Spread Spectrum Offers Great Career Opportunities
by Randy Roberts
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 1995 as part 2 of a "Spread Spectrum
in a Newsletter for California's Junior College Instructors.
As the technologies of spread spectrum and networking mature, many opportunities will be created
for the entrepreneur. Right now there is a need for knowledgeable consultants and contract
workers in software, technical and user manual copy preparation, hardware design and testing, field
service and installation, and system planning and marketing. Other opportunities are presenting
themselves in the service sectors of the spread spectrum and networking technologies. For
instance, the author just three months ago started a monthly newsletter "Spread Spectrum
Scene" that covers PCN/PCS, LAN/MAN/WAN and CDMA/TDMA technology. The reader and
advertiser response to this new publication has surprised even its publisher. Other service sector
possibilities exist, such as on call service and installation, repair and maintenance, software
development, test, or integration and verification and finally, small manufacturing or product
These exciting opportunities will provide an outlet for a lot of smart, ambitious people who will
also help create job opportunities for other well prepared, knowledgeable individuals. While very
few entrepreneurs will get rich in their own small businesses, many people can make comfortable
livings in their own spread spectrum-based small businesses.
Career Opportunities in Spread Spectrum
Since so many different fields will be affected by spread spectrum, a real plethora of career
opportunities will soon exist in spread spectrum. Jobs now available in this new field range from
assembler, test technician, QA engineer, field service, customer service and support, computer
programmer, production co-ordinators, hardware design and development, RF/radio engineering
associates, programmers, BETA testers, manufacturing engineering assistants, technical writers,
tele-marketeers, various administrative jobs and many other functions that require some technical
knowledge of spread spectrum and networking technologies. Truly, the opportunities will only be
limited by imagination and the economy. Jobs now available for people with two year technical
degrees range from entry level positions at $5 or $6 per hour through $12 to $18 per hour for
more experienced hands-on people.
The author has tried to hire experienced and knowledgeable people with some spread spectrum
experience over the last three years in line with his professional employment, and has met with very
little success. The author has been forced to hire people with amateur radio or aerospace or
microwave engineering and development experience in lieu of people who know something about
modern digital communications. This causes employers to heavily invest in on-the-job training and
reduces starting wages for new employees.
If even one introductory lecture and lab course were taken by people with two year degrees in
electronics, the author feels that they could increase their starting wages by $2 or more per hour.
The author believes that this kind of incentive should be sufficient for many colleges, trade schools
and universities to start designing new curricula to address these new career opportunities.
Our world is rapidly changing -- computers have gone from mainframes to palmtops. Radio
communications has gone from lunchbox sized (or trunk mounted/remote handset car phone) to
cigarette-pack-sized micro-cellular telephone technology. The technical challenges of this
progress are significant. The new opportunities created by this new technology are also significant.
We've talked here about evolving career opportunities -- will you have a good job in the next
millennium? It may be time to think about learning more about Spread Spectrum!
Short Biography: Randy Roberts has over 30 years experience in communications, electronics
and spread spectrum system design. He graduated with a BSEE in 1970 from UC Irvine. Until his
retirement, he was the owner of RF/Spread Spectrum, an independent consulting, product development,
publishing, strategic planning and training company. He was also the founder and, until October 21,
2000, was the publisher of the website "Spread Spectrum Scene Online".