Published: June 27, 2024 By

In an era of increased tech market turbulence, network engineering, the backbone of our Internet, can't fill jobs fast enough 

Over the past five years, the two-year network engineering master's program at the University of Colorado Boulder had 139 of their 140 graduates hired before they even graduated, with an average starting salary of $130,000.

With a single minute of network outages costing Amazon almost a million dollars in 2022, network engineers might be one of the most valuable workers in the modern age. 

"We have companies coming to us and asking for more graduates than we can provide, because the need is so strong," said José Santos, Associate Teaching Professor and Lab Director for the program. 

Network engineers working at companies like Amazon, Arista Networks, Cisco, Meta and  Netflix build and maintain the networks that underlie just about everything in the Internet we take for granted. 

Watching a video? Network engineers make streaming possible. Saving your data in 'the cloud'? Network engineers manage the servers that store those files. Ordering a lift from a rideshare? Network engineering is at the base of that as well. 

Because network engineers have to interface with complex physical equipment, it's often challenging to get trained on industry standards before getting on the job. This is frustrating to companies because it's difficult to outsource these solutions. 

CU Boulder's network engineering program, however, has amassed a large-scale physical equipment lab regularly refreshed by industry partners hoping students will work with them after graduating.

"It’s the access to the latest technologies and hands-on nature of the curriculum that makes our students so well-versed and highly sought-after within the workforce," said Kevin Epperson, Netflix's Director of Network Architecture and Infrastructure Strategy, CU Boulder alumnus and faculty lecturer for the network engineering program. 

With fifty-three years of interdisciplinary telecommunications expertise, CU Boulder is leading the way to the future of this essential degree.