Best Jobs in America

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

8. IT Configuration Manager
IT Configuration Manager
8
"When the customer says, 'It's a great product, thank you,' that's a very good feeling," says Nelli Bodrenko, a configuration manager with SAIC in McLean, Va.
Median pay: $95,800
Top pay: $126,000
10-year job growth: 28.5%
Total jobs*: 588,500

What they do all day? If a company's software (and hardware and architecture) have a caretaker, it's the configuration manager, who keeps track of changes and controls development from the first stages of code to the final product. The CM handles the pre-authorization and approval of all changes to documentation, code, and everything else.

How to get the job? A bachelor's in computer science, information science, or computer engineering can get you there, but you might also be able to land a job with a math or science degree and a few programming courses if your computer skills are sharp. You can also get certification from an organization such as the Institute of Configuration Management. Employers look for analytical problem solvers who know software.

What's great? What's not? It's a helping role, which can be professionally fulfilling, and there are plentiful opportunities to learn because the CM supports every other function on a team or project. But having to make a lot of small administrative updates can be tedious, and sometimes team members are resistant to running a change through the CM's process. --K.A.

What they do all day? If a company's software (and hardware and architecture) have a caretaker, it's the configuration manager, who keeps track of changes and controls development from the first stages of code to the final product. The CM handles the pre-authorization and approval of all changes to documentation, code, and everything else. --K.A.

Quality of life ratings:
  • Personal satisfaction: C
  • Benefit to society: A
  • Flexibility: A
  • Low stress: B
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*Total jobs is estimated number of people working in broader BLS 'job family.'

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

Do IT Configuration Managers 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.
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