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Become A Communications Engineer

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Working As A Communications Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $68,500

    Average Salary

What Does A Communications Engineer Do

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, or power generation equipment. Electrical engineers also design the electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft.

Electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment, such as broadcast and communications systems, from portable music players to global positioning systems (GPSs). Many also work in areas closely related to computer hardware.

Duties

Electrical engineers typically do the following:

  • Design new ways to use electrical power to develop or improve products
  • Perform detailed calculations to develop manufacturing, construction, and installation standards and specifications
  • Direct the manufacture, installation, and testing of electrical equipment to ensure that products meet specifications and codes
  • Investigate complaints from customers or the public, evaluate problems, and recommend solutions
  • Work with project managers on production efforts to ensure that projects are completed satisfactorily, on time, and within budget

Electronics engineers typically do the following:

  • Design electronic components, software, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, or scientific applications
  • Analyze customer needs and determine the requirements, capacity, and cost for developing an electrical system plan
  • Develop maintenance and testing procedures for electronic components and equipment
  • Evaluate systems and recommend design modifications or equipment repair
  • Inspect electronic equipment, instruments, and systems to make sure that they meet safety standards and applicable regulations
  • Plan and develop applications and modifications for electronic properties used in parts and systems in order to improve technical performance

Electronics engineers who work for the federal government research, develop, and evaluate electronic devices used in a variety of areas, such as aviation, computing, transportation, and manufacturing. They work on federal electronic devices and systems, including satellites, flight systems, radar and sonar systems, and communications systems.

The work of electrical engineers and electronics engineers is often similar. Both use engineering and design software and equipment to do engineering tasks. Both types of engineers also must work with other engineers to discuss existing products and possibilities for engineering projects.

Engineers whose work is related exclusively to computer hardware are considered computer hardware engineers.

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How To Become A Communications Engineer

Electrical and electronics engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value practical experience, so participation in cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience. Having a Professional Engineer (PE) license may improve an engineer’s chances of finding employment.

Education

High school students interested in studying electrical or electronics engineering benefit from taking courses in physics and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Courses in drafting are also helpful, because electrical and electronics engineers often are required to prepare technical drawings.

In order to enter the occupation, prospective electrical and electronics engineers need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or electrical engineering technology. Programs include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. Courses include digital systems design, differential equations, and electrical circuit theory. Programs in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or electrical engineering technology should be accredited by ABET.

Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education. Cooperative programs combine classroom study with practical work. Internships provide similar experience and are growing in number.

At some universities, students can enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some universities, or in research and development.

Important Qualities

Concentration. Electrical and electronics engineers design and develop complex electrical systems and electronic components and products. They must be able to keep track of multiple design elements and technical characteristics when performing these tasks.

Initiative. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to apply their knowledge to new tasks in every project they undertake. In addition, they must engage in continuing education to keep up with changes in technology.

Interpersonal skills. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to work with others during the manufacturing process to ensure that their plans are implemented correctly. This collaboration includes monitoring technicians and devising remedies to problems as they arise.

Math skills. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to use the principles of calculus and other advanced math in order to analyze, design, and troubleshoot equipment.

Speaking skills. Electrical and electronics engineers work closely with other engineers and technicians. They must be able to explain their designs and reasoning clearly and to relay instructions during product development and production. They also may need to explain complex issues to customers who have little or no technical expertise.

Writing skills. Electrical and electronics engineers develop technical publications related to equipment they develop, including maintenance manuals, operation manuals, parts lists, product proposals, and design methods documents.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as electrical and electronics engineers. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam can be taken right after graduation from a college or university. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After getting work experience, EITs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education courses to keep their license. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.

Advancement

Electrical and electronic engineers may advance to supervisory positions in which they lead a team of engineers and technicians. Some may move to management positions, working as engineering or program managers. Preparation for managerial positions usually requires working under the guidance of a more experienced engineer. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

For sales work, an engineering background enables engineers to discuss a product's technical aspects and assist in product planning and use. For more information, see the profile on sales engineers.

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Communications Engineer jobs

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Communications Engineer Career Paths

Communications Engineer
Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Systems Engineer Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Engineer Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Quality Assurance Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Project Engineer Principal Engineer
Director, Hardware Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Manager Senior Manager
Director, Network Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Systems Analyst Systems Manager
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Network Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Operations Manager Site Manager
Site/Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Senior Software Engineer Technical Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Network Engineer Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Program Manager Technical Director
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Communications Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

84.3%

Female

13.4%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

73.9%

Asian

11.2%

Hispanic or Latino

8.8%

Unknown

5.4%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.7%

French

12.5%

Arabic

12.5%

German

7.1%

Carrier

3.6%

Hindi

3.6%

Swedish

1.8%

Portuguese

1.8%

Czech

1.8%

Nepali

1.8%

Chinese

1.8%

Gujarati

1.8%

Dakota

1.8%

Dutch

1.8%

Amharic

1.8%

Tigrinya

1.8%

Mandarin

1.8%

Norwegian

1.8%

Xiang

1.8%

Russian

1.8%
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Communications Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.4%

Community College of the Air Force

7.8%

Strayer University

6.4%

George Washington University

6.4%

University of Maryland - University College

5.7%

Colorado Technical University

5.0%

George Mason University

5.0%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.3%

More Tech Institute

4.3%

Florida Institute of Technology-Melbourne

3.5%

Drexel University

3.5%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.5%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%

Johns Hopkins University

3.5%

University of Texas at Austin

3.5%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

3.5%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.5%

University of Houston

2.8%

Tennessee State University

2.8%

University of Southern California

2.8%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

26.0%

Business

9.7%

Computer Science

8.4%

Computer Networking

7.3%

Information Technology

6.7%

Computer Information Systems

6.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.8%

Computer Engineering

5.6%

Communication

3.8%

Project Management

2.4%

Engineering

2.4%

Management

2.2%

Criminal Justice

2.2%

Education

1.8%

Marketing

1.8%

Finance

1.6%

Political Science

1.5%

Mechanical Engineering

1.5%

Management Information Systems

1.3%

Biomedical Engineering

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.0%

Masters

25.4%

Other

19.7%

Associate

10.4%

Certificate

4.3%

Doctorate

3.4%

Diploma

0.8%
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Real Communications Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Scalability Engineer Communications Infrastructure Zillow, Inc. WA Jun 20, 2016 $150,000
Protocol Communication Engineer Applied Systems Engineering, Inc. Campbell, CA Jul 09, 2016 $138,403
Search/Community Web Engineer Autodesk, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jul 06, 2013 $124,987 -
$170,400
Communications Engineer Bensussen Deutsch & Associates, Inc. Woodinville, WA Sep 01, 2013 $124,000
Unified Communications Engineer Practice Lead Spanlink Communications, Inc. Minneapolis, MN Jun 20, 2010 $123,500
Unified Communications Engineer Tier III Continuant, Inc. Fife, WA Jun 23, 2016 $121,826
Partner Integration Communications Engineer Intent Media Inc. New York, NY Oct 20, 2014 $115,000
Principal Wireless Communications Engineer RF DSP, Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 18, 2014 $110,000 -
$130,000
Principal Wireless Communications Engineer RF DSP, Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 04, 2014 $110,000 -
$130,000
IOS Communications Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 04, 2014 $110,000 -
$130,000
Partner Integration Communication Engineer Intent Media Inc. New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $105,000 -
$135,000
IOS Communications Frameworks Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 03, 2011 $105,000
Wireless Communications Engineer Danlaw, Inc. Farmington Hills, MI Nov 21, 2011 $105,000
Radio Communications Engineer Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Atlanta, GA Dec 01, 2010 $86,549 -
$112,793
Communications Engineer KPK Technologies Inc. MD Oct 01, 2014 $85,717
Unified Communications Engineer II HCA Management Services LP Nashville, TN Jan 08, 2016 $85,000 -
$95,000
Satellite Communications Engineer Tigrisnet, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Jan 25, 2012 $80,266
Print Communication Engineer Financial Engines, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Nov 15, 2012 $78,946
Communications Engineer Alliancebernstein L.P. New York, NY Feb 05, 2016 $78,000 -
$88,000
Communications Engineer Concrete Industries One Corp. New York, NY Sep 08, 2015 $77,418
Computer Communication Engineer KBI & Co., Inc. Cerritos, CA Oct 01, 2011 $67,890
Information Technology & Communications Engineer OVE ARUP & Partners PC New York, NY Apr 19, 2013 $67,621
Communications Engineer KPK Technologies Inc. Cerritos, CA Oct 01, 2011 $67,000
Print Communication Engineer Financial Engines Palo Alto, CA Nov 15, 2009 $66,976 -
$76,976
Unified Communications Engineer Mehra Innovations, Inc. Middletown, NJ Nov 01, 2013 $66,784
Associate Communications Engineer Nexius Insight, Inc. Redmond, WA Sep 30, 2014 $66,000
Associate Communications Engineer Nexius Insight, Inc. Redmond, WA Apr 10, 2014 $66,000

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Top Skills for A Communications Engineer

NetworkInfrastructureVideoRemoteSitesServersIPTelephonyFiberOpticRoutersVoipWindowsTroubleshootTestPlansRFTechnicalSupportUCAnalogAvayaPBXInternetCommunicationsEquipmentDesktopCommunicationSystems

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Top Communications Engineer Skills

  1. Network Infrastructure
  2. Video
  3. Remote Sites
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Design, document, deploy and implement voice network infrastructures for our client base.
  • Provided instructions and training on the use and operation of Video teleconference systems.
  • Travel to remote sites to upgrade the network and telephony infrastructure, as well as decommission obsolete hardware.
  • Consolidated a large network of obsolete servers and software applications to a smaller, more efficient network of servers.
  • Developed System Documentation for Cisco IP Telephony and Cisco Contact Center.

Top Communications Engineer Employers

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Communications Engineer - Career Spotlight

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