Communications Engineers

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Communications engineers design and modify electrical communications systems for scientific, military, industrial or commercial use. The level of in-depth technical and design work varies; after a few years of experience many communications engineers will start to move into managerial and consultancy roles.

Responsibilities typically include:

  • managing, monitoring the performance of and working as part of a team of communication engineers and planners

  • agreeing project budgets, timescales and specifications with clients and managers

  • undertaking site surveys

  • producing, testing and implementing designs

  • creating test procedures

  • producing disaster management plans

  • ensuring that objectives and deadlines are met

  • attending conferences and briefings on new products and networks

  • writing reports and documentation

  • making presentations

  • managing resources

  • liaising with suppliers, customers, directors and other teams of staff

  • undertaking relevant research

  • analysing and interpreting data

  • providing technical support

  • organising and attending meetings.


Qualifications and training required


Most communications engineers possess a good honours degree in a relevant subject, such as communications engineering, electrical engineering, electronic engineering, physics, telecommunications or computer science.

A postgraduate qualification can also be helpful, and may be necessary for research positions.

Relevant experience is valuable. Some employers offer final year project work, sponsorship, vacation work or industrial placements, which can provide valuable contacts and a useful insight into the profession.


Key skills for communications engineers


Employers seek committed, business-minded candidates with strong technical abilities. To become a communications engineer, you must also have:

  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills

  • analytical and problem-solving skills

  • organisational and managerial skills

  • presentation skills

  • the ability to work well under pressure

  • teamworking skills.


Typical employers of communications engineers


Most communications engineers work for telecommunications companies and manufacturers and installers of communication devices and systems. Self-employment via consultancy/contract work is possible for individuals with several years' experience.


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