Communications engineer: job description

Communications engineer: job description
Communications engineers are responsible for the research, design, development and production of communications equipment/systems.
There is strong demand within the profession for incorporated and/or chartered communications engineers.

What does a communications engineer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

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/planners
  • organising/attending meetings
  • agreeing project budgets, timescales and specifications with clients/managers
  • undertaking site surveys
  • ensuring that objectives and deadlines are met
  • attending conferences and briefings on new products/networks
  • writing reports and documentation
  • making presentations
  • managing resources
  • liaising with suppliers, customers, directors and other teams of staff
  • undertaking relevant research
  • producing and implementing designs
  • creating test procedures
  • analysing and interpreting data
  • providing technical support
  • problem solving
  • producing disaster management plans

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

Jobs are advertised online, by careers services and recruitment agencies, in newspapers and in relevant publications including The Engineer and TARGETjobs Engineering.

Qualifications and training required

Most communications engineers possess a good honours degree in a relevant subject, such as electrical/electronic engineering, physics, telecommunications or computer science. A postgraduate qualification may also be helpful, particularly for research positions. Relevant experience is also very valuable. Some employers offer final year project work, sponsorship, vacation work or 'year out' placements which can provide valuable contacts and a useful insight into the profession.

Key skills for communications engineers

Employers seek committed graduates with good qualifications and strong technical abilities who are business-minded and capable of working well within a team. Candidates must have excellent communication, interpersonal, problem solving, analytical, organisational, presentation and managerial skills. Some positions require candidates to possess a driving licence.