The role of the telecom equipment installer and repairer has progressed far from the days of the friendly mechanic-like fellow in his little company van with a cherry picker on the top. With the advent of cable television and, later, the Internet, the focus of these companies has shifted from the telephone to a collection of communication services that all use the same general infrastructure to function. To this end, modern telecom equipment installers and repairers are proficient in one or more of these services.
- The virgin installation of equipment in homes and buildings, both those that are under construction and those whose construction have been completed
- The setup of installed dialing and communication equipment
- Inspection and other maintenance of installed equipment, both to ensure safety and to ensure proper functionality
- Methodological work to existing communication infrastructure to optimize performance
- Education of the consumer in the proper use of the equipment that has just been installed, maintained, or optimized such that the technician doesn’t have to come running right back
As a highly technical trade that is in both the realm of the information technology engineer and the realm of the mechanic, the credentials necessary to become a telecom equipment installer and repairer are themselves quite complex. The classic role of the telephone station installer and repairer, which itself is no longer recognized by the American Job Center network, is steeped in primarily the realm of the mechanic and requires less education than the new, jack-of-all-trades that is increasingly demanded by the field. These in-demand individuals are expected to have 2-year or even 4-year degrees in electronics repair, computer science, or other, similar topics. Additionally, particular hardware manufacturers offer a number of courses on the installation and use of specific products, thus allowing a telecom equipment installer and repairer to readily specialize in the equipment his employer prefers.
As with all things information technology, continuing education is a duty of this profession. The technician must ensure that he either gets hands-on experience with all the latest hardware or at least attend classes set forth by hardware manufacturers. In the worse case scenario, there’s always a rather dry manual that can be read. All of these requirements do result in particularly good pay, with a median wage of $54,710 annually and $72,940 annually for the top 10%.
In order to tap this top 10% pay bracket, a successful telecom equipment installer and repairer must have both experience and the drive to gain the technical know-how necessary to remain relevant in the fast-paced world of computer electronics. Those who do this will find themselves gainfully employed doing effectively the same thing with newer and newer hardware over the course of a long and fruitful career that brings home the bacon to a particularly admirable extent. Given this profession is hired for technical skills and not bureaucratic or people skills, it is highly unlikely that the work will shift to being administrative in nature.
The role of telecom equipment installer and repairer appears to be poised to grow at an about average rate, 15% from 2010 to 2020 when the average rate quoted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is 14%. This suggests calm and steady growth that is not impacted by any automation processes. The addition of new things to a grid is something a machine will have great trouble doing; as such, this career is safe from machines encroaching upon other hands-on professions for quite some time.