Telecommunications is all about sending electronic information from one point to another over great distances. Every time you use your cell phone to send a text, make a call, or do anything else for that matter, you’re actively engaged in wireless telecommunications. It’s an industry that’s exploding in Canada; between 1985 and 2003, wireless carriers in Canada invested nearly $40 billion in new technology and infrastructure. In 2013 alone, the industry as a whole contributed a whopping $22.4 billion in GDP to the Canadian economy.
Job demand in this exciting field is skyrocketing with the release of new technologies daily. To facilitate this kind of job growth, some colleges have created programs tailored specifically to the wireless telecommunications industry. One such program is theWireless Telecommunications graduate certificate program at Humber College. Kevin Ramdas, program coordinator, shares his thoughts on the industry and what it’s like to be a wireless telecommunications technician.
A wealth of opportunity
Ramdas has a bachelor of arts degree in electrical and computer engineering from Queen’s University and an master’s in electronics from Carleton. He spent years in the industry as a radio frequency engineer for Telus before teaching at Humber. He said he’s seen first-hand the vast opportunities that exist in the field.
“It’s a place where you can open up opportunities—where there’s a lot of growth and a lot of new technology coming in.” says Ramdas. “You get to see the evolution of how we communicate. What telecommunications looked like 10 years ago to what it looks like now is vastly different.”
If you’re in for a career that’s as challenging as it is rewarding, this may be the fit for you. Because of the constant demand for newer technology to keep the industry evolving, wireless telecommunications technicians are now required to do multiple tasks on the job.
“Over the years, people were only trained in one area of expertise ... Now the job requirements are a lot more complicated because the telecom industry is trying to find a bunch of people that can answer to a number of needs,” Ramdas says.
For example, a technician could be responsible for things like radio frequency measuring, fibre optic testing, and networking all at once. Needless to say, working days would go by pretty fast with a slim chance you wouldn’t have anything to do.
To make sure the program is up-to-date with industry standards, the school continually connects with industry pros. Students divide their time between classroom and lab work, having one reinforce the other to make sure they solidify the skills they need to succeed as a technician in the field. Success highly depends on a solidified skill base and how good your personal network is. Ramdas advises students interested in working in the wireless telecommunications industry to start networking early.
“It’s necessary for students to meet as many people as possible and you can do that in a number of ways. You can go to trade shows. You can go to industry seminars. You can sign up for those and meet a lot of people in the industry and learn some stuff and use that as the beginning of your network.”
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