The word ‘telecommunications’ has evolved dramatically over the years. While it may sound quite archaic, potentially conjuring images of telephone operators in the early 20th century connecting callers across the country, it is now a highly sophisticated industry.


What is the Telecommunications sector?

In the modern sense of the word, the telecommunication industry encompasses all telephone operators – mobile and landline (yes, some people still use landline) – as well as internet service providers. This means a mix of voice calls, but also increasingly text and images. Most of the services we use every day, including our mobile phones, laptops and connected devices, fall under the Telecommunications industry umbrella.

Now this is a biiiiig sector, with many sub-sectors within it. It is at the heart of many other industries too, enabling growth, innovation, the sharing of data and worldwide connectivity between people. The Telecommunications industry has been described as the world’s biggest machine, connecting everyone and everything. So it’s pretty all encompassing.

It has evolved dramatically in the last century – from sending telegrams, we have now developed near-instantaneous methods of communication, something many businesses and individuals would find hard to cope without. Because of this, getting involved in the Telecommunications industry places you at the beating heart of modern life.

The Telecommunications industry has been described as the world’s biggest machine, connecting everyone and everything


Job roles in the Telecommunications sector

There are many sub-sections within the Telecommunications industry, from wireless communications, to physical communications equipment, to domestic and foreign telecom services and more. As you would probably guess, the main bulk of the Telecommunications industry in the 21st century falls into wireless communications.

Here are some of the main roles available within the Telecommunications industry:

    • Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any company or industry – Telecommunications included. CSRs as they’re known, occupy one of the largest areas in this industry, answering inbound calls from existing customers to help with technical and contractual queries. This is the perfect role for someone with a bit of technical know-how, as well as a being a friendly people-person.

    • From fixing a company server to a satellite, the Telecommunications industry is always looking for engineers. These on-the-ground people help keep connected devices of all sizes functioning to the best of their ability and are hugely important – even the slightest fluctuation in service can have significant knock-on effects.

    • This is another on-the-ground role, and involves laying the groundwork for phoneline and computer systems. This is very much part of the construction phase of many Telecommunications projects, and involves laying cables, erecting signal towers and even installing systems for customers either in their home or place of work.

    • Sales is one of the other most important aspects of any company or industry. Money makes the world go round, as they say. The primary responsibilities of a telecoms sales job will be to sell product and services to either businesses or consumers, helping to close contracts and maintain customer expectations. A good understanding of the product or service, industry overall and how people tick is key.

    • Running parallel to sales are account managers, who usually look after a specific account or groups of accounts for a company. The role involves meeting and communicating with customers to ensure they have everything they need from a business to succeed – in the telecommunications industry this could mean providing them with the most up-to-date smartphone, latest broadband technology or extra data. Whatever their needs are, account managers help deliver it.

    • With such a lucrative and exciting industry, it’s no wonder businesses in the sector are seeking marketing specialists left, right and centre to help boost company profiles. Delivering advertisements, content and building media and consumer relationships to help improve a company’s standing, marketers are integral to the industry.

    • Not only does this role involve the management of business networks such as phone lines or servers, but it will also involve the management of people within the team to deliver top-notch technical support to customers. Any faults in systems will need to be addressed with haste to ensure minimal down-time, and the role may also involve the creation or implementation of new networks into the business.

    • Finally, telecommunications specialists help to design future communication systems and advise on current ones. From voice and data to video and more, these individuals know everything there is to know about the industry and a business’ own products and services.


Qualifications for a job in Telecommunications

For many of the jobs listed above, there are no specific degrees required – rather a passion for the industry – although degrees in Engineering, Computer Science and Telecommunications (obviously) can work well in your favour.

You can also gain what is known as an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in telecommunications, which can act as a qualifier for roles such as a network engineer, telecoms specialist and more.


Skills you need for a job in Telecommunications

Well first things first, you really need to get the Telecommunications industry. You need to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the sector and show a real passion for it, remaining updated on industry developments and key talking points.

More specifically, a knowledge of wide-area network (WAN) and local-area network (LAN) infrastructures is desirable, along with familiarity with some vendors (such as Cisco, Juniper and Ciena), cloud computing and programming.

Cabling skills and knowledge of cabling standards and the National Electric Code can also come in useful.

More broadly, having an aptitude for problem solving and an analytical mind is also highly desirable. Similarly, an ability to recognise and address issues swiftly is a must, as if something goes wrong it will most likely need fixing immediately .

Along with this is an ability to communicate clearly and a strong team working ability, as roles within this industry will often require speaking to people off-site or remotely to understand the needs of customers and deliver the best service possible.


Industry Insights

From connected homes to smart cities, joining the Telecommunications industry now is a sure-fire way to be at the centre of game-changing developments.

This industry is booming. It is expanding and affecting our daily lives a little more every day – from smartphones to wearable tech, telecommunications products and services are vital to modern life. One of the big talking points is the Internet of Things (IoT), which is developing slowly but surely, and is another aspect of the industry due to alter the way we work and communicate forever; from connected homes to smart cities, joining the Telecommunications industry now is a sure-fire way to be at the centre of game-changing developments.


Work experience in Telecommunications

Many telecommunications businesses are happy to provide students with work experience and industrial placement opportunities. Whether it be out and about with engineers in your local town, or in the marketing hub of a multinational corporation, get in touch with different companies and try to gain experience across a number of different branches within a business. Taking part in work experience will help exponentially when it comes to future career planning.


Pros and Cons of the Telecommunications sector


It’s one of the biggest and most exciting industries to work on at the moment.

There are constant industry updates to stay on top of.

The average graduate starting salary falls between £20,000, to a maximum of £30,000.

It can be a very high-pressure environment if something goes wrong.

Telecommunications lies at the heart of almost every industry, so allows for cross-industry work.

Some people believe the advancement of telecommunications is to the detriment of human contact.

And there it is! An everything-you-need-to-know guide to the Telecommunications industry. 

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