Sunday, July 3

I am a telecom and I dedicate myself to things that have nothing to do with engineering

If one searches Linkedin for jobs for Telecommunications Engineers, one can find close to 500 vacancies. 97.1% of graduates in this engineering have a job, according to the last data published by the INE. And they are one of the most demanded profiles, both in Spain and globally.

The average salary of a telecommunications engineer was 52,711 euros gross per year (almost double the national average), according to the report Present and future of the telecommunications engineer, prepared jointly by the Official College of Telecommunications Engineers (COIT), the Spanish Association of Telecommunications Engineers and the consultancy IDC.

But nevertheless, there are telecos who decide to change of scene, abandon this part of engineering and dedicate themselves to things that, sometimes, have nothing to do with their university studies: from the person who has reached the general management to the one who is dedicated to managing investments, to the one who becomes a journalist.

Of course, they work on what they work all agree that they would study telecommunications again.

What I saw in the race and little else

We have spoken with three engineers who meet this profile: Javier Gancedo, Montse Peidró Y David fernandez. The former is now a journalist for the European Basketball League. She is in charge of the general direction of Also Cloud. Fernández has a startup investment company.

Photo David

The latter acknowledges that his experience as an engineer was very brief. “My first job was at Repsol, but the truth is that they were looking for an industrial engineer rather than a telecom”, he acknowledges. In addition, from the beginning he saw that his work was more focused on project and team management than in something more typical of engineering.

Gancedo did have a job more related to his studies. He worked for an Alcatel subcontractor. “He had to fix things for the world. I spent seven months in Taiwan and seven in Madrid. I changed my house four times in 18 months“, remember. And, although he assures that they did not treat him badly, he does admit that it was not the life he liked to live. Among other things because the one who is now his wife and then girlfriend lived in Barcelona.

Peidró did work as an engineer as soon as she finished her studies, something she recognizes was not normal, since most of his deskmates ended up as salespeople or product manager. After an Erasmus scholarship and presenting her final degree project in Frankfurt, this engineer took part in a program for the incorporation of students into companies. She was able to choose between Motorola, IBM, Siemens or HP and she did so because of the latter, moved, she acknowledges, because of the impact that for her it was an accident that a brother of hers had, who kept him in a hospital where he was monitored by HP medical teams .

Although he assures that the experience was hard, among other things because it was a very masculine environment and with a German philosophy, he spent seven years working in engineering.

The moment of change

Photo Montse

For Peidró, the abandonment of this part of engineering It came about when HP split into two large groups, selling the entire medical part to Philips. He began to delve deeper into the business side, into technical pre-sales, until in 2000 his director, of French origin, offered him to be a product manager for large-format printers. Just a year later, HP decided to establish its headquarters for this business in Barcelona.

It is a path of no return”, Says Peidró. “I only know one person who, having left an engineering job, has been able to return after 22 years as a product manager.”

The change for Gancedo came from the hand of his great passion: basketball. In an amateur way, he wrote about this sport, also for the Copa del Rey of the Spanish competition. “I had always liked basketball. I knew him. They were looking for someone to write and they offered me to work for them during the Final Four, with a view to making it a permanent position, ”explains Gancedo, who also concedes that he had little confidence that the latter would be fulfilled.

But as soon as they called him, he didn’t think twice, among other things because this also allowed him to move to Barcelona. “I wrote as a hobby and I was lucky that, being on telecom, I had access to the Internet in 94, which allowed me to write in both English and Spanish.”

Direct telecommunications projects

Photo Javier

After his time at Repsol, Fernández had other jobs that, although not purely engineering, did allow him to be close to these studies, such as being responsible for the deployment of the optical fiber of what is now Orange.

He was also one of the spokespersons for AMETIC (when he was the employer of the telecommunication operators) in the management of the controversial installation of telephone networks in Valladolid (there was very bad press by many childhood cancer cases in the city, which generated a lot of social alarm and opposition to the installation of new towers). “My work was to raise awareness, both for media and municipal technicians, since many of them did not want to approve the installation of an antenna due to that crisis of confidence ”, he recalls.

Fernández assures that he only spent four months programming at the end of his studies, and that already then he realized that he did not want to be a programmer all his life.

What the race gave me

David Fernández believes that telecoms have a highly valued profile in all businesses, especially at the management level (both budgets and projects and teams) due to the way the studies are planned. “It is a long distance race. The first year is a real sieve. They put so many tests on you and in such complex situations that either you are looking for life, or you end up leaving ”, he assures.

In your opinion, engineering “deconstructs your mind. Then it begins to rebuild, but you have to develop an ability to adapt and flexibility ”.

For Montse Peidró, studying teleco also imprints and forges a special type of character. “You spend many hours alone. You have to have a lot of decision to dedicate yourself to something that for others may not be important, but for you it is ”. Remember how in your college years many weekends you could not go out to study. Something that, when working, has to be corrected because “you feel very comfortable being alone and isolated. That more social part, in processes you have to join a team and you have to learn the Spanish way, which can be complicated and hard ”.

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In addition, he ensures that telecoms also have to be humble. “You can believe you are the master of the world and that nothing can resist you.”

Gancedo does not have, however, a good memory of his student years. “I was not in the right place, it took me a long time to get my degree,” he says, adding that at that time he does not have contact with many fellow students.

But he ensures that his training allows him above all to handle data and find things quickly. “Too forges you when it comes to dealing with extreme pressure. In teleco you know that you take a 3-hour exam and that it is the last problem that gives you the pass or not, “he says, assuring that that pressure” I have not had again in any job. And that in Taiwan had to decide which node to cut, which meant that people would be left without a phone, “he says.

Go back to studying teleco

When we asked them if they would return, despite everything, to study this telecommunications engineering, they all answered affirmatively. “If it takes me to the same place where I am now, yes I would study teleco”, sentence Gancedo.

This teleco turned journalist would not return to practice the profession for which he studied. He does not rule out the possibility that he could be making more money if he did, “but deep down, being in the Euroleague means living the life I want. It’s my happiness and I don’t think money compensates for other things”.

In addition, he assures that “if you are good at what you do and you like it, the normal thing is that you end up making money” and that everything “depends on your priorities in life.”

Experiences of a Spanish engineer who witnessed from within some of the most surprising achievements and adventures of NASA and ESA

David Fernández would also go through the same studies again because of the training that they have given him. “You have to know very few things, but have them very clear, process them very well and have many relationships,” he details, claiming that this applies to all aspects of life. Although he admits to being the rare one of his group of friends for being now involved in a writers workshop, he also assures that sometimes you have a misconception about what an engineer really is like.

Montse Peidró, for her part, would also go back to studying teleco, although she would choose another specialization. “My understanding of the products we carry is much greater than other colleagues, because they taught me to learn, to analyze in a very good way. Nothing seems difficult or unanalyzable to me. I would not have that mental structure without my studies, nor the capacity for effort and sacrifice”, He assures, giving as an example that he prioritized“ study and knowledge to go out one night in San Juan ”.

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