Tech jobs with the highest stress levels

Stress is part of most workplaces, including those employing IT and engineering professionals.

IT professionals often have to cope with stressful situations and high-stress jobs – while the stress levels are further influenced by the general working environment.

According to CareerCast, the amount of stress a worker experiences can be predicted by looking at the demands and crises inherent in their job.

CareerCast has developed a stress-ranking system which considers 11 different job demands which can evoke stress.

These demands include: travel, growth potential, deadlines, working in the public eye, competitiveness, physical demands, environmental conditions, own life at risk, hazards encountered, meeting the public, and life of another at risk.

Each demand is assigned a range of points. A high score is awarded if a particular demand is a major part of the job, while fewer points are awarded if the demand is a small part of the job.

According to the ranking system, the most stressful job is a firefighter, followed by enlisted military personnel, a military general, an airline pilot, and a police officer.

The least stressful jobs are a hair stylist, an audiologist, a tenured university professor, a medical records technician, and a jeweller.

CareerCast’s 2015 job report recently ranked technology and engineering positions according to stress levels, as detailed below.

Stress level of IT and engineering jobs
Stress level of IT and engineering jobs

Stress tolerance

Another measure of stress in the workplace is stress tolerance, where the job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

O*NET OnLine, which developed an application for the U.S. Department of Labor to provide occupational information, published a stress-tolerance list – ordered by occupation.

According to the list, urologists must have the highest stress tolerance level, followed by police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers; and anesthesiologist assistants.

The occupations which need the least stress tolerance include ship skipper; probation officers; and agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes.

The table below details the required stress tolerance levels in IT and engineering occupations.

Occupation Stress Tolerance (/100)
Telephone Operators 98
Chief Executives 94
Information Security Analysts 88
Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic 87
Technical Directors/Managers 87
Telemarketers 87
Computer and Information Research Scientists 83
Graphic Designers 82
Computer Network Support Specialists 81
Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers 81
Audio and Video Equipment Technicians 79
Computer User Support Specialists 79
Mechanical Engineering Technologists 79
Video Game Designers 79
Database Administrators 78
Electrical Engineering Technologists 78
Electrical Engineers 78
Information Technology Project Managers 78
Telecommunications Engineering Specialists 78
Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers 78
Computer Systems Analysts 77
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 76
Robotics Technicians 76
Software Developers, Systems Software 75
Web Developers 75
Computer Programmers 74
Computer Network Architects 73
Robotics Engineers 73
Computer Systems Engineers/Architects 72
Database Architects 69
Web Administrators 69
Computer Science Teachers, Post-secondary 68
Computer Hardware Engineers 67
Computer, Automated Teller, and Office Machine Repairers 66
Software Developers, Applications 65
Computer and Information Systems Managers 64

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Tech jobs with the highest stress levels