The 10 Happiest Jobs Of 2016

Posted August 11, 2016, by Vivien Luu

The results are in, and no, panda huggers and doughnut taste testers aren’t on the list!

In fact, the usual suspects from previous years like school principals and florists didn’t even make the top 10.

Every year, CareerBliss reviews thousands of employee responses, and based upon factors such as workplace culture, management, environment, and rewards – determines the world’s happiest (and unhappiest) jobs of the year.

And seriously, this year’s results blew my mind.

The tech industry is absolutely slaying it in the happiness department.

CareerBliss CEO Heidi Colledge told Forbes that it comes down to the fact that techies are highly sought after.

‘Technology jobs are in demand and often technology companies provide unique office environments, company perks and generous compensation for employees.’

So it seems that the Googles, Facebooks and Ubers of the world are leading the charge. I mean, who wouldn’t smile at the idea of having personal chefs, nap pods, and being able to bring your puppy to work, on top of a competitive salary and equity in the company?

The tech start-up revolution has fuelled an enormous shift in the job market, putting employees with tech know-how and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills at the top of the food chain — and winning at the happiness equation.


The Happiness Equation
(In-demand skillset + Being kickass) = Top companies chasing you
~ {Amazing work/life balance + Job security + Company perks + Fat paycheque}
= Happier you


And oh man, does being happier at work make all the difference.

Science tells us that happier employees are more productive, healthier and report higher levels of job satisfaction.

Who doesn’t want more of that in their lives?

So which jobs are the happiest of 2016? Let’s take a look and see where the sunshine, lollipops and rainbows are at.

1. Recruiter

Recruiters topped the list of happiest jobs in 2016, according to CareerBliss

Recruiters take the number one spot for happiest job of 2016.

Who would’ve thought, right?

Thanks to a strong demand for engineers and working professionals, Golledge says ‘recruiters work in a competitive yet highly rewarding environment that has solid compensation and rewards.’

To top it all off and really send their happiness levels into overdrive, recruiters also get an immense sense of satisfaction from helping their clients find jobs, and even earn bonuses when they get it right!

To be a great recruiter you must:

2. Full Stack Developer

Full Stack Developers are in hot demand at the moment

In the tech world, Full Stack Developers are currently the belles of the ball.


Front-end code, back-end databases and server systems: full stack developers have got this. They’re comfortable with server-side programming languages as well as HTML, CSS, Javascript and everything in between.

If you throw together Neo’s lightning-fast learning speed, MacGyver's ingenuity, and James Bond’s multilingual awesomeness – you’d get a Full Stack Developer.

It’s not easy going full stack, but if you’re up for the challenge you’ll need to:

  • Build your basic stack skills by learning HTML, CSS, Javascript along with:
    – One general-purpose programming language
    – One relationship database system
    – One web server
    – One deployment operating system
    – One version-control system
  • Code, code and code some more. Learn by knocking up prototypes and actually getting your hands dirty.
  • Keep on top of industry trends. As the next game-changers sweep through the industry (think 3D printing, the Internet of Things, Oculus Rift and Artificial Intelligence), you’ll need to master new languages and new systems. 

3. Research Assistant

Research Assistants came in as the third happiest occupation in CareerBliss’s 2016 list

Research Assistants are generally hired by universities or research institutes to help with the enormous legwork and mountains of paperwork involved in carrying out a scientific study or research project.

Studies can vary widely from scientific lab work and medical innovations to behavioural economics and statistical modelling, which translates into a wide variety of work for Research Assistants.

Irrespective of what field or industry you specialise in, a Research Assistant needs to:

  • Be super organised
  • Be data-driven and capable of manipulating data (think Excel ninja)
  • Be a critical thinker, and be able to conduct literature reviews, and collect and analyse data according to the lead researcher’s specifications.

4. Senior Java Developer

Java Developers are being hotly pursued by tech companies at the moment

Java Developers are another breed of coders that are being aggressively courted at the moment.

Why, you ask?

Because Java is the basis for so many open-source projects, and tech companies are snapping up Java developers left, right and centre.

So you can only imagine how much companies fawn over senior developers who’ve been around the block a few times, and have true mastery of this lean, mean coding language.

As James Traver, who teaches web development at General Assembly, explains, “[With Java] you end up writing less code, but your code is more elegant and precise.”

So, how do you become a Java Developer? The answer’s pretty simple: get out there and learn the code

5. Android Developer

Android Developers are sitting pretty thanks to the monopoly Android have on the smartphone market

Did you know that Android holds an enormous 80 per cent of the market share when it comes to smartphones sold worldwide?


It’s no wonder then that Android Developers are in such hot demand right now, and cashing in their happiness chips as a result.

To get started as an Android Developer, you’ll need to:

  • Become familiar with coding in Java
  • Master the basics of XML (a markup language)
  • Work your way through Android’s Software Development Kit (SDK)
  • Move onto Android Studio – the integrated development environment (IDE) choice for Android developers 

6. Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

CTOs lead a company on the technology front

The jury’s still out when it comes to a definitive job description for CTOs, and that’s because the job of a CTO varies immensely.

From strategising business development (or biz dev as they call it) with the CEO, to selling and pitching tech products to clients, to more techy stuff like spearheading the company’s technical direction and innovation – CTOs have their fingers in quite a few different pies.

For ICT professionals, becoming a CTO is the ultimate career move, and waves a big fat ‘you’ve made it!’ flag on your resume. It takes years of experience, of course, and isn’t all about technical expertise either.

CTOs manage large teams, and so need to:

  • Be great networkers who communicate well with everyone from employees to external clients or prospective investors
  • Have business acumen and a technical vision
  • Stay in touch with what consumers need, and focus on developing products or services that fix consumer pain points rather than, as PayPal CTO James Barrese puts it, ‘build[ing] for tech’s sake’. 

7. Lead Engineer

Lead Engineers need managerial skills and a tonne of technical expertise

Lead Engineers do exactly what their title implies – they lead an engineering team.

Depending on the company’s size and needs, Lead Engineers can often double as a Systems Architect who also shoulders management responsibilities. Through a double whammy of technical expertise and managerial might, Lead Engineers develop an understanding of their team’s strengths, and play to them in order to build a system that’s sleeker than sleek.

Within their own teams, Lead Engineers head up brainstorming sessions, help their engineers tackle technical problems, and find a balance between getting a project done, and getting it done right. To be a lead engineer you need:

  • A tonne of technical experience
  • Strong communication skills
  • A pragmatic approach to your workflow
  • Project management skills 

8. Lead Developer

Lead Developers provide leadership and a technical vision for their team to work towards

Like Lead Engineers, Lead Developers stand at the helm of the dev team.

They provide leadership and a technical vision that development teams work towards, but also spend time coding and overseeing the technical implementation of ideas. For senior management, Lead Developers are often the ‘go-to’ person for all technical questions.

Becoming a Lead Developer or Tech Lead is the next level up in a developer’s career. According to Patrick Kua, author of Talking to Tech Leads, in order to make that leap you’ll need to:

  • Flex your managerial skills and learn to lead a team of developers
  • Learn to delegate, but still spend time coding
  • Manage the workloads of your team, and spend time mentoring your developers
  • Wrap your head around the other parts of the business, and develop relationships with other departments such as marketing and sales, design, and senior management. 

9. Software QA Engineer

Software QA Engineers sit acorss every stage of the dev process

How do you build truly great software that people love? By testing the hell out of it!

This is where quality assurance comes into play, and it’s also why Software QA Engineers are so vital to the development of new apps and programs.

Software QA Engineers sit across every stage of the development process from the initial design and writing of source code, through to configuring management, program testing and integration.

Researchers at Washington University interviewed 50+ senior architect-level engineers from Microsoft, and found that great Software Engineers need to be:

  • Lightning speed coders
  • Curious
  • Personable and open-minded
  • Adaptable 

10. Chief Operating Officer (COO)

COOs make sure a company’s operations runs smoothly

A Chief Operating Officer is essentially the second-in-command at a large company.

If companies were ships, the CEO would be the captain and the COO would be the first mate. The captain checks the skies and decides where he wants to sail, and it’s the COO’s job to make this happen by running a tight ship and getting the crew to work together so they can get there.

Ship metaphors aside, COOs are absolutely crucial to companies, and can be the difference between a company succeeding or sinking (whoops sorry, I thought I was done with the metaphors).

There’s no straightforward path or a single area you need to study to become a COO. Generally speaking however, COOs need:

  • A tonne of experience in their respective industry
  • Exceptional managerial skills and
  • Impeccable communication skills

Considering the enormous growth the tech sector has experienced, it’s not very surprising that tech jobs dominated this year’s list. If anything, experts are saying that this is only the beginning of the tech revolution.

So there you have it. The top 10 happiest jobs of 2016 prove that the happiness equation works! Get in-demand skills and be great at your job, and your career (and happiness) will skyrocket.

Not into tech, but still want a job that makes you happy? Equip yourself with the skills all companies will need in the future

Vivien Luu
Vivien Luu

Viv is a writer who enjoys researching and writing about creativity, how the human mind works, and neuro processes. She values creativity above all else and admires people who pursue their career dreams, no matter the sacrifice. In her spare time, she binges on HBO shows and epic fantasy novels.

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