Delving Into the Telecommunications Major
Telecommunications majors will have the opportunity to study communications from a wide variety of perspectives. Telecommunications can encompass radio, television, website production, video games, wireless communication devices, and much more. Some of the basic classes students will take include computing, statistics, research methods, mass communications systems, interactive communications systems and telecommunication law.
Telecommunications programs are designed to provide in-depth technical knowledge and prepare students to understand, and even design, the components of wide-scale telecommunication systems. Students will develop and understanding of the hardware and software necessary to maintain a flow of information and often are required to take courses in software programming and hardware engineering Telecommunications majors will also gain an education in the business side of telecommunications and may take classes such as business strategy, marketing, advertising, management techniques, and finance, as seen in the degree plan for University of Maryland students.
Students will most likely have the opportunity to choose electives to gain greater insight into specific areas within telecommunications, or they may opt to minor in a field that relates to their career goals. There will usually be some form of independent or group projects required of telecommunications majors. Some projects may include designing telecommunications systems, doing research, or coming up with hypothetical solutions so specific technological issues.
Reading materials for telecommunications courses will vary depending on the course objective. Theory-intense courses will most likely utilize textbooks and non-fiction novels. Courses centered on in-depth technical processes and devices will most likely require textbooks and/or technological use manuals.
There are several online universities that offer associate degrees in telecommunications, and this is the most basic degree offered in the field. However, most companies require at least a bachelor’s degree for employment in a telecommunications position. An associate degree is a step toward working in telecommunications, but should probably be supplemented with a bachelor’s degree in order to gain substantial employment.
It is possible to earn an associate degree and use those credits to work toward a bachelors, so there are benefits to an associate. Also, many associate programs are geared toward preparation for a particular technical service career. Students with this degree plan will cover the most basic principles of telecommunications. They receive a broad background in all the different forms of telecommunications, such as broadcasting, telephony, and wireless communication.
They will learn about how the basic technological components of various telecommunications systems are structured and receive beginning-level instruction on ways to repair and manage equipment. Students will also learn about the common business practices and management principles relating to the telecommunications field.
Bachelor’s programs in telecommunications are the most common starting point for a telecommunications education. Bachelor’s students will study all elements of media used in telecommunications, such as radio, satellite services, cable, the Internet, multimedia, cable television, broadcast television and radio, and telephony. Most students in the degree program will divide their time between learning about the function and inner-workings of technological devices and taking theory classes relating to the ways technological devices impact individuals and society.
Bachelor’s programs usually emphasize the application of critical thinking and analysis to telecommunications issues. There will be core courses that all telecommunications majors must complete, and then there will usually be room to choose electives in order to tailor the degree program to specific interests and career goals. Students should graduate from a bachelor’s program with the ability to plan, design and implement telecommunications technology in a wide variety of fields. They will also have an understanding of the business principles and management theory related to organizations that rely heavily on telecommunications software and products.
Master’s students of telecommunications programs will receive specific and in-depth instruction that is meant to add expertise to a bachelor’s education and prepare graduates to take on leadership and upper-level positions in the telecommunications industry. Students will continue classes in the fundamental areas of telecommunications, such as digital communications systems, organizational behavior in the telecommunications industry, and economics in telecommunications.
Beyond this, however, master’s programs usually allow students to specialize in order to give extensive attention to their area of interest within the field. Students may complete a large degree of coursework in particular niches, such as cellular communication networks, television or radio broadcasting, satellite communication systems, or network security.
Most graduate students will also complete an independent telecommunications project, which will most likely be an original study performed by each student covering their choice of telecommunications subjects and issues. Usually projects fall into the categories of system design, management, application or policy.
Supplementing Your Telecommunications Major
Most universities offer many ways to customize a telecommunications major to particular skill sets within the industry. Most online programs offer degree programs with core requirements in the basics of telecommunications systems and principles of telecommunications management. Then students are usually able to choose electives in order to pursue their interests more fully.
Even if your telecommunications degree does not offer concentrations, it is still possible to take courses that will help direct you toward a particular career path. For example, a student may choose to take electives in courses such as internet law and policy coupled with entrepreneurship courses in order to set themselves up to start their own internet media company. Or students could take classes such as women and minorities in the media coupled with classes like culture in mass media in order to delve more deeply into current media issues. A student could use this type of education to seek out employers interested in creating telecommunications media for minorities or women.
Students can also specialize their degree program by choosing a minor or a second major in an area that complements their career goals. Choosing a minor or second major in almost any area will enhance the telecommunications major because knowledge of media communications has become relevant in almost every field. Minors and second majors that pair well with telecommunications include business, cognitive science, marketing, communication arts, criminal justice, foreign languages, fine arts, music, theatre, informatics, political science and international studies.
Interesting degree pairings can actually expand career opportunities. For example, a major in telecommunications with a minor in political science could prepare a student to work on a political campaign. Or a double major in telecommunications and marketing could open up opportunities to work in advertising or any sales niche.
Learn More About the Telecommunications Major
The Telecommunications Major in the Job Market
The telecommunications field applies to a huge variety of different industries. Telecommunications majors will graduate with an expertise in the creation, maintenance and security of most distance communication systems used today. They will understand communications systems such as the Internet, cell phones, satellite technologies, landlines, broadcast radio and television, and most other communication networks and devices. Because communication is one of the most elemental aspects of business, telecommunications graduates can apply their expertise to help any kind of organization prosper.
Students with bachelor’s degrees in telecommunications are often interested in fields such as advertising and public relations. Graduates of telecommunications programs are able to use their knowledge base to help a business create the best kind of networks for communication with clients. They are also able to advise clients as to the best ways to reach a target market. Advertising and marketing firms make a living by being on the cutting edge in communication of ideas to specific demographics. Employers will be looking to hire candidates who have a strong sense for how to reach people in order to sell a product.
Candidates with backgrounds in telecommunications will have studied the technical aspects of distance communication, but will also have studied societal aspects of communication. They will be able to give an employer insight into the best kind of media to use, whether it be internet ads, satellite radio spots, or cable television commercials. Telecommunications majors are also often interested in areas such as international relations, politics, media production, and media consultation. With their in-depth expertise in all forms of communication, telecommunications majors usually graduate prepared to enter and succeed in any of these fields.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the telecommunications industry are projected to increase by 9% in the decade from 2008 to 2018. This is actually less than the average rate of growth for most industries in the U.S. because, as telecommunications systems performance levels increase, the need for workers to do repairs decreases.
Students in telecommunications would benefit from tailoring their education to extend beyond systems repair. Telecomcareers.net, a site dedicated to helping telecommunications professionals develop their careers and showcase their talents, posts job openings and collaboration opportunities. Telecomcrossing.com is another great site that lists job opportunities and allows telecommunications professionals to connect and collaborate.