Getting into a Telecommunications - Need Advice

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by 0621, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. 0621

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 12, 2014
    2
    0
    [A duplicate thread was also created in the Electronics Resources sub-forum, but it was actually intended for this sub-forum. Sorry for the double-post, admins.]



    Hi everyone,

    I've been trying to find more information on how to go about getting into Telecommunications. I've searched a couple forums, Yahoo Answers, Google, and emailed some friends in the industry and a few people found on the internet, but I'd like to hear the advice from you veterans in the field.

    A little background about myself: I've always been interested in technology. If something broke, I'd always tear it open just to see if I could fix it. I have a huge interest in computers as well. I haven't delved too deep into computers yet, but I've learned a lot of beginner computer skills on my own like downgrading an Operating System using a USB flash drive because the CD drive was broken. I can spend days watching the NatGeo and the Science Channel. I also spend hours on Youtube, watching videos on Vsauce or documentaries by Michio Kaku.

    Recently, I was discharged from the Marine Corps. I was a Field Radio Operator. I worked on RF and Satellite communications equipment. This entailed installing radio equipment into command centers and vehicles, programming handheld VHF/UHF radios and 2-way Motorolas for the ground troops, propping up smaller antennas and 200-ft vehicle-mounted antennas, and encrypting communications using COMSEC.

    I've been through a lot of formal military training courses (although they don't amount to any type of recognized certification) like HAZMAT courses and HF communications over long distances in mountainous terrain. I also also an instructor the last year I was in the Marine Corps, where I instructed over 200 troops on basic radio functions, RF theory and COMSEC.

    After I got out, I decided that I want to stay in Telecom. I went on to work for a contracting company for Comcast Cable. I was a cable technician, where I installed cables in, outside, above and below houses, and climbing up telephone poles to provide TV, phone and internet service. I liked the job, but they pay was disrespecting and there was no room for growth.

    Eventually, I quit and got an entry-level desk job for a mortgage company. This has enabled me to pursue college. I am now in my 2nd year of college, majoring in Computer Science (although most of the classes I've taken so far were general education).

    So here I am today. I am 25 years old, working full time and going to school full time studying Computer Science. Next week, I take my exam for my FCC General Radio Oeprator License (GROL). In the near future, I plan on taking the Associate's Certified Electronics Technician (CETa) exam given by ETA-i. After, I'd like to get my Journeyman Certification for Wireless Communications and Telecommunications.

    Am I on the right path? Even though I do have experience in telecom, I got out of the military over two years ago and I feel like I am losing it since I am no longer doing it. What types of Entry-Level jobs can I get in this field, given my experience? I've done a bit of research on Apprenticeship, but the pay is only 45% of a Journeyman. Are there any other certifications I should get? A friend from the military, who now works in Quantico, VA as a contractor, suggested that I get Security+ certified, as that is the most important one.

    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. trader007

    Active Member

    Feb 27, 2010
    222
    19
    Stay away from the electrical union. They like newbs, so they can push them through 5 years of school only to treat them like crap and take their tuition money. You have too much experience for that. Trust me on this, I have been an IBEW member for over 10 years, and I regret most of it. I will never go back.

    You should be able to find a job starting around $40k/yr if you get the certs you are going for. Apply for the data companies like ATT or Verizon if they are in your area. There are also local data line installation companies that would hire you. I woulnd't go for the cable tv install jobs (oops, i see now you did, and you know why those jobs arent great), but there are some companies that run ethernet and setup wireless for local businesses, and those are pretty good jobs... but I think if you get your schooling done like youre saying you shouldnt have a problem getting hired by one of the big teleco's. At least with those guys, theres some chance at promotions and pretty much whatever you do there you will get paid nicely.
     
  3. 0621

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 12, 2014
    2
    0
    Thanks for the advice, trader007.

    You're right about the cable tv gigs. One of the worst jobs to get into and it didn't help that I was working for a contracting company. 6 days a week, working atleast 10-12 hours a day.

    Although I am cotinuing college, I won't have my Associates for another 2 years (since I work full time) and then my bachelor's for a total of 4 years from now.

    Is it possible to land an okay paying job with certs and experience alone?
     
  4. trader007

    Active Member

    Feb 27, 2010
    222
    19
    Sure it is. I am actually in a similar position. I have been finding quite a few electronic maintenance jobs lately... last one was for a mental health facility, they needed someone to manage their security system... keep the cameras working and what not. I mean I can't seem to get hired but I think the competition is high around here.
     
  5. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    4,769
    969
    "telecom" is a broad industry..
    search for the more specific job you want on monster or whatever job site and check out the requirements/skills needed.
    there do seem to be plenty of job opportunities around in telecom now.. we are booming at work.

    To me "experience" is what everyone wants now.. We don't have time to "teach/mentor/hand hold" a recent EE graduate or pick up a soccer mom that needed a job cause her husband lost his.. sad world now but thats what it is.. Companies are keeping cost down and targeting the employees that can do the work of multiple other "un-seasoned" employees. Wearing multiple hats is the future.. for now anyways.
     
    absf likes this.
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