The Best Jobs of 2012

The year's hottest jobs are hiring in droves, paying well, and providing room to grow.

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[See our list of The Best Healthcare Jobs.]

2. Software Developer

Salary Range: $54,360-$87,790

According to Bryan Cantrill, the vice president of engineering with the cloud-computing company Joyent, software developers should have one hand writing code and the other on the pulse of the evolving IT world. Advances are constant in this industry, and having an inquisitive nature will serve a budding developer well. Nailing as much on-the-job training as possible will also help, particularly as some software developers are able to advance through the ranks based on their experience.

1. Registered Nurse

Salary Range: $44,190-$95,130

One of the first things you should determine when entering this field is what type of nursing you'd like to do. According to Michael Wolf, an economist with the BLS, one of the reasons this profession will gain nearly 712,000 positions this decade is because it's such an expansive profession, period. "Actually its growth rate is good, but not out of line with some other occupations," he says. "Registered nurses should grow by about 26 percent. The healthcare practitioner occupations as a whole have a growth rate of about 26 percent, though." The bench might be deep, but the playing field is still competitive. For a better chance at landing a nursing job, you'll want to determine your niche early, consider using virtual networking tools, and look for employment outside a hospital setting.

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Corrected 3/16/2012: An earlier version of this article misstated advice by Jean Lynch, director of communications and marketing at the American Association of Medical Assistants, on how to excel in the medical assistant profession.