Rikin Thakker

New WIA CTO Dr. Rikin Thakker Brings Technology Expertise to Workforce Development Efforts

It’s an exciting time to be part of the wireless infrastructure industry as new spectrum comes to market, new technologies change the way we live and work, and connectivity takes on new importance during a time when in-person engagement has been disrupted. At this juncture of pivotal momentum, the need for a skilled and trained workforce to build out our nation’s wireless infrastructure has never been more apparent, especially as companies prepare to meet the demands of 5G. Achieving that goal, however, is not a small challenge. It will require analyzing the impacts of future 5G use cases and close monitoring of spectrum and broadband policies to provide recommendations on broadband infrastructure deployment strategies. That’s why I am thrilled to have joined the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) as Chief Technology Officer, where I will help WIA members and their CTO offices identify future technology trends and shape their products and services to make them ready for 5G and beyond.  

One of the key roles of my job is helping drive workforce training initiatives forward through WIA’s Telecommunications Education Center (TEC). TEC helps organizations attract, train, and retain the wireless workforce through a wide range of quality wireless infrastructure training programs. The programs bring new workers up to speed quickly on wireless industry fundamentals and help deepen the knowledge existing workers already have on topics like Macro towers, 5G, DAS and Small Cells, Edge Computing, and site safety.  

TEC’s newest addition focuses on the new but rapidly developing Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) market Certification for CBRS Certified Professional Installer. This self-paced, knowledge-based training will quickly put your employees on the path to becoming Certified Professional Installers (CPI) for CBRS-based systems. Powered by Federated Wireless,the online course has been carefully designed, based on the guidelines and standards approved by the Wireless Innovation Forum (WInnForum).  

In our fast-changing industry, it can be a challenge to develop training that is current. TEC provides cutting-edge training that can be delivered nimbly to new and existing employees ondemand and at a fraction of the cost it would take for companies to develop the training on their own. TEC courses are developed by WIA with contributions from academia, subject matter experts, and our members. TEC has continued to pivot to meet virtual training requirements with eLearning and live instructor-led webinars. In fact, all TEC courses may be taught via live webinar. 

We are hearing great feedback from the organizations that have partnered with us and taken advantage of TEC courses. I invite you to check out the latest CBRS training and the entire catalog of TEC courses. We are addressing interest from individuals and companies in need of an enterprise-level training solution as indoor and outdoor deployments accelerate. 

We would love to hear your thoughts on TEC, the CBRS course, and other training that would be most valuable to your organization. To learn more about how TEC’s curriculum is addressing the skills gap through unique blended training environments, please visit our website, email tec@wia.org, or contact me directly at rikin.thakker@wia.org.