Telecommunications: Smoke Signals To Instant Messaging


Telecommunications is a rapidly evolving field. We started with smoke signals and moved up to instant global wireless face-to-face communication. Granted, it’s taken us some time to get here, but the biggest leaps have occurred in the past decade, so imagine where we’ll be in five years’ time.

Of course, as telecommunication has progressed, so have the skills required to keep the systems up and running.

Blowing smoke

Even in the very old days, telecommunication took some skill. You had to know how to build and maintain a bonfire. You had to learn the semaphore signals. You had to master the telegram. You had to get to grips with the innards of telephones and switchboards. You had to learn about circuits and cables and analogue system. And now you’ve got to learn about digital systems, motherboards, and IT security and software applications.

And, if you really want to be proficient at your job, you have to know a bit about most of the above. This is simply because most of the above are still in use.

Not blowing smoke

Ok, so if you’re an IT guy who specialises in maintaining instant messaging systems you probably don’t need to know anything about bonfires or semaphores. But it sure would help if you knew something about telephones and could at least wrap your mind around the backwards analogue telecommunications tools.

If you’re going to join the navy or army or any arm of the military in any communications capacity, however, you’ll be trained in many different forms. For example, you’ll need to know Morse code, how to send and receive telegrams, how to use semaphores, how to thwart and manipulate telephonic communication and how to master anything digital and wireless.

Necessary skills

According to the Australian Government’s Job Guide website, telecommunications technicians need a host of technical and personal skills. There are obviously specialised fields, but, by and large, if you want to get into the industry you need to be able to do things like:

  • Install a variety of telecommunications services, from analogue to digital.
  • Install new equipment and assess and repair malfunctioning equipment.
  • Diagnose problems.
  • Fix problems.
  • Understand all the little technical details, like where all the screws go and how to lay cables.
  • Integrate different systems, like telephones and digital software.

In terms of personal skills, technicians need to be people people. They’ll be dealing with people as much as they will with communications systems, so they need to be pleasant, personable and patient. They shouldn’t be scared of heights or confined spaces because it’s likely that they’ll have to work in both. Long hours are almost a given and they must be willing to travel a lot. Perhaps most importantly, they should have a keen interest in technology and its constant evolution so they can stay up to date with advancements.

This guest post was written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Skilled Migrant Jobs, a niche job portal that helps immigrants find sponsorship jobs in New Zealand and Australia.

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