BACKGROUND: Mapping job titles to standardised occupation classification (SOC) codes is an important step in identifying occupational risk factors in epidemiological studies. Because manual coding is time-consuming and has moderate reliability, we developed an algorithm called SOCcer (Standardized Occupation Coding for Computer-assisted Epidemiologic Research) to assign SOC-2010 codes based on free-text job description components. METHODS: Job title and task-based classifiers were developed by comparing job descriptions to multiple sources linking job and task descriptions to SOC codes. An industry-based classifier was developed based on the SOC prevalence within an industry. These classifiers were used in a logistic model trained using 14 983 jobs with expert-assigned SOC codes to obtain empirical weights for an algorithm that scored each SOC/job description. We assigned the highest scoring SOC code to each job. SOCcer was validated in 2 occupational data sources by comparing SOC codes obtained from SOCcer to expert assigned SOC codes and lead exposure estimates obtained by linking SOC codes to a job-exposure matrix. RESULTS: For 11 991 case-control study jobs, SOCcer-assigned codes agreed with 44.5% and 76.3% of manually assigned codes at the 6-digit and 2-digit level, respectively. Agreement increased with the score, providing a mechanism to identify assignments needing review. Good agreement was observed between lead estimates based on SOCcer and manual SOC assignments (κ 0.6-0.8). Poorer performance was observed for inspection job descriptions, which included abbreviations and worksite-specific terminology. CONCLUSIONS: Although some manual coding will remain necessary, using SOCcer may improve the efficiency of incorporating occupation into large-scale epidemiological studies.