Regarding The UK Technology Jobs Market

In my personal opinion, if you asked most students what it means to have a job in the technology industry, my guess is that over 80% would say things like computer programming, working for Google, Microsoft, being a website designer or in digital marketing ...

These are all valid jobs at the base end of the scale, but when we change the question from technology to IT, the occupations change to cybersecurity expert, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Data Protection Officer (DPO). Again, all valid jobs, this time at the higher end of the scale.

"What we face a lack of, here in the UK, is what I call the hands-on brigade!"

All of the above job roles stem from the ability to access the UK infrastructure in the first instance. Without Telecoms and the subsequent evolution to Internet-based services, technically, half of the job descriptions/titles would not even exist.

Having seen this evolution personally since 1993, I can safely say that today, in 2022, we have a shortage of trained and/or skilled workforce to now upgrade the UK infrastructure from the older copper wires to fibre optic cables required for up to 1Gbps download speeds.

It's not just about shoving cables on the ground and splicing the ends to join up into the core network. fibre optic cable is delicate and requires the use of special equipment to blow through the strands, no thicker than a human hair, so it is very hard to work with.

On top of all this training, there are measurements to take by special meters to check light loss over a given distance to ensure constancy in the synchronous speeds that the service ultimately provides.

In one respect, physics is a must in education due to dealing with light waves and multiplexing technology of how to optimise light travel across fibre optic glass. Understanding the terminating equipment as well as technologies such as Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON) is a complex affair.

"In the UK, networks cannot build fast enough due to the shortage of fibre optic engineers on the ground!"

My estimate is that we would need a strong influx of at least 3,500 up to 5,000 recruits into the industry to make a significant impact on catching up with demand. We need technically minded people who like to build things as being a telecoms engineer is a very hands-on job. One of the biggest skills thereafter is fault-finding which is all about knowing how to solve a problem when it doesn't work as it should do.

These are exciting times to be in the field of fibre optics and my only regret is that I am now, not in a position to learn the practical side of fibre optic engineering, not just because of my age, but more so due to too many injuries (in the last 12 years only).

"I still enjoy reading technical books and learning all the theories though!"

Not all school leavers are of the academic nature, but we have talented young people out there who can be trained and learn on the job, therefore making a difference in the fast-moving industry.

Let's get building the next generation of networks and make UK PLC a great world leader in telecoms again.

If you feel inspired to find out more then do call me on 07555 807700 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.