11 Careers in Telecommunications

Updated March 10, 2023

The demand for telecommunications professionals increases proportionally with the advent of new communications technologies. Various roles exist within the telecommunications industry, including customer service, technical roles, managers and engineers. Many positions offer stable income and interesting work for those interested in computer science and information technology. In this article, we discuss what telecommunications is and list several telecommunications careers with average salaries and primary duties for each.

What is telecommunications?

Telecommunications refers to sending and receiving messages using an electrical device. It encompasses transmitting voice, video, data, internet and other communications.

Telecommunications activity consists of four components:

  • Transmitter: A transmitter transforms the original message into a signal using a specific code.

  • Channel: A channel alters the signal for connection to the line.

  • Line: The signal travels along the line, or route, to the receiver.

  • Receiver: The receiver decodes the signal and transforms it back into the original signal.

Telecommunications professionals can work in a variety of specialties along this chain of transmission. Many telecommunications companies focus on implementing the latest technological updates, including:

  • The internet of things (IoT)

  • Augmented reality

  • Wireless networks

Some telecommunications careers begin without formal training, opting for on-the-job experience. Depending on the type of position and their career goals, others may choose to earn a professional certificate, associate degree, bachelor's degree or graduate degree in telecommunications or computer science. Telecommunications programs focus on the following areas:

  • Basics of telecommunications

  • Technology applications

  • Industry best practices

  • Principles of management

  • Engineering

What is the job outlook for careers in telecommunications?

The job outlook for telecommunications careers depends on the type of job you have within the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the mean average salary for all telecommunications positions is $74,130 per year, with the highest earners working in telecommunications law positions and engineering roles.

The BLS estimates the rate of job growth for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers will decrease by 3% between 2019 and 2029. The rate of growth for broadcast and sound engineers is set to increase by 9% over the same period, faster than the average rate for all jobs, which is 4%.

11 telecommunications careers

Here are 11 careers in telecommunications with average salaries and primary duties for each:

1. Customer service representative

National average salary: $13.64 per hour

Primary duties: Customer service representatives work with clients and customers to find solutions for client needs. They may work in a store, at a call center or at home answering phone and email messages from clients. They respond to complaints, assist with troubleshooting, direct clients to the appropriate department and process payments and refunds. Customer service representatives should be patient and personable and have strong communication skills.

Read more: Learn About Being a Customer Service Representative

2. Telecommunications operator

National average salary: $18.56 per hour

Primary duties: Telecommunications operators answer phone calls and route outgoing calls. They may provide callers with information, transfer callers, take messages and record outgoing messages for an organization. Telecommunications operators may also manage a directory of contacts.

3. Computer programmer

National average salary: $48,295 per year

Primary duties: Computer programmers design, test and install computer programs. They use programming languages, like JavaScript and C language, to write programs that provide solutions for businesses, like automating tasks, managing data or creating customer interfaces. Computer programmers typically have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field.

Read more: Learn About Being a Computer Programmer

4. Cable installer

National average salary: $24.71 per hour

Primary duties: Cable installers perform the physical labor required to provide cable service to customers. This may involve digging trenches and burying cables, feeding lines underground and through walls and securing lines to telephone poles and towers. Cable installers should have mechanical skills, knowledge of basic construction and be comfortable working in extreme conditions.

5. Telecommunications technician

National average salary: $24.89 per hour

Primary duties: Telecommunications technicians may be line installers or equipment installers. Line installers install, repair and maintain the outdoor cable and electric lines and boxes. Equipment technicians install and repair the physical components of indoor networks, such as modems and routers.

6. Data analyst

National average salary: $75,260 per year

Primary duties: Data analysts work with organizations to gather and analyze large amounts of data, often aimed at identifying the company's trends and offering solutions. They can integrate new software and make recommendations for improving processes to increase efficiency. Data analysts typically have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, statistics or a relate field.

Read more: Learn About Being a Data Analyst

7. Telecommunications manager

National average salary: $79,796 per year

Primary duties: Telecommunications managers oversee telecommunications teams, departments or offices. They manage the daily operations, such as service call schedules and technician routing, recruiting and training new staff members and responding to customer complaints. Telecommunications managers should be knowledgeable of telecommunications processes, systems and equipment.

8. Telecommunications specialist

National average salary: $81,690 per year

Primary duties: Telecommunications specialists are responsible for making recommendations for telecommunications software and hardware, overseeing telecommunications installation and monitoring the function of machinery and systems. Telecommunications specialists develop policies, procedures and strategies related to an organization's use of telecommunications systems.

9. Systems manager

National average salary: $88,169 per year

Primary duties: Systems managers monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization's systems. They run and analyze performance reports, schedule system maintenance and troubleshoot problems. Systems managers must research and implement new technology to keep systems updated and relevant.

10. Telecommunications engineer

National average salary: $96,179 per year

Primary duties: Telecommunications engineers may specialize in different areas. Some engineers may plan cable routes, and others may design new hardware or equipment. Telecommunications engineers often earn a bachelor's degree in telecommunications or computer science, in addition to earning certifications for the use of specific software and operating systems.

11. VoIP engineer

National average salary: $122,923 per year

Primary duties: VoIP (voice over internet protocol) engineers work with organizations to design, test, install and maintain their VoIP systems, which allow users to make phone calls over an internet connection rather than traditional phone lines. This may include local and regional systems. VoIP engineers are proficient in computer science, VoIP software and information technology.

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