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Career Definition for an NOC Technician
NOC (network operations center) technicians are responsible for monitoring, troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining telecommunications networks. NOC technicians also test new and already installed hardware and software. They use computerized network management systems to check for system alarms, meaning that parts of the network are not working properly and jeopardizing the level of communication services available to customers. Most NOC technicians work in tiers, so if a problem cannot be resolved, it is passed on to technicians in the next higher tier. NOC technicians also gather performance statistics and write reports as needed. They regularly participate in continued training. On-call work is common, as is second and third shift work and overtime in the event of network outages. NOC technicians typically work with fellow NOC technicians, field technicians, management, vendors, and more.
|Education||High school diploma and work experience, associate degree in telecommunications or networking may be preferred|
|Job Skills||Working under deadlines, coping with stress, quick thinking, attention to detail|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$56,100 for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||-8% for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
NOC technicians need a high school diploma and several years' related experience, typically on a particular network service platform. Some employers prefer their NOC technicians to have an associate's degree in a related field like telecommunications or networking technology. NOC technicians have studied, either in school or through on-the-job training, data and digital communications, network-related operating systems and applications, telecommunications in general, computers, and project management.
NOC technicians provide a critical supporting role in telecommunications networks so they need to be comfortable working under tight deadlines and in high-stress environments. They need to be quick thinkers and detail-oriented.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the telecommunications industry in general, of which NOC technicians are a part, faces an aging workforce likely to bring a wave of upcoming retirements over the next few years. Increased demand for telecommunications services is expected to be balanced by improved network capabilities and reliability, and job decline of 8% is predicted for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers (except line installers) for 2016-2026. The BLS published the median annual salary for such telecommunications workers as $56,100 in May 2018.
Alternate Career Options
Consider these other options for starting a career in telecommunications and repair:
Line Installers and Repairers
Line installers and repairers can work either on electric wires or telecommunications cables. They typically work on-site, troubleshooting, replacing or repairing components, and inspecting and testing the network. Electrical lines are typically strung from poles, while telecommunications cables are typically laid in trenches. Those who work on electrical systems may also be responsible for peripherals like transformers and voltage regulators. A high school diploma is a minimum education required for employment; postsecondary certificate and associate's degree programs in electricity and telecommunications are also available. Line installers and repairers need a commercial driver's license to operate company vehicles. On-the-job training is required. Voluntary professional certifications are available. The BLS projects that jobs in this entire field will increase 8% from 2016-2026. The BLS also reports that electrical line installers and repairers earned median pay of $69,380 in 2017, while telecommunications line installers and repairers earned median pay of $55,060.
Computer, ATM, and Office Machine Repairer
In this occupation, workers troubleshoot computers, ATMs, and office machines like copiers for residential or business customers. Repairers can replace defective parts and make repairs and adjustments so that the unit functions properly. This job typically requires some postsecondary education in electronics, as well as on-the-job training. Voluntary industry certifications are available. Careers in this field are projected to decrease by 2% from 2016-2026, per the BLS, and they paid a median salary of $37,710 in 2017.