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Telecommunications Engineer

Mataaro Whitiwhiti Kōrero

Alternative titles for this job

Telecommunications engineers design, test and build telecommunications networks and systems.


Telecommunications engineers with up to three years’ experience usually earn

$60K-$65K per year

Telecommunications engineers with over three years’ experience usually earn

$65K-$120K per year

Source: Hays and Potentia, 2018.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a telecommunications engineer are good due to a shortage of workers.


Pay for telecommunications engineers varies depending on skills, experience and the type of work they do.

  • Telecommunications engineers with up to three years' experience usually earn between $60,000 and $65,000 a year.
  • Those with three to seven years' experience usually earn between $65,000 and $85,000.
  • Telecommunications engineers with over seven years' experience can earn up to $120,000.

Sources: Hays and Potentia, 2018.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Telecommunications engineers may do some or all of the following:

  • analyse customers' telecommunications needs
  • design and update telecommunications equipment and systems
  • build and test prototypes of new equipment
  • test and repair equipment
  • make sure equipment meets regulations
  • give advice on suitable equipment, such as computer servers, and costs
  • supervise the installation and use of telecommunications equipment
  • provide training for users of new equipment
  • prepare and present reports and proposals.

Skills and knowledge

Telecommunications engineers need:

  • knowledge of electronics, communication systems and mechanics
  • knowledge of engineering methods, technology and industry trends
  • understanding of telecommunication rules and standards
  • design skills, and ability to interpret drawings and designs.

Working conditions

Telecommunications engineers:

  • work regular business hours, and often have to also work evenings and weekends, and be on call
  • work in offices and laboratories, and inside and outside on work sites
  • may travel locally.

What's the job really like?

Xianglin Deng

Xianglin Deng

Network Design Engineer

How did you get into telecommunications engineering?

"I studied applied science at uni with a major in telecommunications and then did a Masters in computer science. After that I applied for a job with Alcatel-Lucent, now Nokia, and got in through their graduate programme.

"I always wanted to work in telecommunications. You can learn a lot and the positive impact you have on millions of people is great."

What do you enjoy most about your work?

"That it’s never boring. You get to use and learn about the latest technology all the time, and there are always lots of interesting problems to solve. You also get to work with the best people, so you learn a lot from them.

"It’s fantastic to help people by improving the way they communicate or access information."

What do you find most challenging about your work?

"Keeping up with technological advances and pushing the boundaries of what is possible."

What advice would you give someone interested in becoming a telecommunications engineer?

"If you’re interested in the industry definitely go for it. Especially if you want to have a positive impact on society and want to learn new technologies."

Entry requirements

To become a telecommunications engineer you need to have a tertiary qualification such as a degree in telecommunications, electrical and electronic engineering, or computer science.

Some employers offer cadetships, which allow you to study for a qualification while working.

The New Zealand Army offers training for recruits who want to become engineers specialising in telecommunications.

Secondary education

NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include physics, maths, digital technologies and English.

Personal requirements

Telecommunications engineers need to be:

  • logical and critical thinkers
  • good at problem solving and decision making
  • good at spoken and written communication
  • disciplined, patient and well organised
  • able to make good judgements and work well under pressure.

Useful experience

Useful experience for telecommunications engineers includes work in:

  • telecommunications
  • computing
  • engineering.

Physical requirements

Telecommunications engineers need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses).

Find out more about training

Engineering New Zealand
(04) 473 9444 - hello@engineeringnz.org - www.engineeringnz.org
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Shortage of telecommunications engineers in New Zealand

Demand for telecommunications engineers is strong due to:

  • increased use of internet and mobile technology
  • government investment in high-speed broadband.

As a result, telecommunications engineer and telecommunications network engineer appear on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. Telecommunications engineer also appears on Immigration New Zealand's construction and infrastructure skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled telecommunications engineers from overseas to work in New Zealand.

Types of employers varied

Telecommunications engineers work for a range of organisations, including:

  • telecommunications companies
  • telecommunications equipment manufacturers
  • technical service companies.


  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List', 17 December 2018, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Long Term Skill Shortage List', 19 February 2018, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
  • New Zealand Digital Skills Forum, 'Digital Skills for a Digital Nation', 2017, (www.digitalnation.nz).
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Fast Broadband', accessed October 2018, (www.mbie.govt.nz).

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Telecommunications engineers may progress into managerial roles.

Xianglin Deng and Lakshmi Toleti discuss some plans for a telecommunications project

Telecommunications engineers design and update telecommunications equipment and systems

Last updated 16 February 2019