Best Jobs in America

CNNMoney/PayScale's top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.

16. Telecom Network Eng.
Telecom Network Eng.
16
"I love the challenge and importance of this specific area of IT," says Jeremy Galliani, a network engineer with Segue Technologies in Arlington, Va. "We are constantly working to tweak our environments, to make them more secure."
Median pay: $85,900
Top pay: $117,000
10-year job growth: 28.5%
Total jobs*: 588,500

What they do all day? Many companies rely on networking technology for wireless networks, video conferencing and broadband connections. Telecommunications network engineers design, install, test, troubleshoot and maintain these networks, including data, voice, and video.

How to get the job? Analytical skills and the ability to work well under pressure are musts; a master's in network engineering is a plus. Many people start out in a help desk role and work their way up. A certification from a company such as Cisco, Microsoft, or (ISC)2 can help you make the leap from a different area of IT.

What's great? What's not? The work is varied and the hours are generally reasonable -- until a system goes down. Then suddenly a lot of people are demanding it get back up and running ASAP, which can mean working late into the night or on weekends. --K.A.

What they do all day? Many companies rely on networking technology for wireless networks, video conferencing and broadband connections. Telecommunications network engineers design, install, test, troubleshoot and maintain these networks, including data, voice, and video. --K.A.

Quality of life ratings:
  • Personal satisfaction: B
  • Benefit to society: B
  • Flexibility: B
  • Low stress: A
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*Total jobs is estimated number of people working in broader BLS 'job family.'

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and CNNMoney research

Do Network Engineers have great jobs, or what? Are these great jobs, or what?
It's still a tough job market, so when CNNMoney, in partnership with data from PayScale.com, set out to find America's Best Jobs this year, first and foremost we looked for professions that offer great growth opportunities.

Other big factors: pay (how strong it is now, and how fast it's growing), overall job satisfaction, and how many jobs are in the field overall.
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