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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2019 there were approximately 717,800 individuals working in telecom. At the same time, unemployment rates have been falling as talent becomes increasingly critical (and increasingly hard to find) in technological and skill-intensive sectors. In fact, LinkedIn reports that technology, media and telecommunications will experience a shortage of around 4.3 million workers by 2030.

Yet, in this age of critical communications convergence and technological progress, cultivating the right skills can be the ticket to climbing the ranks and becoming known as a master of thought-leadership, innovation and positive influence in the world of telecom. Of course, there are likely tens of thousands of unique business skills out there to be gained and showcased, each with varying importance depending on where an individual works and who they work with. This is why NEDAS, the association promoting collaboration and education where wireline and wireless meet, put together this list of five skills that will bring success to any individual looking to thrive in a technical arena like telecommunications.


Telecommunications, like many other digital and technological spheres, is fast-moving by nature. Demands from new and growing amounts of applications and innovations, such as the 5G evolution and the DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) and small cells that will power it, the Internet of Things or edge data centers, are stretching the capabilities of the industry. As a result, new technologies and deployments are being rapidly developed to keep pace and meet the needs of users. This means that organization is a requisite skill for anyone looking to succeed by staying ahead of the curve.

If organization is not properly created and managed, tasks pile up, people are kept waiting, critical documents or other items go missing, systems become broken and the most valuable asset, time, is lost. Let’s face it, nobody wants to get left behind in this industry. So, to reduce stress on all accounts, organizational skills can be bolstered through the development and careful implementation of new habits. This process will likely differ depending on the individual, but can include new habits of writing things down instead of relying on memory, keeping well-documented backups of every critical element, or even just keeping your workspace clean and clutter-free. If an individual takes time to learn the organizational strategies that work best for them, their streamlined and capable approach to high workloads will certainly not go unnoticed.

Project Management

Businesses and clients, no matter the sector they work in, value the achievement of formal goals, quality completion of projects and quantifiable positive effects. When it comes to driving profitable results and accomplishing objectives, harnessing the power of effective project management is paramount. The foundation of this skill is built on organization, and often overlaps with a plethora of other skills, which is why it can be difficult for some to understand how to be talented in this way. However, it can all be boiled down to the ability to get from start to finish with efficiency, productivity, cost-consciousness and competence.

Leadership and communication skills are key here, as project management demands the ability to not just design a roadmap that will take you where you need to go, but to also guide your peers to that end as well. Honing skills through hands-on experience, attention to feedback and thorough knowledge of tools and strategies will create an expert project manager.

Attention to Detail

It’s always said that the devil is in the details, and the idiom holds true nearly ubiquitously across any field of work. However, when it comes to high-stakes and widespread deployments like 5G, success is especially dependent on scrupulous attention. Wireless and wireline convergence and cross-industry collaboration promise to bring telecommunications closer to the long-awaited next-generation rollout, but first, wireless densification and other infrastructure adjustments must be made. As an industry that will be ensuring that businesses’ and users’ critical communications are seamlessly administered into the future, end-to-end network success and enhanced quality will define whether or not expectations are met. Especially as demands and requirements are constantly growing and changing, being able to manage and address even the smallest elements of network success and user experience will differentiate workers, and their business, in the global sphere.

Comfort with Numbers

It’s true that not everybody has a brain that does well with numbers, but in telecom, it certainly helps to be a whiz with a range of figures (and know how to work in Excel). Take commercial real estate (CRE) technology, for instance. Whether it’s blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) or the Internet of Things (IoT), the pace of innovation in the real estate realm is being accelerated by these new technologies. Not only do numbers come directly into play here, with ledgers of economic transactions, energy consumption statistics, market rates and the like, but budget planning, projections, sales tracking and registration numbers become integral to creating progress as well. Being comfortable with these metrics will help employees better understand their tools, results and levels of project success. In truth, numbers are the lifeblood of many facets of telecommunications, and having an employee that can decipher and synthesize these numbers to create a plan for making them better will undoubtedly win favor.

A Knack for Working Globally

As a field that deals with communication and information exchange, telecommunications is an inherently global business. In fact, in 2018, Forbes noted that China Mobile and Softbank Corp., a Japanese multinational conglomerate, were the third- and fourth-largest telecom firms on their Global 2000 list. As such, individuals in the telecom workforce should be prepared and comfortable working with people from all over the world. Communication becomes an even bigger priority here, and being able to work across borders (both physically and socially) is imperative for global success.

Wrapping up

The characteristics listed above, when mastered and implemented, will not only reflect positively on the employees that demonstrate them, but will also define the success of the company as a whole. When seeking to differentiate and present added value, becoming a true asset to any telecommunications entity can be as simple as keeping organized, accomplishing goals through great management and keeping eyes on the details. These five critical skills will pave any employee’s path to success as they look to rise to the top of the industry.

To learn more about NEDAS and its mission of promoting widespread industry success through collaboration and education at the intersection of wireline and wireless, please visit their website at