Communications engineer

A communications engineer is responsible for the research, design, development and production of communications equipment/systems.

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As the fields of communications technology continue to expand, with more and more gadgets and more and more service providers on the market, there will be greater opportunities for trained engineers.

What the role involves

Those with degrees in science or engineering often begin as entry-level communications engineers, although others have been known to start as installers or repair workers. The work can vary hugely from company to company. On the one hand, trained professionals can find themselves designing or building systems and networks. On the other hand, they may be charged with servicing and maintaining an existing network.

What skills do you need?

One way or another, the role requires a huge level of technical understanding. Candidates should also have a commitment to life-long learning, as it’s a field that is continually evolving. On top of this baseline of knowledge, problem-solving skills are also critical. While many know the nuts and bolts of how a network works, it takes a particularly persistent and analytical problem solver to get to the bottom of the issues that can arise in the course of its operation. Indeed, in many cases telecoms engineers are expected to foresee network problems before they happen. Unsurprisingly then, telecoms engineers also need to be capable under pressure, as any disruption of service will need to be dealt with swiftly and efficiently and at a minimum of cost. As well as having a high level of technical skill, engineers working with communications and telecommunications need to be extremely organised as they are often required to deliver high quality projects and repairs to a deadline and within a budget. Verbal and written skills are also crucial, as engineers will often find themselves working as part of a larger team with non-technical staff who may need to be told how development of the network might affect the end user. Essentially, it’s all about communication, vital in an industry where the objective is ever more effective methods of communicating.

Entry requirements

Communications engineers generally have a good honours degree in a relevant subject, such as electrical/electronic engineering, physics, computer science or telecommunications. Engineers Ireland lists accredited programmes.

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