CCTV engineers are a breed unto themselves. They combine the skills of drilling, fixing and cable running for starters. Add to this the need to be able to wire up intricate panels and program them .They also have to fault find and commission what are sometimes very large systems. Add to this the ability to work at height and you can see they have a to have a large and varied skill set.
However it does not stop here. The CCTV engineer must be able to have other skills such as being able to fit access control and intruder alarms and all sorts of integrated security. They have to work in extremely varied environments from scrap yards to car sale showrooms to high- tec manufacturers to garden centres, the list is endless. Simply because CCTV, Access control and intruder alarms have to be installed into just about every business environment in the country.
A rare breed!
Can they need any more skills? Well yes they need to be able to read drawings and specifications. They must carry out risk assessment and be able to deal face to face with customers. They must complete paperwork and be clean and tidy. They have to think on their feet and have the ability and training be able to operate cherry pickers. Most of all they must present a good company image at all times.
If you look into everything listed above you would be right to think that your friendly CCTV engineer is expected to be all things to all people and to some degree it is true, the best ones are quite simply the life blood of a security installer. A thought here now though. Much of the above is associated with running cables and terminating connections!
But for how long will all these skills be required?
Things though are changing and probably at the fastest pace for the last 20 years. IP solutions are beginning to dominate the market and this certainly means that the CCTV engineer needs to adapt into something quite alien to what he has been used to for the last few years.
Networks and Laptops.
Understanding of customers networks, loading and operating software and a total understanding of Internet protocol. These will soon be the new tools of the CCTV engineer. Admittedly many products already require a laptop to set them up but this can nearly always be done by the IT department before the product goes to site. Remote connectivity is almost rendering the commissioning process on site redundant and the engineer as we know him is being pushed to one side by the IT departments. This however is inevitable, Integrated CCTV , IP intruder alarms and access control is now the prefered option of many companies and the CCTV engineer needs to be ever more technically minded and versatile.
Finally we ask will the CCTV engineer actually ever be replaced ? Well more and more functions can be carried out remotely and with customers networks being used instead of coaxial cable runs many skills are being lost or replaced by IT functions. It seems to me that the the friendly CCTV engineer must evolve quickly or sadly, very soon he could be replaced by the IT integrator.