Mataaro Whitiwhiti Kōrero
Telecommunications engineers design, test and build telecommunications networks and systems.
Telecommunications engineers with up to three years’ experience usually earn
$60K-$65K per year
Telecommunications engineers with over three years’ experience usually earn
$65K-$120K per year
Source: Hays and Potentia, 2018.
Pay for telecommunications engineers varies depending on skills, experience and the type of work they do.
- Telecommunications engineers with up to three years' experience usually earn between $60,000 and $65,000 a year.
- Those with three to seven years' experience usually earn between $65,000 and $85,000.
- Telecommunications engineers with over seven years' experience can earn up to $120,000.
Sources: Hays and Potentia, 2018.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Telecommunications engineers may do some or all of the following:
- analyse customers' telecommunications needs
- design and update telecommunications equipment and systems
- build and test prototypes of new equipment
- test and repair equipment
- make sure equipment meets regulations
- give advice on suitable equipment, such as computer servers, and costs
- supervise the installation and use of telecommunications equipment
- provide training for users of new equipment
- prepare and present reports and proposals.
Skills and knowledge
Telecommunications engineers need:
- knowledge of electronics, communication systems and mechanics
- knowledge of engineering methods, technology and industry trends
- understanding of telecommunication rules and standards
- design skills, and ability to interpret drawings and designs.
- work regular business hours, and often have to also work evenings and weekends, and be on call
- work in offices and laboratories, and inside and outside on work sites
- may travel locally.
What's the job really like?
Network Design Engineer
How did you get into telecommunications engineering?
"I studied applied science at uni with a major in telecommunications and then did a Masters in computer science. After that I applied for a job with Alcatel-Lucent, now Nokia, and got in through their graduate programme.
"I always wanted to work in telecommunications. You can learn a lot and the positive impact you have on millions of people is great."
What do you enjoy most about your work?
"That it’s never boring. You get to use and learn about the latest technology all the time, and there are always lots of interesting problems to solve. You also get to work with the best people, so you learn a lot from them.
"It’s fantastic to help people by improving the way they communicate or access information."
What do you find most challenging about your work?
"Keeping up with technological advances and pushing the boundaries of what is possible."
What advice would you give someone interested in becoming a telecommunications engineer?
"If you’re interested in the industry definitely go for it. Especially if you want to have a positive impact on society and want to learn new technologies."
To become a telecommunications engineer you need to have a tertiary qualification such as a degree in telecommunications, electrical and electronic engineering, or computer science.
Some employers offer cadetships, which allow you to study for a qualification while working.
The New Zealand Army offers training for recruits who want to become engineers specialising in telecommunications.
- Engineering NZ website - information about cadetships in engineering
- Defence Careers website - information about becoming a systems engineer
NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include physics, maths, digital technologies and English.
Telecommunications engineers need to be:
- logical and critical thinkers
- good at problem solving and decision making
- good at spoken and written communication
- disciplined, patient and well organised
- able to make good judgements and work well under pressure.
Useful experience for telecommunications engineers includes work in:
Telecommunications engineers need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses).
Find out more about training
- Engineering New Zealand
- (04) 473 9444 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.engineeringnz.org
What are the chances of getting a job?
Shortage of telecommunications engineers in New Zealand
Demand for telecommunications engineers is strong due to:
- increased use of internet and mobile technology
- government investment in high-speed broadband.
As a result, telecommunications engineer appears on Immigration New Zealand's long-term and Canterbury skill shortage lists. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled telecommunications engineers from overseas to work in New Zealand, and to work on the rebuild in Canterbury following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
Types of employers varied
Telecommunications engineers work for a range of organisations, including:
- telecommunications companies
- telecommunications equipment manufacturers
- technical service companies.
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Canterbury Skill Shortage List', August 2017, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Long-term Skill Shortage List', February 2018, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- New Zealand Digital Skills Forum, 'Digital Skills for a Digital Nation', 2017, (www.digitalnation.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Fast Broadband', accessed October 2018, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Telecommunications engineers may progress into managerial roles.
Last updated 6 November 2018