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Telecommunications Design Engineer Job Description, Career as a Telecommunications Design Engineer, Salary, Employment

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

Education and Training: Varies—see profile

Salary: Median—$50,846 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Telecommunications design engineers solve technical telecommunications problems. Their understanding of telecommunications equipment allows them to analyze quickly where and why service is interrupted. Once these engineers know what the trouble is, repair workers can be sent out to fix it. Sometimes there are no simple cures for service troubles. The engineers may have to design new tools or equipment to handle new problems. Their job is to make sure that service remains trouble-free and that the equipment does the job it was designed to do.

Design engineers work to anticipate breakdowns in service. They try to spot and fix equipment problems before telecommunications service is affected. Engineers must come up with permanent solutions to problems that occur and plan for improved equipment. Often they write reports for the chief managers. Design engineers work in and visit many central offices. They meet with other engineers from all parts of the country to exchange new ideas.

These telecommunications design engineers are analyzing telephone equipment to suggest improvements. (© Terry Wild Studio. Reproduced by permission.)

Education and Training Requirements

Design engineers must know a great deal about electronics and problem analysis. Some hold degrees in engineering; others may work their way up through other jobs with telecommunications companies, taking company upgrading courses, and going to technical school on their own time. Although engineering skills are required, a degree in engineering is not necessary.

Interested high school students should take courses in mathematics and the sciences, especially physics. Mechanical drawing and shop are also helpful. Postsecondary educational routes include a technical school or college. Candidates with the most formal education generally have greater opportunities to advance.

Getting the Job

Most design engineers start in other jobs with telecommunications companies and have at least two years of experience in another position such as an installer. It is not unusual for installers and repair workers to become supervisors or engineers.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Design engineers hold management-level jobs. Some advance even further to become engineering supervisors in charge of the work of other engineers.

The job outlook for design engineers is fair through the year 2014. Although advances in technology have reduced the need for repairs, new equipment requires constant analysis by engineers to prevent recurring problems. Also, those who are involved in designing new products may have a job advantage.

Working Conditions

Design engineers generally work in pleasant, air-conditioned offices. During breakdowns or other emergencies they may have to put in many extra hours. Their assignments cover different central offices. At times they travel to engineering conferences and meetings with other telecommunications engineers. This work requires continual learning in order to keep up with changing technology.

Where to Go for More Information

National Association of Radio and
Telecommunications Engineers
167 Village St.
Medway, MA 02053
(800) 89-NARTE

Earnings and Benefits

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, design engineers working for the larger telecommunications companies earn a median salary of $50,846 per year. Experienced design engineers earn more. Benefits include paid vacations and holidays, health and life insurance, and retirement provisions.

Additional topics

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