It has been predicted that over 20 billion connected devices will be in use globally by 2021 and these devices will rely on 5G networks to function properly. However, the launch of 5G is unlikely to come all at once and instead experts anticipate that improvements will be incremental through LTE Advanced and LTE Advance Pro.  As a result, a huge demand for 5G ready telecom engineers is expected. Indeed, a report by the global research and analytical firm IHS Markit found that 5G could support 22 million jobs globally in 2035.

So for telecoms engineers looking to up-skill and become 5G ready, what technologies and skills should they be acquiring?

Mark Payne, Head of Network Infrastructure, Networkers explains.

“5G ready telecoms engineers will need to broaden their technical knowledge and gain an understanding of new technologies such as; LTE Advanced Pro, SON, C-RAN, HetNet, Mobile Edge Computing, Massive MIMO, NFV, SDN, Network Slicing, Mesh Networks, and IoT”

“Many telecom companies are increasingly looking for hybrid engineers, so adding a complementary skill to your portfolio such as Cisco or Juniper certification is a good idea. Also, scripting and learning about open source software will make you more attractive to employers in the 5G jobs market. The added benefit is that many of these new 5G technology skills will be transferable to other industry sectors.”

As many governments and multinational organisations are investing towards 5G trials in preparation for roll-outs in 2020, the race is on for telecoms engineers to learn new skills. But where can telecoms professionals go to obtain new skills required for 5G?

There are some fantastic 5G courses to gain new certifications such as; ‘Advance Level LTE Protocol Development Course’ and ‘Internet Of Things Courses in 5G’ led by training provider Primebit Solutions.

Already have experience?

Telecom engineers with past experience of implementing 3G/4G technologies and have the knowledge or new skills in 5G communications would be an advantage when it comes to landing a job on upcoming 5G projects.

So for those telecoms engineers who are ready to support 5G, what jobs are available right now?

Mark concludes,

“We are currently seeing demand for technical specialists such as; RF SON engineers, small cells engineers, SDN/NFV, cloud and IoT engineers and architects, orchestration engineers, 5G RF antenna researchers, and 5G algorithm experts.”

“5G will also rely heavily on fibre so there will be on-going demand for fibre skilled engineers such as network engineers, architects, planners, service delivery managers, project managers and programme managers.”

As we edge closer to 5G deployments, the war for 5G talent required for building the next generation of fixed and mobile networks will intensify. If you’re looking to upskill to become a 5G ready telecoms engineer, there will never be a better time to do so.

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