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"Telecom Industry In India Is Booming With Jobs"
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"Telecom Industry In India Is Booming With Jobs"  
"In India, in a month we add as many subscribers as the entire subscribers' base in some of the countries of the world."    
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012 With the increasing telecom tariffs, it may be perceived that the telecom party is over in India but when it comes to jobs in the industry, the party is on. Telecom industry in India is booming with jobs for telecommunications engineers. The opportunities are immense, but only for the right kind of people. By right kind of people, we mean theoretical knowledge accompanied with some practical know-how. EFYTimes.com spoke exclusively to Alok Sinha, who is an industry expert working as an assistant vice president – general business sales and IT solutions, Huawei about the hiring trends in the telecom industry and what can the telecom engineers look forward to. Excerpts:

jobs for telecom engineers, Jobs in Telecom industry, Huawei, Huawei India, Alok Sinha Huawei, Telecom industry in India, telecommunications engineering in India

How is the demand for telecommunications engineers in India?

I think at this point in time when the industry is changing from data access to value added services, the nature of demand has changed. About ten years ago, the demand was of somebody who was an expert in hardware, switches, etc. to a large extent. That bit has now changed dramatically to large switches in addition to the value added services. For example, if you do not know how to handle a caller ring tone and how it works, there is a problem. So as a student, one has to not only look at the developments in the hardware domain but also the changes that are coming in value-added services software in terms of service line. The second point is that the telecom industry is undergoing a huge amount of transformation. The core telecom companies have a tremendous amount of competition coming their way. The telecom companies who want to survive in this scenario have to be ready not only from the technology line but also business line. So, the candidates need to be aware and that's one of the critical functions that a telecommunications engineer needs to do. It's ok for an engineer to write a source code and get a software or a hardware but in today's scenario that's not all one needs to do. Thirdly, in today's scenario, a hardcore engineer or a hardcore software developer has his position firmed, but a bigger opportunity lies for an architect. If he is an architect, he will probably have an option to move a step higher. A solution architect is a guy who sits and says this software and this hardware will make a solution that will work. These are the kind of clear cut career options that exist in the telecom world. In the Indian context, the telecom penetration is increasing as we speak. For the rest of the world, it is practically stagnant. India is clearly the best place to be to make a career in telecom engineering.

Do you think India is able to offer the kind of talent which is required for the industry. What are the changes that need to be done to make the talent world class?

There is no place on this planet better than being born in India for a career in telecommunications engineering. I say this with a strong conviction. The entire middle east and Saudi Arabia has around 24 million subscribers. UAE has 7 million subscribers and India adds 12 million subscribers per month. In a month, India adds as many subscribers as the entire subscribers' base in some of the countries of the world. From the perspective of population penetration, we are just 0.7-0.8 per cent while the rest of the world is around 1.5 to 2 per cent. We can very well assume that there is still enough leverage from core telephony. On top of this, India is the only country which is very challenging for the companies. In India, we have the lowest tariff as compared to the rest of the world. ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) in middle east is somewhere around $20 and in India it is about Rs 146, which is around $3. So that is the kind of money a subscriber in India pays as compared to their counterparts in the rest of the world. There is an opportunity for providing newer applications, location based services and all. The way Indian telecom market is growing, and the leapfrogging which is going on in terms of the current core 2G, 3G and 4G, I don't think there is any place better that India for a carreer in telecommunications engineering. The second point is whether the education system is doing the right justice to the industry, the answer is YES. They are trying to keep up to the pace of evolving technology. Now the question is that can this be done better, answer is YES. They need to understand the demand of the changing time and evolving technology and offer such forward looking courses to the students. Those institutes which are providing that cutting edge environment are sustaining. The education system should be three years ahead of the present scenario as the students will pass out after three years. The education institutes have to see more from the perspective of what will be the scenario three years henceforth. I would like to see more of business oriented and industry oriented education to be incorporated in the syllabus. If that integration does not happen, it is a problem. There is still no course available for architect where as in real world, every telecom company needs that.

Every year there are thousands of telecommunications engineers passing out. Do you think there are jobs for every one right now?

If you look at the larger picture, number of engineers that are coming out and number of positions that are vacant, that will even out. But if you are breaking it out, that's where the problem is. Like if you say I have got 5,000 engineers coming up. Out of 5,000, 1,000 are in hardware engineering. Now if you ask that do I have jobs for 1000 hardware engineers, I will say No. Perhaps only 100 of them are familiar with telecom business operations. So think there is a mismatch of what skill sets employers expect and what people are coming up with. But if you look at the larger picture, telecom market in India has got a lot of meat. It's like the IT industry. People say IT industry has slowed but it has slowed down from 100 per cent annual growth to 30 per cent annual growth. Even at this growth rate, it is doing many times better than most of the industries in India. If you continue to follow the herd mentality, every body wants to be a software engineer and that exactly is the point of problem. There is a dearth of skilled talent in the telecom industry. There is a need of people in many areas. Apart from talent, the required skill set is also important and that is the biggest challenge we face in the industry today.

What kind of packages are offered in the initial stages?

Well, there are many parts of the telecom world, one is a vendor company, one is an OEM company, one is a service provider company. So they all have different kinds of pay packages to offer. They vary dramatically from as low as Rs 1 lakh per annum to as high as about Rs 5-6 lakh per annum. They would actually be different. A person who is supposed to take only care of a server and is looking for a job in a Tier II company will be paid as low as Rs 1 Lakh per annum. It depends upon the location, the type of company, the type of job you are doing. And also, the telecom world is also penetrated by the IT world. So there are other people also who can enter in these jobs. So there is enough competition.

What kind of financial growth do we see in this world?

I am speaking from the market perspective. You can easily expect an increment of about 10-11 per cent on an average. The high performers would be on the 17-18 per cent bracket and the low performers will be on 0-5 per cent kind of a range. This is a very generic because year to year, company to company.

What kind of career growth can we see for telecommunications engineers in India?

The sky is the limit for telecommunications engineers in India. The sheer fact that the telecommunications world can accommodate everything that you are coming up with but more importantly, I think the technology is changing so much that there will be hundreds of opportunities that will be created. There will be an opportunity for a car to call up at a call centre, there will be an opportunity for a microwave communicating with a refrigerator, which is called the machine to machine communication. This may sound frivolous right now but it will be seen happening a couple of years from now. To that extent, the opportunities are mind boggling. So, there is a lateral growth in terms of the size of the business, which in India is great. The second part is the vertical growth in terms of the technology that keeps getting added into the system. But the candidates also need to be very careful in choosing what product line are they working for. So everyone in telecom world cannot grow but definitely for the people who want to be ahead of the pack in terms of their growth, they got to be ahead of the pack in terms of their skill sets and technology.

What are the ideal skill sets you look for in an industry professional?

As a fresher, obviously there are different parameters and as an industry professional, there are different parameters altogether. So for a fresher, I will pick up people who can have mass skill deployment for certain activities. So I will pick people for software development, there will be people I will pick up for IT operations. Skill set is one part and experience is another part. In terms of the people with experience, obviously one would look for skill sets that one really wants for a precised job. As a telecom professional, if I have to recruit people, I keep only one thing in mind, does one have the ability to learn. Because he will start working on technology today but it may get outdated in the next two years. So the fundamental remains the ability to learn. If there is an attitude in a candidate to be able to learn, everything else can be taught in terms of the experience. That's because technology changes really rapidly in this world.

Diksha  P Gupta, EFYTIMES News Network

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