Outside Plant Technician Career

Job Description: Install, set-up, rearrange, or remove switching, distribution, routing, and dialing equipment used in central offices or headends. Service or repair telephone, cable television, Internet, and other communications equipment on customers' property. May install communications equipment or communications wiring in buildings.

*A job as an Outside Plant Technician falls under the broader career category of Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers. The information on this page will generally apply to all careers in this category. We are still seeking more specific information about this career from experts in this field. If you can provide us with more information, .

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Outside Plant Technician Career

What Outside Plant Technicians do:

  • Note differences in wire and cable colors so that work can be performed correctly.
  • Test repaired, newly installed, or updated equipment to ensure that it functions properly and conforms to specifications, using test equipment and observation.
  • Remove loose wires and other debris after work is completed.
  • Test circuits and components of malfunctioning telecommunications equipment to isolate sources of malfunctions, using test meters, circuit diagrams, polarity probes, and other hand tools.
  • Repair or replace faulty equipment such as defective and damaged telephones, wires, switching system components, and associated equipment.
  • Assemble and install communication equipment such as data and telephone communication lines, wiring, switching equipment, wiring frames, power apparatus, computer systems, and networks.
  • Demonstrate equipment to customers and explain how it is to be used, and respond to any inquiries or complaints.
  • Inspect equipment on a regular basis in order to ensure proper functioning.
  • Collaborate with other workers in order to locate and correct malfunctions.
  • Clean and maintain tools, test equipment, and motor vehicles.
  • Request support from technical service centers when on-site procedures fail to solve installation or maintenance problems.
  • Remove and remake connections in order to change circuit layouts, following work orders or diagrams.
  • Refer to manufacturers' manuals to obtain maintenance instructions pertaining to specific malfunctions.
  • Communicate with bases, using telephones or two-way radios to receive instructions or technical advice, or to report equipment status.
  • Analyze test readings, computer printouts, and trouble reports to determine equipment repair needs and required repair methods.
  • Adjust or modify equipment to enhance equipment performance or to respond to customer requests.
  • Route and connect cables and lines to switches, switchboard equipment, and distributing frames, using wire-wrap guns or soldering irons to connect wires to terminals.
  • Test connections to ensure that power supplies are adequate and that communications links function.
  • Remove and replace plug-in circuit equipment.
  • Run wires between components and to outside cable systems, connecting them to wires from telephone poles or underground cable accesses.
  • Review manufacturer's instructions, manuals, technical specifications, building permits, and ordinances in order to determine communication equipment requirements and procedures.
  • Drive crew trucks to and from work areas.
  • Climb poles and ladders, use truck-mounted booms, and enter areas such as manholes and cable vaults, in order to install, maintain, or inspect equipment.
  • Designate cables available for use.
  • Perform database verifications, using computers.
  • Address special issues or situations, such as illegal or unauthorized use of equipment, or cases of electrical or acoustic shock.
  • Examine telephone transmission facilities to determine requirements for new or additional telephone services.
  • Install telephone station equipment, such as intercommunication systems, transmitters, receivers, relays, and ringers, and related apparatus, such as coin collectors, telephone booths, and switching-key equipment.
  • Diagnose and correct problems from remote locations, using special switchboards to find the sources of problems.
  • Determine viability of sites through observation, and discuss site locations and construction requirements with customers.
  • Measure distances from landmarks to identify exact installation sites for equipment.
  • Dig holes or trenches as necessary for equipment installation and access.
  • Maintain computer and manual records pertaining to facilities and equipment.
  • Perform routine maintenance on equipment, including adjusting and lubricating components, and painting worn or exposed areas.
  • Enter codes needed to correct electronic switching system programming.
  • Install updated software, and programs that maintain existing software and/or provide requested features such as time-correlated call routing.
  • Program computerized switches and switchboards to provide requested features.
  • Clean switches and replace contact points, using vacuum hoses, solvents, and hand tools.
  • Place intercept circuits on terminals to handle vacant lines in central office installations.
  • Provide input into the design and manufacturing of new equipment.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment - Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Holland Code Chart for an Outside Plant Technician

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