17 Telecom Technician Skills (Plus Job Outlook for Techs)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 6 December 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
If you're interested in working in communications technology, being a telecommunication technician may be a good career choice for you. Telecom technicians possess a wide range of technical, mechanical, business and interpersonal skills that allow them to succeed in their profession. Understanding more about these skills can help you better prepare for your career in telecommunications. In this article, we provide 17 telecom technician skills and the job outlook of this profession.
17 telecom technician skills
The following are 17 important telecom technician skills that you can develop:
1. Cable installation
Telecom technicians work with installing, maintaining and repairing telecommunication systems such as internet, telephone and television cables at clients' homes or offices. They use their cable installation skills to:
wire cables together
measure and cut appropriate lengths of cables
inspect and repair cable lines
identify problems such as weak internet signals
come up with strategies and implement them to remedy problems
replace malfunctioning equipment
test internet, telephone and television systems to ensure they are working properly
As cable installation is one of the main responsibilities of a telecom technician, it's important that you develop these skills by enrolling in a technical training programme or receiving a bachelor's degree in a related subject.
2. Fibre optics
Fibre optics transmit information as light pulses through thin glass or plastic fibre cables. They're commonly used in telecommunications systems such as the internet. Telecom technicians work with testing and installing different types of fibre optic networks. It's important that you're well-versed in how fibre optics work and how to install, test and repair them.
3. Computer hardware
One area that telecom technicians may work in is inspecting, installing, repairing and upgrading components of computer hardware. They work with two main types of computer hardware:
internal hardware, for example, RAM, hard disks, motherboards and CPUs and
external hardware, for example, monitors, printers, keyboards and mouse
Aspiring telecom technicians may thoroughly familiarise themselves with how computer hardware components work and the details of how to instal, repair and upgrade them.
4. Wireless LAN and broadband system
One of the most common responsibilities of telecom technicians is installing, fixing and maintaining wireless LAN (WLAN) and broadband systems. WLAN is a type of telecommunication technology that provides high-speed wireless internet and data service for homes and offices. Technicians use their knowledge of WLAN and broadband to put in new systems or fix existing systems.
5. Voice-over internet protocol (VoIP)
Voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) technology allows people to make voice calls using an internet connection instead of a regular phone line. Telecom technicians design, instal, configure, upgrade and maintain VoIP networks and system components, such as power supply systems. It's important that you're well-versed in VoIP knowledge so you can perform the tasks effectively.
6. Analogue systems
Analogue systems transmit continuously variable signals, such as audio and video signals, from one place to another. They're different from digital systems because the latter uses discrete signals in a binary format, instead of continuous signals.
Examples of analogue systems are radios, land-line telephones, VCRs and photocopiers. Even though digital systems are becoming more popular, it's still important for telecom technicians to know how to instal, troubleshoot, configure and support the performance of analogue systems.
7. Telephone systems
Another useful knowledge for telecom technicians to have is that of telephone systems. Telecom technicians instal, repair and maintain different telephone systems and infrastructure for both corporate and residential customers. Having extensive knowledge of telephone systems can also enable them to engineer and program these systems themselves.
Troubleshooting networks and systems is an everyday duty of telecom technicians. Troubleshooting skills include gathering as much information as possible to define problems, generating and evaluating all potential solutions, and implementing the best solution. Effective technicians not only have great troubleshooting skills, but they also follow up on their actions to check whether they have solved the issue successfully.
Most telecom technicians work in shifts, as they may receive urgent requests and service calls from their customers. They also occasionally work overtime to fulfil customers' requests. For these reasons, it's necessary that telecom technicians have the flexibility to cope with fluctuating work hours and shifts.
10. Dexterity and hand-eye coordination
Dexterity is the ability to perform tasks by using one's hands in a coordinated and skilful manner. Because telecom technicians often work with their hands to manipulate cable lines and fibre optics, it's important that they have high dexterity skills. Having great hand-eye coordination also helps with performing installation and repair duties quickly and accurately.
11. Attention to detail
Another important skill for telecom technicians to have is the ability to pay attention to minute details. When troubleshooting problems with telecommunication systems, it's helpful to thoroughly scrutinise details to identify issues accurately. Being detail-oriented can improve your productivity and efficiency in the workplace.
12. Customer service
Telecom technicians work with both corporate and individual customers to provide installation, testing, repair and maintenance services of telecommunication systems. Good customer service skills can help ensure that you satisfy customers with the services you provide and that you have earned their trust. It can also encourage customers to use your services again when they experience issues or to refer you to their business partners and friends.
13. Keenness to learn
A genuine keenness to learn is an important quality to have as a telecom technician because it's a highly technological profession that changes rapidly. Before you become a technician or even while you're working as a technician, it's important that you have the motivation to acquire technical knowledge and other necessary skills. You can familiarise yourself with industry knowledge, ask questions and learn from past mistakes to ensure that you can excel in your career.
14. Safety guidelines
Telecom technicians often work with infrastructures such as telephone lines, electrical wires and cables, satellites, optical fibres and antennas, which can be dangerous if not handled properly. Because of this, most companies require that you hold a Construction Workers Registration Card to ensure that you have a good knowledge of safety guidelines and regulations. There are several organisations that provide training for the card at affordable rates. Most training programmes require you to take examinations at the end to be eligible for the card.
15. Physical strength and stamina
Telecom technicians usually work outside climbing ladders, bending, crouching, standing and lifting objects for long periods of time. They're also required to work during or after adverse weather, such as storms, hurricanes, heavy snow or floods, which often destroy or damage telecommunication systems. Having physical strength and stamina can ensure that technicians can carry out their work duties effectively without getting injured or ill.
Companies usually provide telecom technicians a truck or a van with the company's logo. Telecom technicians use the vehicle to travel from one customer's location to another. It's important that you know how to drive and that you have a valid driving licence. While you're driving on the job, remember that you're representing the organisation you work for. Therefore, try to avoid getting into any collisions or accidents. It may also be beneficial to have basic skills to repair vehicles in case of a breakdown.
17. Listening and communication
Telecom technicians communicate with different groups of people such as customers, managers and junior technicians. They use their listening skills to understand customers' requests and problems that they're facing with their telecommunication systems. It's also important that they listen carefully to safety measures, work procedures and guidelines that their managers set up. Good communication skills are also necessary to provide succinct and clear instructions to junior technicians.
Salary and career path for a telecom technician
Entry-level telecom technicians earn an average salary of $19,317 per month, although salary may vary according to the experience and qualifications of an individual and also according to the size and type of the organisation that they work for. More experienced technicians can become telecommunication project managers and earn a monthly average salary of $33,521. You can also become a telecommunication engineer after gaining a formal degree in engineering or information technology. Telecom engineers earn an average salary of $38,246 per month.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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