Careers in Wireless Technology
SEP 29, 2017 01:17 AM
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Careers in Wireless Technology

 
by Lori Cameron
 
For this issue of ComputingEdge, we interviewed Jeffrey Reed—professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech University and president of PFP Cybersecurity—about careers in wireless technology. Reed’s expertise is in software-defined radios, cognitive radios, smart antennas, and ad hoc wireless networks. He coauthored the article “A Communications Jamming Taxonomy” from IEEE Security & Privacy’s January/February 2016 issue. 
 
ComputingEdge: What careers related to wireless technology will see the most growth in the next several years?
 
Reed: Careers in the security and information assurance of wireless systems will grow because an increasing number of mission-critical functions will depend on wireless technologies. Furthermore, as more wireless networks interconnect with one another in the future, more vulnerabilities will have to be addressed. 
 
ComputingEdge: What would you tell college students to give them an advantage over the competition?
 
Reed:: Try to incorporate something in your background that makes you unique. This could be international experience, leadership experience, or special training. It doesn’t have to be technical, but it should show your ability to grow your career.
 
ComputingEdge: What should applicants keep in mind when applying for wireless-technology jobs?
 
Reed: Look for a position that provides you with global insight into a product’s development, rather than one that looks at just a small aspect of it. Try to find a job that will give a broad view of how the various components fit together to create a system. This means that your education, especially at the bachelor’s degree level should also be broad, incorporating classes in electrical-engineering fundamentals. Engineering specifics are easy to pick up later in a career, but picking up fundamentals outside the classroom is difficult. 
 
ComputingEdge: How can new hires make the strongest impression in a new position?
 
Reed: Work hard, and go the extra mile to learn. Understand the expectations, and exceed them.
 
ComputingEdge: Name one critical mistake for young graduates to avoid when starting their careers.
 
Reed: Avoid working in an area that, while it might be important to your employer, doesn’t develop a skillset that would be valuable to the industry in general.
 
ComputingEdge: Do you have any other advice that could benefit those starting out in their careers?
 
Reed: Continue to expand your education, and be prepared to do major career shifts every seven years if not sooner.
 
ComputingEdge's Lori Cameron interviewed Reed for this article. Contact her at l.cameron@computer.org if you would like to contribute to a future ComputingEdge article on computing careers. Contact Reed at reedjh@exchange.vt.edu.
 
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