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July 02, 2012


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I would think Financial Analyst requires strong math skills, which, in my experience, would rule it out as a possibility for the masses.

You say the list doesn't include MBA's, but I would say the vast majority of Financial Analysts at the best companies out there are going to have MBA's. And while it may be more accessible to the masses than an Engineering career, I would agree with Paul Williams above that it is not accessible for everyone.

Whats a Landman?

Apparently landman is a name for someone who works on oil wells. I had to look it up.

Most states require 150 credit hours for a CPA certification, which is pretty much advanced degree territory for most folks, so I'm surprised to see it on this list.

Cam is right. A few states don't require the 150 hours (I think Nevada is one of them), but if you want the freedom to move around the USA, you'll need a Masters degree.

That said, I'm in college right now for an accounting degree. This fall I will have achieved my Bachelors in accounting, and I'll have my Masters by the beginning of 2014. I think "CPA" is "relatively accessible" by most people at this point in time. The math involved seems more common-sense based than the math required by an engineer, and the jobs appear to be fairly plentiful. I'm not saying it is an "easy" career to get into, but it seems much easier than doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. to be able to get the degree and land a job.

I just hope that by the time I graduate, the jobs will still be there and the field won't be over-saturated, something that is happening in many other fields (such as graphic design).

A landman works in the energy industry and is tasked with researching public land records (particularly mineral ownership), contacting mineral owners, and negotiating mineral leases so that wells may be drilled. They can make a lot of money during the boom times, but are quick to be laid off when energy prices decrease (think late 2008) becuase companies will decrease thier mineral leasing activity. One of the most cyclical jobs out there, IMO.

Bogey, thanks for the specifics. I didn't research it very far, but at least I got general vicinity. :)

CPAs do mostly required 150 credit hours now but I took them all during undergrad and still have my license in Virginia. I think that 3,200,000 is very reasonable but whether you stay in public accounting or go into private accounting can make a big difference.

My engineering education of a BS in mechanical engineering and an MS in engineering mechanics was definitely a job requirement for my career in aerospace and my gross earnings being fully employed by 3 companies over a period of 36 years between 1956 and 1992 amounted to just a little over $1M.

However after retiring in 1992 with a total investment portfolio of $320K I put my analytical and computer software skills to work both in generating a successful market analysis program that uses the database that I have subscribed to since retiring, I was also able to use it to improve my investment skills to the point where my portfolio just hit $6.5M for the first time. I must acknowledge however that I was fortunate to be able to take advantage of the bubble that started when I retired and that ended in March 2000. Without that bubble my gains would have been substantially less. That's why I firmly believe that great success requires three ingredients which are, 1) Intelligence & knowledge, 2) Lots of hard work, and 3) Timing, which is why if I had retired 8 years later things would have probably turned out nowhere near as well for me.

Real wealth requires the constant compounding of one's investments and the avoidance of losing years. If you are unfortunate enough to have been fully invested in an S&P 500 fund during a period like the one from the high of March 2000 through today, that's a 12+ year portion of your working life that produced a negative return, and of course, no compounding whatsoever. That's why good timing is very important but obviously none of us have any control over when we were born. In my own case if I had been born 8 years earlier I would have been draft age when WWII broke out in England and could have met a very untimely death.

I think that 3 (software engineer - average $109k/year) is reasonable, with a large mass of engineers who do slightly worse than that, and a long tail that does much better. I'd be interested to see the full 3D distribution, with years since the bachelor's degree on the x-axis, standard deviations on the y-axis, and salaries on the z-axis.

I started out as an Engineer but am not in that field anymore as I have been in many different roles in the company. Over a 45 year career (and here I am thinking about early retirement after a mere 17 years) it really does add up.


I'm a CPA and don't have a masters degree. I just got all of the 150 credit hour requirements done in 4 years of undergrad. It helped that I had some credits from high school courses, as it reduced my workload by about a quarter's worth (my alma mater was on a quarter system back then). They don't require you to have a master's degree to get the 150 hours in, as long as you get them in somehow.

08graduate, the BLS has more detail on wages.
for software developers :

Mean = $92,080
Median = $89,280
percentile groups
10% = $54,980
25% = $70,300
75% = $111,990
90% = $136,490

Thats the distribution of wages at least.

@Jim Thanks. That pretty much squares with this post and my intuition. I'd still like to see the experience dimension, and finer resolution in the percentiles. I'll rummage on the BLS site for raw data when I get a chance.

Another reason we need to boost STEM education! Students of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math have a good future ahead of them :)

Glad to be a Materials Engineer :D

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