If you want to be a telecom engineer, a master’s degree in telecom engineering – one of the highest-paying master’s degrees – could be part of your career path. Several different types of employers hire telecom engineers. Some of the types of companies with which you might look for employment as a telecom engineer include telecommunication utility providers, engineering firms, consulting companies, computer companies and government agencies.
Telecommunications Utility Providers
Unsurprisingly, telecommunications utility providers have the greatest need for telecom engineers. These employers include cable broadcast providers, landline and mobile phone companies and satellite television companies. If you work for a telecommunications utility provider, your job role might be to contribute to the design of new telecommunications networks and equipment, deploy networks or assist with troubleshooting problems. Job opportunities in telecommunications utility companies are growing rapidly, largely driven by the growth of big multinational companies, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Aside from working directly for telecommunications utility providers, you might also find opportunities in the design and manufacturing of equipment used in telecom systems. As the technology evolves to transmit more data at faster speeds – with more reliability and security – telecom utility providers compete to offer the best broadcasting and transmission experiences to win over customers. The demand for state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment is strong, The Houston Chronicle reported. This, in turn, creates job opportunities for the telecommunications engineers who develop the designs and direct the manufacture of this equipment.
Upgrading networks, such as from 4G to 5G mobile networks, is one of the ways telecommunications utility providers meet the needs of their customers and compete against other providers.
Telecom engineers also work for engineering firms. Some engineering firms are specialized, focusing on telecommunications exclusively. Other engineering firms that employ telecom engineers are full-service companies that design buildings, infrastructure, transportation systems, environmental solutions, energy generation systems and more. Telecom engineers who work in an engineering firm are not tied to one telecommunications utility provider. When you work in an engineering firm, you might work with different clients or on various projects.
As a telecom engineer in a full-service engineering firm, you may collaborate more with engineers across different disciplines on larger projects, like the development of intelligent transportation systems.
Not every company that employs telecom engineers is in the business of working on telecom design projects directly. Consulting roles also make up part of the occupation. Like engineering companies that bid on projects, consulting firms may specialize in telecommunications design consulting or offer a variety of engineering or technical consulting services. Consulting roles differ somewhat from hands-on engineering roles. Your ability to analyze the situation and present your recommendations for solutions to problems is more important than your direct technical expertise in, say, putting together the electronic hardware components of a telecommunications system or writing a program. As a consultant, you are likely to act as an advisor, helping clients with objectives such as planning for scaling up or upgrading their infrastructure.
Consulting telecom engineers may also choose to be self-employed, offering their services as a telecommunications design expert to clients on a per-project or per-contract basis. However, successful self-employed telecom engineering consultants need plenty of experience and a large network of potential clients and collaborators. Trying to jump into a consulting role without enough experience, the right credentials or a reputation known widely across the telecommunications industry could make it difficult to find clients who are willing to pay for your services.
Consultants tend to look more at big-picture goals than small details, although it’s important that the solutions they come up with fit all aspects of the clients’ needs and capabilities.
Telecommunications engineering is, at heart, a specialization within the field of electrical and computer engineering. Computer engineering skills are important in the field of telecom engineering, and computer companies have a need for well-designed telecommunications systems. It makes sense, then, that computer companies sometimes hire telecom engineers. Telecommunications engineers who work for computer companies often focus on the software side of the field, but that isn’t always the case.
Cloud computing is a common focus for telecom engineers employed by computer companies, as is network management. Telecom engineers working for computer companies often serve in an infrastructure architect capacity.
The government also employs telecom engineers. You can find work in telecom engineering in agencies at all levels of the government, from federal to state, county and municipal government entities. Some examples of government agencies that hire telecom engineers include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Defense (DOD). Some government jobs for telecom engineers involve applications of telecommunications engineering principles and practices to military and homeland defense efforts.
Telecom engineers also work in telecommunications research at public and private colleges and universities, as well as in industry roles.