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How to Become a Telecommunications Engineer

If you’re a tech-savvy person that likes a hands-on job and enjoys creating and controlling a project from beginning to end, then working as a telecommunications engineer might be perfect for you!

Telecommunications engineers use their technological prowess to design, implement, administer, and maintain complex telecommunications systems. They act as a knowledge resource for many other departments, and maintain, service, and monitor complicated telecom systems.

A telecommunications engineer’s work isn’t immediately evident, but it’s behind the scenes everywhere you go. From running wires and cables in the ground and through buildings, to setting up routers, fiber optics, switches and complex networks, and the list goes on and on. These engineers keep everyone connected daily with their deep level understanding of hardware and software solutions.

Telecommunications engineers create systems and networks with careful planning and ingenuity. They can make a plan from the drawing board and bring it to life, ensuring timely and efficient implementation. Checking for reliability and compatibility along the way, they test and evaluate changes to systems to guarantee continued dependability.

Sample job description

We believe that the key to creating an unstoppable business is by giving our employees a place to grow professionally and personally. With hundreds of offices and thousands of employees worldwide, we strive to be the first and only choice for clients with cutting-edge technology and first-class performance. We’re looking to add a telecommunications engineer to our diverse team of experts. We need someone who can work independently. Your job will be to monitor and maintain current network systems in place, periodically test performance, and implement new systems when appropriate. If you feel like you’ve got what it takes to handle the job, we’d love to hear from you!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Resolve issues and enhancements for systems such as IVR, ACD, VOIP, Dialer, WFM, Omni-channel platforms, and more
  • Act as liaison for client and business
  • Manage, monitor, and analyze in and outbound data traffic to ensure quality and consistency
  • Optimize network and telecommunication systems
  • Provide telephony support and technical issue resolution
  • Work with clients and other 3rd party vendors regularly to minimize incompatibility and rework
  • Design and implement disaster recovery solutions
  • Provide project support when necessary
  • Review and escalate any potential issues to management

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering or a related field
  • Three years of related experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Great attention to detail
  • Analytical mindset and inquisitive nature
  • In-depth knowledge of in and outbound technologies
  • Working understanding of networks, telephony, and VoIP protocols
  • Ability to troubleshoot and diagnose technical issues with hardware and software
  • Ability to multi-task and adapt quickly to changing work conditions
  • Thorough understanding of typical support structure and tools used in an IT environment
  • Self-motivated with excellent time management

Preferred qualifications

  • 5 years related experience
  • High energy and positive attitude
  • Working knowledge of network management platforms and cyber security protocols
  • Excellent business communication skills

Typical work environment

Telecommunications engineers work in an office, generally as a part of a larger team. They also may be responsible for physically fitting structures for wired or wireless networks. This could mean running hundreds or thousands of feet of wire through buildings. They also may visit physical servers and computers to test and troubleshoot problems. This might mean tight and noisy server closets or client offices. Some meetings and travel should be expected.

Typical hours

Generally speaking, the standard hours of a telecommunications engineer are Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM. Depending on the company and job, however, this may change. If you’re expected to complete a project for a client that’s approaching a deadline, you may find yourself working later.

Additionally, engineers may find themselves on call or working a shift in a 24-hour operation that requires monitoring and assistance at all hours.

Available certifications

Telecommunications engineers work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • TCM. The ETA international organization offers this foundational course to teach many of the expected skills of an engineer. Upon obtaining this certification, you’ll demonstrate your understanding of cables, cabling, analog and digital telephony, equipment, telecom safety, mathematics, transmission service, distribution methods, network infrastructure, and much more. Once obtained, you can confidently say you have what it takes to fulfill the needs of any company looking for a telecommunications engineer.
  • TMEC. The Telecommunications Master Engineer Certification provided by the iNARTE is a globally recognized certification further showing your technical comprehension of the underlying science and technology of telecommunications. You can obtain this certification through Udemy and other sites and will go a long way in demonstrating your passion and experience on the subject of telecommunications.

Career path

Obtaining a degree in electronic engineering, or some related engineering field is the first step in your journey to a career in telecommunications. 

After you’ve obtained a degree, getting a job in a telecommunications position or a network-related IT position to start gathering experience is a great next step. As you gain experience in this position, it’s a good idea to learn the full scope of the systems used, and the methods for troubleshooting hardware and software issues.

Once you’ve had some time to adapt to the environment, obtaining a mentor or completing various certifications to further your understanding of the field is the best thing you can do to become even more competitive. This is a technical field based off of deep technical knowledge, and learning all you can will serve you well in the end.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 49-2022

2020 Employment195,800
Projected Employment in 2030193,500
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 1% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift2,200 decrease

As the world adopts the digital strategy and becomes more interconnected through networks, so does the complexity of these communications. In an age of remote working and vast global companies attempting to coordinate hundreds or thousands of employees separated by mountains and oceans, there must be digital solutions to communication. 

We’ll continue to need these systems for the foreseeable future, and so, we’ll need people to implement, manage, and improve them as well. So while there will be a slight decrease in the number of jobs, it’s still considered a stable field.