Technician (telephone network)

What do you do for a living?

I'm a network diagnostic technician for the telephony network.

How did you get interested in what you do?

I was always very practical and had an interest in electrical things. There wasn't a lot of advice from school at the time so I researched different types of work in my general field of interest and asked a lot of questions of people I found who I thought would be of help. My parents helped me with this at the time.

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?

I didn't really want to go to university so I chose to take up an apprenticeship instead and learn the job by doing it. However, I was expected to get more specific qualifications in the field and I gained my HND in electrical and electronic engineering by going to day-release college courses and night school classes.

Talk us through a day in your life

Due to the nature of the network I help to maintain there is always a need for my colleagues and I to be available 24/7. We have the opportunity to do differing shift patterns but I choose to cover the day shift as this suits my personal life. I have an earlier start than most but I'm finished by 4pm. My work is office based and I 'drive my computer' during this time. The entire telephony network is electronically monitored for incidents and major customer faults. When a problem arises I diagnose the problem and fix it  remotely if possible. If I'm not able to do this I arrange for site engineers to attend with instructions on what they need to do to repair the fault. I also provide them with phone back-up advise and instruction should they need any help.

Was this your planned career when you were 18?

Yes and no. I knew I wanted to be an engineer but wasn't fully committed to a very specific path. That became clearer as I continued to work through my apprenticeship.

What did your parents want you to do?

They wanted me to be content and happy in my working life and have enough money to do the other things I loved to do! Both of which I've managed to do over the years.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

The industry I work in is much more diverse than when I started in it. The telecommunications industry has a major part to play in almost all parts of modern life (mobile phone, the internet, TV, etc). There are so many different paths to chose. Pick subjects which would give you a good potential grounding, like maths, physics, computing and so on.

What other career directions could you go in?

 I'm lucky to work with a large company who cover most aspects of the telecommunications engineering business. I would be free to apply for many different posts in many different parts of the business all without having to leave the same company.