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How to Become a VOIP Engineer

Are you a whiz in technology? Do you want to live in a major metropolitan area with beautiful weather year-round? If so, a career in VOIP is right for you.

Voice over IP (VOIP) is quickly becoming the preferred method of communication in the workplace. An emerging career path is VOIP engineering, which combines an understanding of both business and technology to install, maintain, upgrade and work with new telecommunication facilities.  

A VOIP engineer, also called a voice over internet protocol engineer, has the responsibility of managing the technology that moves telephone calls from point to point. Because VOIP is a relatively new development in telecommunication, it is an emerging field in electronics engineering for those who dream about computers and communications.

They work primarily with networks and programming languages, such as Java, PHP, Perl, and C++. It is important to note that this position pays well compared to other computer programming jobs, and it is also one of the fastest-growing fields in technology today.

Sample job description

We are seeking a VOIP engineer to design, implement, and support our internal VOIP system. This position will work with the IT department to create a unique system that ushers in new capabilities for productivity. They will be responsible for VOIP hardware and software. To be successful in the VOIP engineer position, you must have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university with major coursework in telecommunications technology, electronics engineering technology, electrical engineering technology, computer science, information systems management, or a related field.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Installation of equipment to facilitate integration with our intranet
  • Provide advice on how to configure network switches for optimal functionality
  • Troubleshoot hardware problems
  • Research software updates to increase capacity and optimize performance
  • Design, implement, test, and support the daily operation of our VOIP system
  • Identify short-term goals to increase productivity in communications infrastructure
  • See that all equipment functions are optimized for efficiency
  • Perform network analysis to improve security and prevent future failures or downtime
  • Research new technologies to stay abreast of field developments

Education and experience

  • A bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, electronics engineering technology, computer science, information systems management, or a related field is required for this position
  • Six to ten years of work experience in the IT industry with two or more years of VOIP expertise
  • Excellent knowledge of IP networks and technologies such as NAT, DHCP, DNS, VLAN, MPLS, and WAN
  • Strong background in TCP/IP networking specifications, performance improvement techniques, network management tools, and methodologies
  • Working knowledge of network topologies such as LANs, WANs, MANs and wireless networks
  • Knowledge of Open Source VOIP solutions is a plus
  • Working knowledge of scripting languages such as Perl, PHP, and C++ a plus

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong knowledge of network protocols and networking technologies
  • The ability to work with common programming languages is necessary
  • The capacity to learn new programming languages
  • Advanced skills are required for troubleshooting problems related to networks
  • Knowledge of Linux and Window systems, including shell scripting languages
  • Knowledge of TCP/IP
  • Basic knowledge of Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, and other telecommunication networks architecture

Preferred qualifications

  • Good knowledge of Java and XML Technologies
  • Knowledge of VoIP protocols, including SIP and RTP
  • Experience with signaling protocols such as H.323 or MGCP is preferred
  • Good knowledge of Python
  • Experience with network protocols such as PANA, DHCP, and DNS
  • Good analytical skills

Typical work environment

Work is typically performed in an office or computer lab environment, with some work being done remotely. The typical work week consists of 40 hours per week, although overtime may be required on occasion. VOIP engineers will be expected to work under pressure at times and must be able to work independently with minimal supervision.

Typical hours

Flexible working hours are common, with employees able to work their own schedule. There is no standard corporate policy for VOIP engineers because it varies by company, but efficient time management should be taken into account while balancing other personal responsibilities. Some companies will have an open-door policy regarding work hours.

Available certifications

VOIP engineers have a variety of certifications to choose from. Some of the most popular ones are:

  • Comptia Network+. This certification helps develop a career in IT infrastructure covering troubleshooting, configuring, and managing networks. CompTIA Network+ validates the hands-on skills needed to troubleshoot, configure, and manage both wired and wireless networks.
  • Comptia Security+. This is the first security certification IT professionals should earn. It establishes the core knowledge required of any cybersecurity role and provides a springboard to intermediate-level cybersecurity jobs. 
  • Cisco CCNP Collaboration. Achieving CCNP Collaboration certification proves your skills with collaboration solutions. To earn CCNP Collaboration certification, you pass two exams: one that covers core collaboration technologies and one collaboration concentration exam of your choice, so you can customize your certification to your technical area of focus.
  • Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP). The only vendor-neutral wireless LAN certification program in the industry, covering the full range of technologies underlying all enterprise WLAN products.

Career path

VOIP engineers typically begin their careers by performing routine maintenance on systems, installing equipment, and ensuring the network is up to date. As experience is gained, they may be given more difficult tasks related to troubleshooting or upgrading systems.

A VOIP engineer may choose from one of two career paths: Senior level engineer or systems engineer. A senior level engineer is most commonly hired by large or medium-sized organizations, and will ideally have experience working in two or more departments such as customer service, sales, and software development. A systems engineer’s job is focused mostly on the installation and maintenance of telecommunications systems. They may also install communication solutions for companies that do not have a telecommunications staff in-house.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 17-2070

2020 Employment313,200
Projected Employment in 2030333,600
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 7% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift20,400 increase

VOIP engineers will see a 7% growth in the job market from 2020 to 2030, with an increase in jobs being created due to technological improvements and new software products. In addition, more companies are moving their telecommunication services in-house which requires additional VOIP engineers. As VOIP systems are seen as cost-effective alternatives to landlines, they are likely to become more popular in homes and offices alike.

The demand for VOIP engineers is expected to rise given the increase in internet usage and development of high-speed networks. Many organizations are moving towards VoIP technology due to its lower costs and flexibility over traditional public switched telephone networks or PSTNs. VOIP engineers are likely to experience high demand in areas with heavy telecommunications traffic or technological innovation, such as Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle in North Carolina.