Main Topic: Environment and Society
Secondary Topic: Physical Geography
Overview: Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, also known as telecom technicians, set up and maintain devices or equipment that carry communications signals, such as telephone lines and Internet routers. These workers use many different tools to inspect equipment and diagnose problems. For instance, to locate distortions in signals, they may employ spectrum analyzers and polarity probes. They also commonly use hand tools, including screwdrivers and pliers, to take equipment apart and repair it. Many telecom technicians work with computers, specialized hardware, and other diagnostic equipment. They follow manufacturers’ instructions or technical manuals to install or update software and programs on devices. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers who work at a client’s location must track hours worked, parts used, and costs incurred. Workers who set up and maintain lines outdoors are classified as line workers (or line installers and repairers).
Central office technicians set up and maintain switches, routers, fiber-optic cables, and other equipment at switching hubs, called central offices. Telecom technicians receive alerts about equipment malfunctions from automonitoring switches and are able to correct the problems remotely. Headend technicians perform work similar to that of central office technicians but work at distribution centers for cable and television companies, called headends.
Home installers and repairers—sometimes known as station installers and repairers—set up and repair telecommunications equipment in customers’ homes and businesses. For example, they set up modems to install telephone, Internet, and cable television services. When customers have problems, home installers and repairers test the customer’s lines to determine if the problem is inside the building or outside. If the problem is inside, they try to repair it. If the problem is outside, they refer the problem to line repairers.
Geographic skills are important for telecom technicians. Service is provided based on a customer’s or company’s location. Telecom technicians need to know how to read a map, navigate terrain, understand space within buildings, comprehend the effects of weather on service, and be aware of the interaction between the environment and human activities, since their job duties are integrated with all these factors.
Geographers at work: Environmental geographers, physical geographers
Recommended College Courses: Environmental geography, physical geography
Skills: Map reading, spatial skills, understanding of physical terrain and weather, geographic information systems
Occupation Group: Installation, Maintenance, and Repair
Learn more about Telecom Technicians from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/telecommunications-equipment-installers-and-repairers-except-line-installers.htm#tab-2
Written by Christopher Anderson