Communications engineers are primarily concerned with providing technical expertise, services and solutions revolving around various modes of communication and information transfer, including:
– Wireless telephony services
– Radio and satellite communications
– Internet and broadband technologies.
Most of the work is carried out on a project basis with tight deadlines and well-defined milestones for the delivery of project objectives.
Communications engineers are involved across all aspects of service delivery, from carrying out feasibility exercises and determining connectivity and signal access, to preparing detailed, technical and operational documentation.
Communications engineers are usually employed by telecom service providers, equipment and infrastructure manufacturers, communications software developers, public sector bodies and transport organisations.
Salary & benefits
Trainee communications engineers and professionals with a few years of post-training experience tend to earn between £21,000 and £30,000 per annum.
Incorporated engineers earn around £30,000 to £50,000 and chartered engineers earn around £40,000 to £70,000 depending on their level of experience.
Communications engineers tend to work nine-to-five. However, in order to meet project delivery targets, you may be required to work extra hours from time to time. Travel across the country may also be required, typically on site surveys and periodic inspections.
An undergraduate or postgraduate degree in telecommunications, electronic engineering, computer science, physics, I.T. or another technical subject tends to be the minimum academic requirement.
However, you might be able to enter this profession as a lower-level technician via an apprenticeship scheme or with another vocational qualification.
Your degree should ideally be supplemented with work experience placements and proven analytical, technical and problem-solving skills, to ensure that your CV stands out among the tonnes received by prospective employers.
Training & progression
Many employers offer structured graduate training programmes lasting between 12 and 24 months. These schemes usually involve formal business and technical skills training sessions and gaining hands-on experience through planned rotations across crucial functions.
It’s also likely that your employer will support you through the completion of relevant professional qualifications to become a chartered engineer. They may also sponsor you to complete industry-standard technology certifications.
Career progression is driven by performance, professional experience and expertise. Once you have become a chartered engineer, you may progress into a managerial role within three to five years.