What they do
Telecommunications engineers design, test and build the various technologies that allow people to communicate over distances. They may work in fields such as telephone and internet networks, radio and television broadcasting and satellite communications. Telecommunications engineers usually work for the major telecommunications companies, or for large organisations with private communication networks, such as remote mine sites in the Pilbara region. They design telecommunication networks, deciding on the technology to be used and where cables or broadcasting equipment needs to be placed, and oversee installation. These workers may also be responsible for testing and repairing faults.
Telecommunications engineers often work in offices, where they can use computers to monitor networks and broadcasting equipment remotely. However, some travel may be required to visit sites throughout the state, particularly when installing new equipment or repairing faults. They typically work regular business hours, although evening and weekend work is often required to meet tight deadlines. Some telecommunications engineers may also be required to be on call in case of emergencies requiring them to locate and repair faults after hours. They usually work as part of a team, often supervising a number of technicians and installers.
Tools and technologies
Telecommunications engineers work with a variety of communication networks and equipment including, copper-wire networks, fibre-optics, satellites and wireless communication technologies. They often use computers to monitor these systems and to assist in the designing of equipment and the planning of new networks. Special equipment is also used to monitor signal strength with some technologies and to assist in locating faults.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a telecommunications engineer, you usually need to study a degree in engineering, majoring in electronics and communication engineering, or a related field. You may need to complete postgraduate study to specialise electronic and communication engineering.
Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.