most Secure Jobs In America

The San Francisco Examiner reports that the overall unemployment rate in nearby Silicon Valley hovers around 10 percent, but the rate among electrical engineers is around just 1 percent.

Further, a recent report by the University of Southern California shows minority college students who pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math -- known as STEM fields -- earn at least 25 percent more than their peers who study humanities or education.

Though minority groups continue to be underrepresented in STEM jobs, the study's researchers believe that many will become interested as they learn how much more money can be earned in those fields, according to the report, published in the journal, Research in Higher Education.

As an example, the study notes that Latinos with a STEM degree earn on average about $57,000 a year, or more than a third more than the average $42,000 earned by college-educated Latinos overall.

Check out CareerCast's list of the 12 Best Engineering and Information Technology Jobs:

12. Industrial Designer
  • Average annual pay: $76,000.

Looking for a job as an industrial designer? Click here to get started.


11. Electrical Engineer
  • Average annual pay: $87,000.

Looking for a job as an electrical engineer? Click here to get started.


10. Mechanical Engineer
  • Average annual pay: $78,000.

Looking for a job as an mechanical engineer? Click here to get started.


9. Aerospace Engineer
  • Average annual pay: $97,000.

Looking for a job as an aerospace engineer? Click here to get started.


8. Nuclear Engineer
  • Average annual pay: $99,000.

Looking for a job as an nuclear engineer? Click here to get started.


7. Technical Writer
  • Average annual pay: $63,000.

Looking for a job as an technical engineer? Click here to get started.


6. Computer Programmer
  • Average annual pay: $71,000.

Looking for a job as a computer programmer? Click here to get started.


5. Civil Engineer
  • Average annual pay: $77,000.

Looking for a job as a petroleum engineer? Click here to get started.


4. Petroleum Engineer.
  • Average annual pay: $114,000.

Looking for a job as a computer programmer? Click here to get started.


3. Web Developer
  • Average annual pay: $75,000.

Looking for a job as a web developer? Click here to get started.


2. Computer Systems Analyst
  • Average annual pay: $78,000.

Looking for a job as a computer systems analyst? Click here to get started.


1. Software engineer
  • Average annual pay: $90,000.

Looking for a job as a software engineer? Click here to get started.






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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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WillyS

Hellp, my name is Troy McCLure, you may remember me from videos such as "Dress one step above" and "Arriving Early and Dressing Professionally"...

September 23 2012 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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