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Wireless Engineers Keep the World Connected

In a mobile world that wants to stay connected, wireless engineers are in great demand.

"Everyone wants the ability to be mobile, whether that is within their office, within their city, or as they travel throughout the world," says wireless engineer Dave Kingwell. He works for a telecommunications company.

"Wireless engineers are needed to constantly develop and improve the wireless networks to provide coverage in all corners of our world."

Wireless engineers can be responsible for many different things. "It can vary somewhat, but the main thing I think is to design and verify the hardware that is used to provide connectivity, either to the Internet or other wireless devices nearby," says Roozbeh Pirzadeh. He's a senior wireless engineer at Fitbit.

Wireless engineers might also perform site surveys to determine possible locations for network base-stations, design and document radio frequency coverage for base-station deployments, or analyze and optimize network performance.

And the need for people to do this work is growing. A report released by the technology staffing firm Robert Half Technology says the demand for wireless engineers is on the rise- and that these professionals can expect a 9.7 per cent increase in starting salaries in 2016. It's a great time to get into this field.

"As the mobile applications become more sophisticated, they require larger amounts of data in less and less time," says Kingwell. "Companies need wireless engineers to continually enhance their networks to be able to handle the overwhelming increase in demand for bandwidth."

"There are more and more things that need to wirelessly connect to other things," adds Pirzadeh. "As they become smaller and smaller, [there is a] need for wireless engineers to integrate more into less space; hence we make more design decisions, innovations, etc."

Most wireless engineers come to the field through advanced training in software or electrical engineering. But a high-tech education is not all you need.

"It is important to have strong problem-solving and analytical skills," says Kingwell. "Knowledge of various network technology is also important as the wireless network engulfs so many different types of technology.

"Communications skills are also vital as you need to be able to collaborate between technical employees and non-technical management personnel and be able to accurately portray the same concepts between these two groups."

Any experience you can get on top of your formal training will also serve you well. "It's really a catch 22. It's hard to get a wireless job without wireless job experience," says Pirzadeh. "I'd say internships are most important."


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