Virtual Connections: STEM Jobs in Telecommunications

Over the past decades, the telecommunications sector has continuously revolutionized the way the world communicates. From the rise of the cellphone in the 2000s to the explosion of ultra-fast 5G networks, advances in this field shape both our daily lives and the way we do business. For some of us, the convenience and speed of email and other online communication is something we take for granted in the workplace. Many do not realize that the seemingly inevitable way telecommunications breakthroughs drive innovation is a direct result of countless workers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). With the COVID-19 pandemic transforming the nature of work, demand for tech professionals—especially in telecommunications—has skyrocketed, with vacancies expanding 36 percent between June and August 2020.1 Whether designing physical infrastructure like cell towers or engineering the networks that transmit information, there are countless opportunities in telecom for STEM professionals looking to advance their careers. Likewise, businesses across sectors can benefit from workers with STEM skills to improve their telecommunication technology in today’s wireless world. 

The Communication Revolution

Although some of the ways telecommunication has changed business are obvious, such as the ubiquity of work emails and virtual meetings, other innovations have shifted procedures from remote hiring to inventory management with wireless tracking. Outsourcing has radically transformed operations for many businesses, as they can now hire employees from almost anywhere in the world, saving up to 70 percent on labor costs.2 While concerns exist that outsourcing cuts domestic jobs, the infrastructure on which outsourcing relies depends on STEM professionals in IT. Radio frequency identification (RFID), a telecommunications-adjacent technology, allows businesses to track inventory with microchips.  This reduces operational costs by providing more accurate, real-time inventory data, and eliminating the need for manual tracking. STEM workers are also vital to e-commerce and online marketing, fueling explosive growth for massive corporations like Amazon and small businesses alike.

What 2021 Looks Like for Telecom 

Communication technology’s impact is even more evident with work-from-home becoming the new norm in a socially distanced society. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for STEM professionals to design and maintain the advanced communication infrastructure that we depend on for both business and personal use.

For the past decade, telecom companies have focused on cost-reduction through innovation, much of which involves automating rote tasks.3 While some workers may be concerned that automation will render their jobs obsolete, this isn’t always the case. In fact, automation in telecom relies on technology experts to develop tools ranging from network design to planning and forecasting. For those looking to get involved in the industry, many STEM degrees provide the knowledge base to jump into the trailblazing fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Careers in Cutting-Edge Communication

With the focus on boosting efficiency through automation, STEM professionals with the AI and machine learning skills are in high demand across business sectors. Job options span a wide range from telecommunications engineer to Information Technology (IT) project manager, all of which require advanced STEM skills. 

While automation reduces an organizations’ need for employees performing repetitive tasks, there is still a demand for skilled technical workers. Businesses require knowledgeable technicians to install, calibrate, and maintain equipment.4 Advancements in STEM are creating new job opportunities faster than positions can be filled, presenting equal opportunity for those who have college degrees and those who do not. 

Making a More Connected Future

As anyone who has worked from home can attest, the telecommunications industry is transforming the landscape of work and making a more connected world. Not only does telecom increase efficiency and eliminate communication barriers, it also offers plentiful job opportunities for STEM professionals looking for a chance to innovate. Whether you’re a jobseeker looking to hone and apply newly acquired skills, or an organization looking for workers on the cutting-edge, AllSTEM Connections can help you succeed in the age of STEM. Visit our website at allstemconnections.com for more information.

  1. https://www.techradar.com/news/how-can-the-telecommunications-industry-build-true-diversity
  2. https://money.howstuffworks.com/technology-changed-business.htm
  3. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2020-study-on-the-rise-of-automation-and-the-telecom-engineer—automation-tools-rising-in-importance-with-cost-pressures-and-covid-19-301114075.html
  4. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/telecommunications-equipment-installers-and-repairers-except-line-installers.htm

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