What Is Communication Systems Engineering?

Today's communication systems are increasingly complex. Communications system engineering may involve developing or maintaining cable-based or wireless telephone and voicemail systems, group scheduling programs, webinars, Voice over Internet Protocol or automatic call answering and routing systems. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Essentials of Communication Systems Engineering

Communication systems engineering is the design, development and maintenance of technology for communications, ranging from telephones to Internet systems. In order to be successful in the field, you'll first need to discern the needs of the organization for which systems are being developed. You'll then need to ensure that all components of the system are successfully installed and connected. The process will then involve upgrading, repairing and monitoring the system to ensure it is as efficient as possible.

Important Facts About Communication Systems Engineering

Median Salary (2015) $75,622 (for wireless communications engineers)
Similar Occupations Software engineer, Senior Systems Engineer
Job Outlook (2014-2024) Little to no growth (for all electronic and electrical engineers)
Professional Certification Voluntary certification is available in wireless communication engineering technologies

Sources: Payscale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Tasks and Skills of Communication Systems Engineers

This field demands the following skills and duties from communication systems engineers:

People Skills

  • Interviewing clients, determining their communication needs and performing related research
  • Negotiating priorities, such as the system's ease of use, power, security, adaptability and affordability
  • Training users and familiarizing them with the system
  • Following up with clients to record any issues with the system, new functionalities desired or problems

Technical Skills

  • Surveying the field and choosing appropriate technology and software
  • Laying out the design of the system for maximum efficiency and functionality
  • Engineering the comfort, safety and usefulness of the system to match its human users
  • Designing equipment specifications and procedures to protect communications from failure, intrusion or misuse
  • Installing, cabling, connecting, implementing and testing the system

Management or Business Skills

  • Planning maintenance for ease of implementation and cost efficiency
  • Locating vendors and purchasing the components of the system
  • Planning training schedules
  • Setting evaluation and supervision guidelines

Education for Communication Systems Engineering

By holding a systems engineering certificate, such as Cisco or Microsoft network credentials, you may be able to begin an entry-level career in communication systems engineering. Many job postings on CareerBuilder.com or Monster.com call for a bachelor's degree in engineering, particularly in electrical engineering.

Most communication systems engineers have expertise in telephone systems, computer networks, information technology (IT) or information security. More and more employers are looking for master's degrees or years of communications experience. With technology's growing complexity and interconnectedness, communication systems engineers need a good working knowledge of these topics:

  • Computer, electrical and industrial engineering
  • Computer hardware and software
  • Information technology
  • Management
  • Data security

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