Inside Telecom Technician Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Jack Of All Trades...
I was surprised at how much customer service and social skills I needed to be a telecomm tech." (Telecommunications Technician; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in District of Columbia, male
School: Studied Telecommunications at Montgomery College in Maryland; completed Certificate degree in 2010

"Education Provides A Knowledge Base, But Always Falls Short...
I was completely amazed by the complexity of the systems that I have to work with. The knowledge that you need goes beyond anything that is taught in the classroom. I knew radios and repeaters but had no clue how to interface with the multiple server systems that I now find myself dealing with on a daily basis." (Communications System Technician; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Electrical Engineering/Communications at ITT Technical Institute in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"I Was Prepared For Multiple Careers With This Degree...
The correct guidance from my teachers about how a simple career start as a librarian's assistant could lead to so many other careers, seamlessly. It amazes everyone I meet, about the importance of the new communication age in choosing a liberal arts degree that will help blend through the 'gray' areas of the many fluctuations and requirements in today's 'smaller' international world." (Librarian With Electronic Technician And Telecommunication; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Oklahoma, female
School: Studied Information Technology Including Database Engineer And Repair. at Arkansas Tech University in Arkansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Talking Constantly Required...
I was surprised I had to talk on the phone as a telecom technician. I talk to people on a daily basis." (Telecom Technician; 2013)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in West Virginia, male
School: Studied Telecom at IADT in West Virginia; completed Associate degree in 2001

"Different Electrical And Wiring Configurations There Are...
Installing internet and phone lines in diverse, residential neighborhoods requires that I speak with people from all different walks of life and cultures. Had I known my job would involve this much cross-cultural communication, I would have also learned Spanish while in technical school." (Telecom/Internet Technician; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Wisconsin, male
School: Studied Electronics at Madison Technical College in Wisconsin; completed Associate degree in 2010

"Technology Changed Very Quickly...
I was surprised how quickly VoIP took over. I was also surprised how computer illiterate most older techs were." (Telecommunications Tech; 2013)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied Electronics at Baran Institute Of Technology in Connecticut; completed Certificate degree in 1995

"You Are An Expendable Cog In The Machine...
The lack of prestige is surprising in this field. It used to be a job where competent workers were rewarded based on performance and their work ethic and dedication was appreciated. Those days are gone as wages have either gone down or stagnated. Part of this is due to a glut of workers and part is due to the fact that technology has lost it's mystique. There are many other factors in the loss of higher wages and respect but they are beyond the scope of this blurb. Having a rewarding personal/family life is out of the question as everything must take a back seat to your job and a routine day is a fantasy. Also, one used to get additional "on call" pay whereas now it is a requirement and there is no pay at all for being on call in most cases. However if you should be unreachable after hours don't expect to last very long." (Telecommunications Technician; 2014)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Telecommunications at Appalachian Technical College in Georgia; completed Certificate degree in 2000

"Lack Of Formally Trained Broadcast Engineers...
I am surprised by the lack of qualified technicians in my field. Most people we hire come from an IT/networking background but there is a lack of trained electronics engineers in the broadcast field." (Broadcast Engineer; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Electrical Engineering at Glendale College in California; completed Associate degree in 2000

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Technical Customer Account Executive: "The best parts of the job are when you are able to assist the customer and fix their problem or answer their questions to their satisfaction. The constant change in technology and keeping current are another positive aspect to the job. You don't get a chance to get bored and are constantly being trained in the newest products and technologies which help you in assisting the consumer. The worst part is when you are unable to assist and satisfy a customer even though you have exhausted all avenues within the company policies and procedures. This is always a challenging experience any time you are dealing with the public." (2011)

Cable TV Technician: "The best parts of my job are things like working outside as well as inside the homes of our customers. Also, meeting people and helping them with their needs gives me a sense of satisfaction. Some parts of my job that can be tough are usually those that I have no control over. Bad weather is at the top of that list. It causes the day to slow down and can create trouble with my work schedule. Hectic traffic and unsafe drivers are another thing that can cause problems on any given day." (2011)

QC Tech: "Some of the best parts of my job are that I am outside more the majority of the day. I have a fairly large area I cover, so I can be in a different place almost daily. I am on my own, which is nice, but sometimes also boring, but no boss hanging over me. Just need to be self-motivated. The worst part of all this is constantly keeping track of every job I stopped at, what I found, who was contacted, on what day, address and so on. I have to send in daily and weekly reports on what was found." (2011)

AT&T U-Verse Premises Technician: "The best thing about my job is the independence it gives me from office cubicle work. I work in my truck, outside, and in people's homes. By working in peoples homes, I meet a variety of people and enjoy a work day that is different every day. The worst thing about the job is the long hours. I work six days a week, nine to eleven hours a day. The length of my work day is dictated by the workload and not by desk or white collar conventions." (2010)

Career Background

Telecom Technician

  Job Tasks
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  How to Prepare for the Job
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Career Video

Career Tips

"It's Not A Job, It's A Lifestyle...
If you want to get into telecommunications it is best to do when you are young and have no plans for a family, future dreams outside of work, or hobbies that you really enjoy. It may be good for older workers who do not enjoy the company of their spouse, are divorced, have no kids at home, have no life at all, or are desperate for money." (Telecommunications Technician; 2014)

"What You Will Need In The Telecomm World...
To be a telecomm tech, you need to learn how to use every basic hand tool that exists. Knowledge of drills and other power tools are also necessary." (Telecommunications Technician; 2013)

"Traditional Colleges Are The Best, Well-Rounded Choice For A Start In A Career...
The best route has been and always be to gain a real degree at a traditional, reputable four year college. That degree, combined with a technical certification will lead to hundreds of more opportunities and career advancements. The traditional degree of liberal arts creates a more rounded person in the workforce and the ability to either multi-task or even specialize and focus in your chosen field." (Librarian With Electronic Technician And Telecommunication; 2013)

"Try To Know Every Aspect Of Your Company, Not Just Your Job...
In order to achieve your goals you need to diversify your skill sets. Companies are always looking for someone who can do their job and also be proficient enough to handle aspects of everyone else's. Cross train as much as possible and learn from everyone." (Communications System Technician; 2013)

"Learn Your Trade From People With "In The Field" Experience...
To become a successful Telecom/Internet installer, make sure the program at your local technical college is reputable and that you are receiving training from people that have worked directly in the field. Additionally, you might want to consider learning a second language -- it'll only make communication with customers and subscribers easier -- if you plan to work in a diverse area." (Telecom/Internet Technician; 2013)

"Learn Networking And Computers...
To be a telecom tech today, you MUST be computer literate, and have a good understanding of data networks. Telephony alone will not cut it anymore." (Telecommunications Tech; 2013)

"Speak Well...
Learn to speak English properly. It goes a long way to show you are competent in your job." (Telecom Technician; 2013)

"Electronics Design A Key Skill For Broadcast Engineers...
If you want to be a great (not just good) broadcast engineer, focus on your electronics design and debugging skills. Many times it is cheaper to repair a piece of equipment than send it back to the manufacturer for service. This skill-set alone will keep you employed and in high demand." (Broadcast Engineer; 2013)

"Be Empathetic Toward Customers...
My first tip would be to pursue your interests. If you enjoy technology explore what schools and courses you can take to learn what you need in the workplace. Decide if you can use these skills and if you could apply them in helping others. Secondly never stop learning things not just on the job but in your personal life. Keep a balance of each and find ways to maintain that balance. My last suggestion to anyone who has to deal with customers is to first place yourself in the customers shoes and let the customer fully explain their problem or situation to you so that you can help them resolve their issue. Even though you must be fully aware of your limits within the company always show compassion to the customer." (Technical Customer Account Executive; 2011)

"Learn About Computers...
As you pursue your studies in telecommunications make sure to fit in as many computer classes as you can. I have watched this industry change from simple connections to the back of a TV to advanced computer hook-ups. Also, look for the type of courses that are heavy in hands on work. Reading about electronic work in a book is very helpful but actually performing the tasks can give you the strong head start you need." (Cable TV Technician; 2011)

"Self-Discipline If You Work On Your Own...
I would say just being self-motivated is important. It's easy in what I am doing to 'slack off', being I am out on my own for the majority of the time. There have been days when I didn't get as much work done for one reason or another, and it's easy to get in to a rut of doing it for days on end since no one is immediately there to say anything. That's where you need the internal voice to say "OK let's get going here" and listening to it! Paying attention to detail of the work that was done, and having good people skills, since I am constantly talking with customers, both happy ones, and some not so happy." (QC Tech; 2011)

"Watch Out For High Voltage Lines...
1. Keep a safe driving record. Any job that requires you to drive a company vehicle will be closed to you if you have moving violations or accidents on your record. 2. Learn some customer service skills. For customer service professionals, friendliness is as important as technical proficiency. 3. Learn some basic electrical theory. An understanding of electrical flow is vital to your safety when you're working in proximity to high-voltage systems." (AT&T U-Verse Premises Technician; 2010)