Becoming a Telecom Engineer: Communicating Electronically

Telecommunication engineering is a field of electrical engineering. A telecom engineer designs telecom network infrastructure using a variety of equipment and transport media. Telecommunication engineers specialize in a specific type of technology, such as broadband systems or phone networks. Organizations that employ telecommunication engineering professionals include engineering consulting firms, government agencies, and telecommunications companies.

Telecommunication Engineer Job Responsibilities

Telecom engineers are responsible for providing economical solutions to technical problems. There are three different types of telecom engineers: central office engineers, equipment engineers, and outside plant engineers. Central office telecom engineers design and oversee the implementation of telecom equipment in central offices. Equipment engineers design routers, multiplexers, switches, and other equipment that is used in telecommunication network infrastructure. Outside plant engineers spend most of their time out in the field and are responsible for the structural design and placement of telecommunication equipment.

Education Required for Telecommunication Engineering

The standard telecom training for engineers is a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. These bachelor’s degree programs concentrate on the electrical engineering specialty, but offer courses in mathematics, physical and life sciences, and general engineering. Telecom engineers who require licensing may need to graduate from a college program in engineering that has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Some engineering programs equip students with practical skills in order to prepare them for jobs in the industry, while others are more theoretical in nature and are meant to prepare students for graduate work in the field. To ensure that you find a bachelor’s program in engineering that aligns with your goals, examine the curriculum and check the accreditation.

It is important for telecom engineers to continue taking courses and to keep expanding their knowledge throughout their careers to stay abreast of the latest technological innovations. In the telecommunication industry, an engineer’s knowledge can become outdated quickly. Telecommunication engineering professionals can make themselves more valuable to their employers by keeping up with the latest technology in the field through earning additional certifications.

Telecom Engineer Salary and Job Outlook

Earnings in telecom engineering vary depending on one’s education level, but as a group, electrical engineers earned a median salary of $85,920 in May of 2011. In comparison, computer hardware engineers earned a median salary of $98,610. Engineers earn some of the highest starting salaries among bachelor’s degree holders.

Overall, the job prospects for engineers are expected to be good in the coming years. That being said, globalization is causing the growth of domestic engineering jobs to falter. In developing countries, there are many qualified, English-speaking engineers who are willing to work for much lower salaries. Moreover, thanks to the Internet, engineers abroad can perform a lot of the work remotely. Nevertheless, there will always be a need for qualified engineers who can work on-site and interact with employees and clients.

A significant number of workers in the telecommunication industry are expected to retire in the coming decade, which will cause job opportunities to rise as a result. Technological changes take place quickly in telecommunications, so having up-to-date skills is essential if you want to have access to the best job opportunities as a telecom engineer.