What does a cable technician do?

Cable technicians install, test, and repair devices that run on communications technology.

Some cable technicians travel within a local area by truck and serve their customers by phone when they call to report a fault. Each technician is usually responsible for a specific geographical location.

Types of cable networks technicians work with

Each network uses a different cable type, which has certain characteristics and is designed for a specific purpose.

Three types of cables are widely used:

  • Coaxial. A simple and inexpensive cable designed to receive a multi-frequency signal.

  • Twisted pair. A cable consisting of two or more wires.

  • Optical fiber. Modern fiber cable types for high-speed signal transmission.

Other specific and customized cables are used in production. Among them are emergency and power cables designed to transmit high voltage overcurrent at high temperatures and other unfavorable conditions. The use of standard cables is impossible.

Any cable network includes a signal transmission source (headend) and a receiving device for converting it. Each cable network can perform one specific task (electrical, telephone network) or include combined cable systems (emergency networks).

Every home or office has at least one device to receive or transmit information, the Internet or landline telephone.

The means of transmitting information to the user are cables, which, together with the headend and the receiving device, represent a cable network.

A day in the life of a cable technician

The working day depends on the state but traditionally lasts from 8 am to 6-7 pm. Special physical training is not required for the cable technician to work. However, a minimum endurance is still needed - employees have to carry a ladder weighing 30 kilograms with them from time to time.

At first, it doesn't seem easy, but beginners are taught how to lift and place it correctly in the process of training. Of course, here they have to make physical efforts, but this did not cause problems for anyone in practice.

Cable technicians start their working day in a workshop or control center. They load the van with all the necessary tools and equipment and travel to the customer's premises to repair breakdowns.

In addition to telephones, they can install systems such as fax machines and cabling for computer networks. To install telecommunications systems, they can lay cables, connect and check the operation of equipment. They can also work with highly sophisticated equipment, such as digital television or satellite.

Skilled technicians work for equipment manufacturers, designing, developing, testing, and installing the necessary equipment.

The work could be carried out outdoors if it involves, for example, laying and connecting cables. Some tasks, such as fixing lines to telegraph poles, may include work at heights.

Most jobs involve bending movements, standing on stairs or standing for a long time, and lifting and carrying weights. There are cable technicians who must wear protective clothing such as safety helmets. They work under all kinds of weather conditions.

What do you need to become a cable technician?

To become a cable technician, you don't need to have any special skills or expertise. In the end, the training is entirely paid for by the employer, so even if a beginner cannot do something, qualified specialists will quickly introduce him to the course and teach him how to work with all types of cable networks. Besides, it is always pleasant to get paid for the work you do and even more so at an early training stage.

What about language skills?

Most cable companies try to hire everyone, and in practice, some cable technicians start with almost zero English skills. 

Of course, it is more difficult for them. Ideally, a cable technician needs to know conversational English, understand what people are saying, and explain things in simple sentences. 

In general, this work is the best practice in English. Cable technicians have to communicate with both clients and dispatchers, and they are all mostly English speakers. During training, a person learns not only basic work skills but also typical phrases. 

Most clients ask for the same thing: their Wi-Fi password or help in finding the right channel. All questions and answers are of the same type, and even a person who speaks poor English can quickly memorize them during training. 

If an emergency arises, a cable technician can contact a supervisor who will always help resolve this issue, especially for a newcomer.

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Modern cable networks are complex engineering infrastructures. A piece of wire stuck into your TV or Wi-Fi router is a tiny piece of the global network that cable technicians are building. It looks like a spider web hidden from the human eye in buildings and boxes. To do the job well, a cable technician needs to read diagrams and understand equipment and cables' technical specifications.