Where are the jobs?
There are immense options for freshers. If you have an understanding of how the telecom industry works and broad-level experience, the horizon gets broader for you.
You can work for:
1. Telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone
2. Telecom equipment manufacturers such as Nokia Siemens Networks, Huawei, Ericsson and Cisco
3. Passive infrastructure providers such as Indus Towers, Viom Networks and Bharti Infratel
4. Value-added services companies such as OnMobile, Comviva Technologies and Hungama
5. Service vendors such as GTL and Innovis
6. Network operation and management companies such as Colt Technologies
7. System integrators such as Accenture, IBM and Tech Mahindra
You can typically join the industry as a graduate engineer trainee. Thereafter, you can move to many different roles including project/operations management, product technical support, network management, solution architect and R&D engineer. There is also scope for rotation across these areas.
The following are broad functional requirements in the industry:
1. Network planning and optimisation. This involves designing a telecom network with the use of industry-standard tools, maps and processes. It also includes a regular benchmarking of network performance and network optimisation to meet the growing need for more coverage and capacity.
2. Network deployment. The job involves installation, commissioning and integration of telecom infrastructure components. Apart from technical knowledge of products, this function provides an opportunity to learn how to manage projects and teams.
3. Network operation and maintenance. Any telecom infrastructure cannot perform at its optimal capacity until it is given the best operational support and maintenance. The job of the operations and maintenance engineers is to monitor, troubleshoot and analyse the operations of the deployed telecom network.
4. Equipment testing. This involves testing of telecom equipment like base stations, transmission equipment and core network equipment.
5. Value-added services. This involves integration of new-age services like mobile commerce, entertainment, IPTV, gaming and multimedia into the core telecom network.
What the industry demands
A fresh graduate is likely to be offered the role of a base transceiver station engineer, drive test engineer, RF engineer, operations and maintenance engineer, switch engineer, GNOC engineer, etc. Usually, these jobs require a lot of travel depending upon the requirements of projects and vendors. Companies prefer candidates who have practical knowledge and are ready to be deployed in various functions. Hence those who have undergone some training or internship programme and have hands-on exposure are preferred.
The author is an assistant editor at EFY