Telecommunications Specialist: Master of Connections

Organizations rely on telecommunications specialists to ensure infrastructure is in place and working optimally to support data, voice and video communications for the business.

Running data lines, installing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones, and solving videoconferencing glitches are just some of the things a telecommunications specialist may be called on to do on any given business day. “Telecommunications specialists bring value to an organization by reducing communications costs, enhancing productivity and increasing the reliability of data, voice and video communications,” says Sally Lander, senior technical recruiter at Robert Half Technology’s Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area location.

Telecommunications specialist salary: on the rise in 2014

Many employers are hiring in-house telecommunications specialists because they see value in having these professionals on call to quickly resolve communications issues for the business, Lander says. They are also paying more for this talent: According to Robert Half Technology’s Salary Guide, telecommunications specialists in the United States can expect a 4.6 percent increase in average starting salary this year, ranging from $56,500 to $85,750.* (Go to Robert Half Technology’s Salary Center to find telecommunications specialist salary information specific to your city and to download a copy of the Salary Guide.)

What it takes to be a telecommunications specialist

The core responsibilities of the telecommunications specialist are installing, configuring and maintaining voice, data and video equipment, including the installation and testing of associated cabling. Key qualifications for this role include:

  • Detailed understanding of telecommunications theory and practice
  • Strong technical skills
  • Proficient interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Associate’s degree in electronics or a related field preferred
  • Several years of hands-on experience with communications equipment preferred

Additionally, professional experience working with the specific hardware used in an organization’s telecommunications system can be highly valuable. Many employers also seek candidates who have experience with cabling and transmission test equipment. Telecommunications specialists are typically expected to make necessary equipment repairs and resolve circuit issues. Strong soft skills are needed when investigating trouble ticket items and communicating resolutions. Additionally, solid writing skills are essential for maintaining system logs and records.

Importance of business acumen, certifications

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a telecommunications specialist, you’ll need to have an understanding of the business of the company you’ll be working for as well as relevant technical skills. Lander says, “A solid understanding of a firm’s business processes, like product reviews and fire code standards, is critical to setting up the most effective VoIP solution.” Internships, mentoring arrangements and volunteer opportunities can help you gain real-world experience and insights before launching your career as a telecommunications specialist. Certifications can help make you more marketable. According to Lander, “Cisco Certified Network Associate Voice (CCNA Voice) and Cisco Certified Network Professional Voice (CCNP Voice) are the most sought-after professional certifications for telecommunications specialists.” Cisco network administration skills also can help to increase your starting salary by 9 percent, according to research by Robert Half Technology.

Look to Robert Half Technology’s latest Salary Guide for job descriptions and starting compensation trends for a wide range of IT jobs — including telecommunications specialist. *In Canada, the telecommunications specialist salary is projected to increase 4.1 percent in 2014, with average starting compensation ranging from $63,000 to $87,750.