The telecom talent race: Where the jobs are now


While analysts debate the causes and cures for tepid job growth in America, wireless service providers and infrastructure companies are busy with their own plans for job growth. AT&T is trying to hire 100 new engineers a year, according to David Brandvold, vice president of global engineering support at the nation’s second largest carrier. He says AT&T is primarily looking for electrical engineers but “most any technology background has a place.”

LTE rollouts are of course a major driver of job growth. Todd Luckasavitch, director of human resources and recruitment at Alcatel-Lucent, says his company is aggressively hiring network engineers and solutions engineers. AT&T says engineers with RF and RAN experience are the most in demand. Motorola Solutions is hiring “a wide variety of systems engineers and software engineers,” according to Tracy Cordova, director of global staffing and human resources. She says the company is particularly interested now in engineers with video experience, as well as product managers, and sales people with experience in Public Safety.

When it comes to compensation, the jobs that offer the highest pay are often related to LTE. AT&T says that on the technical side, RF engineering is at the top of the food chain because the demand is so great; as the amount of capacity that carriers are installing each year has quadrupled, so has the amount of engineering activity. On the sales and marketing side, the carrier is aggressively hiring people with applications experience and software experience.

Alcatel-Lucent says that networking engineers and solutions engineers are generally the most sought after and the most highly compensated. He says his company is looking for people with GSM, GSDM, and WiMAX experience, and that experience with LTE is an “extreme bonus.” Alcatel-Lucent is very “willing to pay” for people who have strong knowledge of IP technology, especially if they combine it with the good communication and analytic skills.

Motorola Solutions says it is competing for the same skill sets. “Technical architects are highly sought after,” says Tracy Cordova. “We’re looking for people who can identify a customer’s end-to-end needs and suggest an end-to-end solution.”

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Martha DeGrasse

Wireless Martha DeGrasse has been creating content for RCR Wireless News since 2011. Recent feature reports include Building Tomorrow's Neworks, Outdoor DAS and Small Cell Case Studies, Wireless Infrastructure Service Company Review, and Investing in HetNets. (All of these can be found by clicking on Reports at the top of this page.) At RCR, Martha also developed the 5 Things to Know Today series and the Mobile Minute. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her on Twitter @mdegrasseRCR