It’s a challenge we've seen with many of our customers. Our discussions with operators and network vendors reveal a persistent struggle to find people with skill sets in multiple domains, like networking, 5G, cloud, Secure SD-WAN, Wi-Fi6E, security, AI/ML, and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) automation.
Those experts are in high demand not just within telecom but also other industries built atop IT processes and architectures. Even when the right expertise is available, time pressures typically won’t allow for months or years to develop best practice methodologies and workflows for cutting-edge technologies.
Faced with implementing a new testing product, utilizing new testing methodologies, or integrating new automation solutions, organizations too often find they don’t have the qualified personnel on site to face the challenge of realizing their new technology strategies. This highlights the need for specialized and often extended technical expertise outside standard in-house resource capabilities. And it all starts with having the right capabilities in next-gen testing.
Resident Engineers – Filling the Gap
We’re seeing a rising trend with our customers, and the industry, of bringing in Resident Engineers (REs) from trusted partners to help them maintain pace with their technology goals, raise productivity, control costs, and facilitate speed to market.
Extended engagements for this on-site technical expertise traditionally exceeds eight consecutive weeks. Projects can range from upgrading networks or devices, integrating new 5G or security solutions, implementing wireless infrastructures, as well as consulting and developing state-of-the-art test automation solutions, incorporating DevOps and CI/CD best practices to achieve continuous test (CT) automation.
All have cutting-edge technology requirements where timely, qualified, engaged technical expertise assures express ROI, bypassing the expensive prospect of ramping up resources with the targeted skills required to perform at the level of expertise required. RE’s provide the targeted proficiency organizations need to meet their exacting requirements in both the short and long term. More specifically, the areas of RE delivery expertise break down this way:
Support Engineer with implementation service capabilities
Test Service Engineer for test case development and execution
Automation Engineer for automation environment setup and test campaign development
The period of a longer engagement, for example, a 12-month project, can include an RE specialist for support and implementation at the first phase of the engagement, then involve a separate test service or automation engineer later in the project – or two concurrently for 6 months – all under the same contract. This delivery model also recognizes that Covid constraints still represent an operational delivery factor, where some REs may work onsite, while others work remotely.
The bottom line: in an industry experiencing continuous technology acceleration, the organization that recognizes the benefits of addressing their short-term, and in many cases long-term testing challenges by adding seasoned outside expertise to directly interface with their internal teams has proven to be a cost-effective solution for maintaining the brisk pace of testing and market evolution.