It is no secret that Open RAN (O-RAN) is gaining a real presence in Telecoms, and is becoming one of those “desired” technologies that vendors, operators and clients want to have in their tech environment. Omdia expects O-RAN revenues to increase from just $70 million in 2019 to about $3.2 billion in 2024, giving it a 9.4% share of the 4G and 5G market, but what effect will this have on Telecoms recruitment, and what are the current in demand skills for O-RAN?
OPEN RAN IS FIRING UP THE HIRING MARKET!
Over the past 18 months, we have seen a rise in demand from O-RAN companies across the globe wishing to expand their O-RAN teams and seize the momentum. We have also seen more candidates wishing to move into O-RAN companies or divisions as the technology gathers pace.
In short – the O-RAN recruitment market it very hot. There is a limited supply of candidates and those with hands on O-RAN experience are hot property with companies offering excellent packages to tempt them to join organizations.
But, with candidate interest high, and a hands on skills shortage, those candidates with relevant transferrable skills are prime for the switch to O-RAN.
At this time, the 3 most in demand roles we are seeing at the moment are:
OPEN RAN HOT JOB TITLE 1: Presales/Solution Manager
There are a lot of Open RAN trials, bids and tenders occurring. To maximise their offerings and sales, ORAN companies are looking to add the best Pre-Sales Engineers and Managers to their client-facing teams.
The key challenges in finding the best Pre-Sales people is always the hybrid of having a strong technical background but also having competent and confident client facing skills. With a lack of pure O-RAN candidates out there, clients that are being successful are turning to candidates that have the telco client facing knowledge and experience and upskilling them in O-RAN to fuel their growth.
Key Skills/Responsibilities clients are looking for:
- Proven experience in Solution Design and selling to major Telecoms Carriers
- Commercial and pricing experience as part of major bid teams
- Experience in Cloud-RAN/ Network Core, & small cell development strategies, Massive MIMO
- Excellent knowledge of LTE/5G and wireless technologies (including small cell & massive MIMO) and knowledge of vendors, products families, and key functionalities
- Product Development experience & interaction with Product teams
- Excellent understanding of 3GPP and xRAN / ORAN standards
- Deep knowledge of RAN, Core and IT networks including IT/OSS integration in commercial rollout of small cell services
- Very good knowledge of NFVi
- Excellent understanding of virtualized core network elements, performance and cost impacts
- Presales/Solution Managers are a key organ for the OPEN RAN body to function it will be essential for organizations to find great candidates with these key skills.
Open RAN Hot Job #2: O RAN Solution Architects
With O-RAN projects being won across Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa & Americas we are seeing a highly competitive battle between the Open RAN companies and indeed major traditional vendors for the best Solution Architects. As with 3G/4G and 4G/5G, the best and brightest engineers are the often ones who are chosen to receive training, or indeed work on, ORAN solution architecture.
As more and more Global Telecom companies take the plunge into ORAN there is significant demand for Open RAN Architects.
However, the number of candidates with full ORAN experience in this area is again limited, and they are in high demand. Therefore companies will have a distinct advantage if they are able to offer ORAN jobs to telecoms Architects from the more traditional telecoms environments where training is offered.
Key Skills/Responsibilities clients are looking for:
- 6+ years of experience as a Solution Architect in the telecoms / RAN technology, strong knowledge of End to End Architecture and HLD
- Experience with RAN Virtualization and / or OAMP/OSS architecture and design
- Knowledge and ideally working experience of master data models, network resource models, and service models, including experience using technologies such as Yang and Netconf
- Knowledge of SON and RAN management standards from O-RAN Alliance, 3GPP, TM Forum, Small Cell Forum, IETF
- Experience of 3GPP standards and massive MIMO exposure and SDN and NFV architecture
- Knowledge of cloud native and containerized network functions, DevOps and CI/CD, and AI/ML
- Familiar with Open RAN split function options such as option 7.2
- O RAN Recruitment tip: Recognise the skills shortage in O-RAN Skills and recruit best-in-class telecom engineers and training them quickly to further fuel your growth. If you’re looking for an exact match you may need to pay more for that hands on O-RAN experience.
Open RAN Hot Job #3: Testing & Verification Engineers
In traditional telecoms network rollouts, we often saw more Telecoms & Electrical Engineering graduates move through networking roles into testing and verification. However, this differs in O-RAN – software is king. Open RAN companies in this area are often opting to hire candidates with deep software engineering experience. Plus, where possible O-Ran Candidates will have backgrounds in both legacy Wireless WCDMA, LTE, VoLTE technologies, as well as programming languages such as C, C++, Python and Perl, using tools such as Wireshark, QXDM, XCAL, QCAT, Spirent, JDSU (Viavi), among others.
This demand poses challenges for companies to identify those candidates who have the best of both, or indeed develop new streams of hires with a more software based focus.
- 7+ years of experience in software and wireless integration and testing, ideally in the telecoms or SDN industry.
- Engaging with industry stakeholders including TIP, O-RAN and Open Networking Foundation (ONF), OpenRAN Alliance.
- Experience in scripting and developing device test automation. Test cases documentation
- Experience with UE and Base Station emulator tools such as Spirent, Keysight, Amarisoft, preferred.
- Good understanding of hardware and software interfaces, such as S1, N1, X2, etc.
- Subject Matter Expertise in End to End Network Functionalities and Testing, Protocols, Signaling.
- Experience with testing tools and protocol analyzers, such as XCAL, QXDM, Channel Emulators, Spectrum Analyzers, Signal Generators, Wireshark, Sniffers, etc.
- Experience in deployment and functional Testing, End-to-End testing, development of test plans, integration and testing of ORAN or 5G networks
- Must have a wide understanding of 3GPP standards and systems – Core and RAN networks
- Preferred 4G/5G LTE Call Processing and in-depth knowledge of RRC, S1- MME, S1-U and X2 protocols
- Good to have: understanding of concepts such as Hybrid Beamforming, Massive MIMO, New Waveforms, Internetworking, etc.
- Experience in key languages and operating systems: C, C++, Linux, and Python.
- Experience using vendor solutions and tools as: Viavi, Spirent, Keysight,
- Finding engineers that specialise in software instead of hardware is going to pose a very different challenge to Open RAN organizations hiring. The key will be getting in early and swooping up the top candidates first.
Open Ran Jobs and Skills
ORAN is growing and is here to stay. At this time demand is high in pre-sales, design, architecture and testing jobs. The number of candidates with hands-on experience of O-RAN is limited, but with time will grow. Those Open RAN companies that are willing to upskill and provide on the job O-RAN training will be able to attract exceptionally good telecoms candidates that wish to move into the O-RAN arena. Those that can’t, may have to pay more to attract those or indeed wait longer whilst O-RAN project numbers grow.