Outside Plant Engineer
An Outside-Plant Engineer (OSP) plays a prominent role within the Telecom Industry. The primary responsibility of an OSP Engineer revolves around the construction and maintenance of plant infrastructure, design, and engineering as well as providing a route analysis of underground & aerial fiber optic installations. These engineers are the backbone of telecom and service provider companies since they are the primary designers of the entire Fiber network.
The Outside Plant Engineer provides immediate assistance to clients when issues arise. For example, if a climatic problem exists, they ensure that all of the new installations are in place and that system productivity is not affected.
The OSP Engineer is responsible for designing detailed engineering plans, costs and schedules related to the projects. The professional provides engineering guidance about telecommunication issues. They have to make sure that the infrastructure is installed properly to take care of the communication needs. It is the responsibility of the Outside Plant Engineer to get the necessary fiber cable storage, termination and access equipment. The engineers have to maintain a record of all the splicing requirements.
The engineer should be able to monitor and manage the fiber splicing. They have to evaluate and approve the installed fiber test characteristics. The professional will coordinate with the concerned departments regarding fiber cable maintenance and repair activities. The OSP Engineer will examine the as-build plans and test results. They should have an in-depth understanding of outside plant facilities such as cable sizing, cable counts, and cable records. The professionals will look into the drawings of all underground and above ground elements and proposed work.
The OSP Engineer’s job is to observe and maintain existing and ongoing projects. The engineer ensures that everyone in their charge follows all network quality requirements. The ability to multitask and work in coordination with the team provides an added advantage.
The OSP Engineer’s primary task is to identify and rectify OSP engineering problems with innovative solutions. They have to pick the most effective design to monitor the resulting work order. It is the responsibility of the OSP engineer to maintain safe working habits and conditions as per the regulations and policies. The professional has to coordinate with the engineering team and project management staff to keep track of the work activities. They have to work in collaboration with the drafting and GIS personnel to develop constructive designs or drawings. It is the OSP Engineer who should provide engineering overlay and appropriate engineering and construction notes.
The professional must have an in-depth understanding about the outside plant construction techniques. They must handle issues related to fiber networking, routing, and network management. The OSP Engineer will have to take care of the aerial and underground construction and engineering requirements. The professional will have to develop mitigation and restoration methods for emergencies conditions such as fiber damages, power failures and other disasters. It is the OSP Engineer will apply approved technologies and architectures to specific requirements.
The OSP Engineer should put to use a specific engineering discipline to plan, design, and implement telecommunications systems, networks and plant facilities. They have to define plans for the implementation of new plant construction or modification of existing facilities. The professional must play an active role in providing a budget for the implementation of designs, new services, technologies and industry requirements.
The OSP Engineer is responsible for managing the project expenditure, create progress reports, and recommend solutions to management. They have to perform mathematical and statistical analyses and prepare reports related to specific engineering and construction activities. The professionals will assist the other departments during the operation and maintenance of the plant. The following list defines some roles that play a prominent part of this job profile:
- Adheres to the industry standard regarding construction and maintenance of the entire OSP structure
- Assumes full responsibility for the safety and security of the existing OSP facility
- Determines the scope, budget, and schedules for existing and new OSP projects
- Submits weekly project status reports to the reporting managers
- Delivers project installations within the stipulated time
- Follows engineering standards and work as per market engineering specifications
- Develops aerial and underground fiber route maps and executes tasks such as route analysis
- Assumes charge of fiber optic verification and all cable route mapping activities
- Maintains records of all fiber cable splicing and topography
- Develops mitigation and restoration procedures for emergency conditions
- Possesses proper knowledge of CAD and other software applications used to create engineering designs
- Inspects OSP networks
- Grants the proper permissions to execute OSP projects
- Guides junior employees to achieve projects goals.
The OSP candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering or any field related to it. They can pursue electrical and/or electronics engineering, electrical and/or electronics communications engineering or telecommunications engineering. These courses will provide extensive knowledge on various subjects such as fiber optic cable splicing, CAD, networking and other related fields.
Unlike other job profiles, OSP certification courses are unique in the field. Many online courses are available for the interested candidate.
Some of the courses a candidate can take are as follows:
BICSI OSP Designer Certification
The BICSI OSP Designer Certification validates the candidate’s skills to plan, develop, and supervise outside plant projects. This certification teaches the individuals about the workable or buildable OSP cabling systems. The professionals will have the ability to take care of the procurement, deployment and verification of an OSP design.
Fiber-to-the-x Outside Plant Design Certification
The certification is specially designed for outside plant professionals who should be well-versed with designing an effective FTTx network. The certification offers the candidates FTTH network field configurations, design benchmarks, and installation parameters for active Ethernet and PON systems.
Certified Outside Plant Fiber Optic Specialist
The Certified Outside Plant Fiber Optic Specialist certification will teach the candidates how to properly identify OSP fiber cabling types, various outside plant closures utilized in OSP fiber installation. The certification will enhance their skills to install, prepare, terminate, splice, and properly test and troubleshoot installed OSP fiber cable to existing standards.
The Indeed salary estimate shows that an Outside Plant Engineer earns $27.24 per hour in the USA. Certification generally requires 36 months of study and experience. The employee tenures last from one to three years. The average salary, as per Payscale, for this position, runs $71,216 per year. As per Careerbuilder, on an average the Outside Plant engineer earns ranges between $56,000 and $126,500 annually with a median salary of $77,000. The other driving factors that play a prominent role are company and industry size.
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