Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Amy Chozick reports that cable guys, long depicted as slovenly cranks who dodged growling dogs and tracked mud on the living room carpet, often have backgrounds in engineering and computer science and certifications in network engineering. “Back in my day, you called the phone company, we hooked it up, gave you a phone book and left,” says Paul Holloway, a 30-year employee of Verizon, which offers phone, Internet, television and home monitoring services through its FiOS fiber optic network. “These days people are connecting iPhones, Xboxes and 17 other devices in the home.” The surge in high-tech offerings comes at a critical time for cable companies in an increasingly saturated Internet-based market where growth must come from all the extras like high-speed Internet service, home security, digital recording devices and other high-tech upgrades. “They should really change the name to Time Warner Internet,” says Quirino Madia, a supervisor for Time Warner Cable. “Nine out of 10 times, that’s all people care about.” Image upgrade is part of the strategy with a new dress code at some companies calling for button-down dress shirts and slacks but despite their enhanced stature and additional responsibilities, technicians haven’t benefited much financially. The median hourly income in 2010 for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers was $55,600 annually, up only 0.4 percent from 2008."