Data Communications Technician: Job Duties & Career Requirements

Apr 15, 2019

A data communications technician works with communication lines and computer equipment. Most companies prefer that data communications technicians have certificates or two-year degrees in telecommunications or electronics technology and relevant work experience. Read on to find out about careers in data communications technology.

Career Definition for a Data Communications Technician

Data communications technicians are responsible for the installation, testing, troubleshooting, and repair of data communication lines and computer equipment. They work with modems, terminals, lines and wires (www.websters-online-dictionary.org). Many data communications technicians can also work as telecommunications technicians, wireless communications technicians, and computer technicians.

Education High school diploma or equivalent with 2-3 years industry experience, or an associate's degree/certificate
Job Skills Organized, problem solver with verbal and written communication skills, some jobs require climbing utility poles, working on roofs and attics as well as heavy lifting
Median Salary (2018)* $56,100 per year (telecommunications equipment installers and repairers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* -8% (decline) (telecommunications equipment installers and repairers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A high school diploma or GED is required. Most companies also prefer that a data communications technician applicant possess a certificate or associate's degree in electronics, telecommunications technology, or a related field. If the individual does not have the educational background, then a minimum of two to three years of work experience in the data communications technology field is typically required.

Skills Required

The data communications technician must have excellent problem-solving and organizational skills. The individual must also be able to communicate effectively verbally and in writing. At times and depending on the particular job, the individual may have to work in atypical work environments, which would require climbing onto poles and roofs and into attics and basements. The data communications technician must also be able to lift heavy equipment. A particular job in the field of data communications technology may also require that the individual possess customer service skills and a valid driver's license.

Career and Economic Outlook

Salaries in the data communications technology field can vary greatly depending on the company, location, industry, and individual experience; however, most salaries typically range from about $32,440 to $82,860 for these professionals as of 2018. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that the employment rate for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers will decline by 8% from 2016-2026.

Alternate Career Options

Other jobs similar to a data communications technician that might appeal to you include:

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technician

Average employment growth of 8% from 2016-2026 was expected for these techs who set up and operate the equipment used for concerts, television broadcasts, movies and sound recordings. Postsecondary education is normally required to secure these positions, and this career offered an annual median wage of $43,660 in 2018, according to the BLS.

Computer Support Specialist

Training that ranges from postsecondary coursework to a bachelor's degree is required for this field, which includes both computer network support jobs and computer user support specialist positions. In general, they both give assistance to people who are using computer equipment and software. According to the BLS, they earned an annual median salary of $53,470 in 2018 and could look forward to faster than average job increases of 11% through 2026.

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