In the past three months, whenever I tried to figure out a ray of hope in the Indian electronics industry during this recession, it had to be the word ‘telecom.’ If there is one industry which is showing tremendous growth, and will continue to expand, it is telecom. Aggressive marketing, falling tariff and cutthroat competition have led to its steady rise. India is currently adding 8-10 million mobile subscribers every month.
Given the huge size of the nation and the fact that only 25 per cent of the population has communication network now, the future looks tremendously bright for the telecom industry. It is estimated that by mid 2012, around half of the country’s population will own a mobile phone. This would translate into 612 million mobile subscribers, amounting to a tele-density of around 51 per cent. The telecom industry is expected to generate revenues worth $43 billion by 2009-10.
According to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the telecom industry attracted Rs 891-billion investments from major players in the first half of 2008 alone. Indian telecom is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and is projected to become the second largest telecom market globally by 2010. In April 2008, India overtook the US as the second largest wireless market, and as a pointer to the increasing global influence of Indian telecom companies, seven Indian firms have featured in the list of the world’s 100 most influential telecom companies, compiled by Global Telecoms Business—an industry magazine.
“Considering that telecom is a booming sector even in times of the current economic recession, the demand for employable individuals is open. The types of firms that are engaged in recruiting are spread across, but not limited to, operators, integrators and vendors,” informs Pius Maria Prasad, director-human resource, Huawei Technologies India.
The recruitment trend in the telecom industry further confirms this statement. Large telecom players like Bharti Airtel, Huawei, Tech Mahindra, ZTE Corporation, Nokia as well as loads of small and medium enterprises are in a hiring mode.
How to enter the communication chain?
Who can be a part of this thrilling wave sweeping across the country? Anyone who has anything to do with technology in his day-to-day life. Academicians, lawyers, MBAs, salespeople and PR people are needed just as badly as the techies who design and maintain the worldwide information network for the future. But to qualify for an engineering job, you need to be specialised either in electronics & communication engineering, computer science or electrical engineering.
On the technology side, there is room for degree holders, diploma holders or even candidates with part-time certification courses. You will find that most of the engineering jobs can be bucketed under some broad categories. For example, broadband network architects are people who provide IP network architecture solutions to clients for the next-generation network—a network based on IP, ATM and SONET.
Network and application test engineers integrate, verify and deploy a full-service, high-speed data network providing nationally distributed video, voice, local programming and data services.
Another important category is network management and architecture/system engineers. These people provide network management solutions to clients for currently planned deployments and next-generation network technologies. A position may include focus on all aspects of operations support. A combination of business, telecommunication and computer knowledge is optimal.
Wireless engineers develop potential wireless data applications, technology intelligence to identify and track wireless data products, and wireless data strategies. These also interact with vendors.
Bellheads are technocrats who understand switching, i.e., what takes place between the switch and the network. These don’t need to write code, so ITI certificate or diploma is sufficient for this role.
What can you expect?
The high demand in telecom creates a minefield of opportunities for aspirants. These firms also pay well. The starting salary for freshers is Rs 300,000 to Rs 500,000 per annum. Customer facing jobs could fetch something between Rs 200,000 and Rs 300,000 per annum. The year-to-year salary hike is quite satisfactory in comparison with other sectors. As an engineer, you could choose to continue in the technology field, be a part of the technocommercial team or move to the business development aspect of the service.