There is an interesting paradox playing out in the security systems technician field both locally and across the country. At a time when the industry is growing and new technologies are driving the market, fewer people are seeking jobs in the field.
In Massachusetts, for example, over the past 15 years the number of people holding Systems Technicians licenses (low voltage C & D) has decreased by 21%. The big question is why?
Today, the responsibilities of a systems technician go way beyond installing door contacts and motion detectors. In 2015, security technology is network based, with sophisticated video, access, intrusion, home automation and life-safety systems. Most systems have associated mobile applications. The work of a systems technician today is part craftsman and part IT expert. The old concept that “low voltage means low tech” is as extinct as the dinosaurs.
In fact, the old question “why be a low voltage technician when you can be an electrician?” is being turned on its head. Although Master Electrician “A” and Journeyman “B” license holders have the authority and skill to do all Systems Work, in the past few years, many traditional electricians have been very successful transitioning to become low-voltage systems technicians for companies like American Alarm and Communications, Inc. They have realized the work is more interesting than “just pulling wires”. The steady growth of the security industry avoids the typical boom-bust cycle that many electrical contractors face.
There is no better time to begin a career as a systems technician in the security industry. According to IMS, “The residential intrusion alarm market in the Americas is expected to see substantial growth over the next couple of years, growing by 7.1% and 9.4% in 2014 and 2015 respectively”. To keep up with demand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics project that from 2012-2022, an estimated 21,000 system technicians jobs will need to be filled.
Systems technicians in a security company are responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repairs of security systems, life-safety systems, networked video surveillance, access control systems, and other related equipment. Abilities that make a great system technician include handiness, critical thinking, complex problem solving, and good communication skills.
With technology rapidly evolving, the market is capturing a new consumer base. This new market is looking for a “smarter” security system, one that can be accessed remotely and interconnected with other wireless devices in their home. To keep up with these new technologies, technicians receive ongoing training. This broadens their skill set and greatly increases their professional value.
Systems technicians also receive customer service training. They demonstrate and explain to customers how the system works customers while onsite at their homes or business. Customers truly appreciate this and provide overwhelmingly positive feedback about the technician’s expertise. Technicians become so comfortable with customer service that it is not uncommon for them to switch career paths and go into sales.
So whether you are just graduating from a technical program or a seasoned professional, consider exploring a career in the security sector.