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Telecommunications Consultant Job Description, Career as a Telecommunications Consultant, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College

Salary: Median—$65,130 per year

Employment Outlook: Excellent

Definition and Nature of the Work

The boom in telecommunications technology has created a strong demand for specialists in the field to help companies choose the telephone, video, and data communications equipment best suited to their needs. Telecommunications consultants, also referred to as telecommunications specialists when employed full time by a telecommunications company, are responsible not only for creating efficient, cost-effective telecommunications systems but also for updating systems as newer and better equipment becomes available.

A small firm might require only short-term assistance with buying and installing its telecommunications equipment. A large company might hire a consultant to assemble a complicated network of telephones, computers, facsimile (fax) equipment, and video terminals that will rapidly transmit voices and paperwork around the world. In every case, however, the consultant must determine what services the company wants and what equipment can best deliver those services.

Professionals who select telecommunications systems may be employed full time by large insurance, banking, or manufacturing companies, among others. They may also work for consulting firms, for the government, or as freelancers, meaning they are self-employed. Some telecommunications specialists, especially those who work for the large telephone companies or for large telecommunications firms, work in research or product and system development and design. Others work in sales and marketing.

With the recent emergence of the wireless Internet, known as WiFi, there are new opportunities for telecommunications consultants and specialists. The proliferation of new technologies has resulted in a need for information technology professionals who can help organizations utilize technology to better communicate with employees, clients, and consumers.

Education and Training Requirements

Telecommunications consultants who have bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering or computer science are highly sought after by employers. Those who combine a technical degree with a master's degree in business administration have the best opportunities for advancement to management positions. Some colleges are now offering telecommunications management programs.

Employers are also looking for candidates who have bachelor's or master's degrees in business along with courses in computer science, statistics, and math. Companies hire very few liberal arts graduates, but those with master's degrees in business administration do stand a chance of entering the field.

Consultants must continue to take courses throughout their careers to keep up with this ever-changing field.

Getting the Job

Candidates with technical training often have their choice of assignments and job offers because competent consultants are currently in short supply. Many engineering and computer science majors are recruited directly out of college. Another way to enter the field is to get sales and marketing experience in a related industry.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Qualified individuals in research or product design can move up to become department or project heads, or they can move into management. Those in sales or marketing can advance to management positions. Some telecommunications specialists open their own consulting firms.

The employment outlook is exceptionally good for telecommunications consultants and specialists because the industry is growing quickly and should have ample room for competent technicians. Experts project that the industry will grow by 25 percent each year through 2010.

Working Conditions

Telecommunications consultants and specialists usually work in pleasant offices or at home but typically put in more than forty hours per week. Those employed by smaller companies that are striving for a piece of the telecommunications market may work even longer hours and may have to relocate from time to time.

Telecommunications consultants and specialists must have good communications skills. Those who work with system users must be able to explain complex information to people who may not understand the technical aspects of the system. Often specialists who have jobs in research or design work in teams, so they must be able to get along with other people.

Where to Go for More Information

International Communications Association
1730 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Ste. 300
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 530-9855

Society of Telecommunications Consultants
13275 State Hwy. 89
P.O. Box 70 Old Station, CA 96071
(800) STC-7670

Earnings and Benefits

According to Computerworld's 2005 salary survey, experienced telecommunications specialists earn a median salary of $65,130 per year. Senior specialists can earn more, depending on the size of the firm that employs them. Full-time employees receive paid vacations and holidays and medical insurance. Self-employed consultants must provide their own benefits.

Additional topics

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