Wireman Job Description - Tasks, Duties and Skills of a Wiring Technician
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Wireman Job Description
A wiring technician (also referred to as a wireman or wirer) is somebody who carries out electrical wiring work, i.e. installing the cables, wires, conductors and connectors required to connect a device, machine or system to a power source. Somebody who wires up devices to a telephone or data network, on the other hand, is usually referred to as a network cable technician.
Wirers specialize in a field known as electrical engineering, which deals with the wiring and electrical components (e.g. power supplies, motors, electromagnets, sensors etc.) used to connect high and low voltage electrical systems, devices and equipment in domestic, commercial and industrial environments.
Wiring technicians work mainly with electrical distribution panels and switchboards, which they are responsible for wiring up in accordance with an electrical diagram or schematic. They install cable ducts and components, identify the correct terminals and connect up wires, switches and clamps as per the technical specifications shown on the electrical wiring diagram. They also carry out the earthing of electrical installations to ensure people and equipment are protected from sudden power surges, conduct functional tests on installations to check they work correctly and perform preventive maintenance.
Wirers need to be able to use a variety of tools and materials, including test lights, timers, sensors, soldering tools and insulation tape.
Electrical distribution panels and switchboards may be small, simple installations, such as a domestic junction box, but they may also be very large, such as the switchboards installed in a heating plant or industrial distribution boards. Technicians who look after the wiring of electrical equipment on a production line are known as industrial wiring technicians or panel builders. Their tasks include building switchboards and control panels for the automation of industrial processes and providing companies with technical support commissioning and start-up.
In the event of a circuit failure, wiring technicians perform diagnostic tests to identify the location of the fault and replace any damaged components. The key to successfully troubleshooting electrical circuits is the ability to carry out a rapid analysis of the problem, identifying and eliminating its root cause so that full operational capacity can be restored in as short a time as possible.
Wiremen are typically employed by electrical installation and maintenance companies alongside other electrical staff, such as electricians, installation engineers and panel builders. They may also be employed directly by industrial or manufacturing companies, as part of an in-house team of wiring technicians, installation engineers and electrical maintenance workers. Finally, some wiring technicians may choose to work on a self-employed basis or to start their own business.
Wiring technicians work wherever the equipment or systems to be installed or repaired are located. In-house technicians work at their own company’s offices, but for many others, travelling to a client’s premises is a normal part of the job.
Working hours may follow a normal full-time pattern (plus overtime where necessary) or - particularly in the case of workers employed to carry out routine and unplanned maintenance work - be shift-based (including nights).
Wirer: Responsibilities and Tasks
A wireman’s main duties include:
- Building electrical panels and installing electrical wiring and connections in residential, commercial and industrial environments
- Testing and inspecting installations to ensure functionality
- Preventive and unplanned maintenance of electrical systems
- Electrical fault diagnosis
- Repairing faults in wiring and electrical components
- Wiring of industrial electrical equipment
How to Become a Wireman - Training and Requirements
Aspiring wiring technicians require some form of technical training, such as a high school diploma in electrical engineering or electronics. Professional training courses for electricians and wiring technicians are also available that teach the basic skills required for panel wiring and building work.
In addition to a knowledge of electrical and electronic theory - e.g. wiring, electrical schematics, wire and cable marking, panel building standards, sizing electrical installations, PLC automation and electrical testing and measurement tools - wirers ideally also need practical experience of building electrical panels and performing functionality tests.
They may also need IT skills such as the ability to use CAD tools for drawing circuit schematics and wiring diagrams and remote monitoring and diagnostics programs.
Finally, wiremen need to have a comprehensive understanding of the electrical safety risks involved in their job and a knowledge of all the relevant safety standards and regulations.
Wirer: Skills and Qualifications
Job advertisements for wiring technicians typically ask for the following skills:
- Ability to assemble and wire electrical panels for residential, commercial and automated industrial applications
- Ability to read electrical schematics and wiring diagrams
- Ability to wire electrical equipment for industrial machinery
- Knowledge of tools and instruments of the trade
- Ability to work with minimum supervision
- Precision and attention to detail
- Strong manual skills
Wiring Technician Career Path
Wiring technicians typically start their careers in an entry-level position, such as junior wiring technician, where duties usually include wiring up electrical panels and testing and installing electrical components, as part of a team of electrical fitters. Their subsequent career path may follow a number of different routes. An experienced wiring technician may, for example, choose to focus on carrying out electrical wiring work for residential and commercial clients or to specialize in the installation of electrical equipment for automated industrial applications.
Alternatively, with the right training, a wireman could move into the mechanical and electrical design of low voltage electrical panels or control panels for industrial equipment, as an electrical design engineer. Another option is to specialize in electrical maintenance and focus on cable and wire quality testing and control, e.g. identifying faulty wiring, securing cables with tie wraps, soldering cable ends and replacing defective terminals and components. Successful electrical maintenance technicians can expect to progress to a supervisory role, such as electrical maintenance manager.
Top Reasons to Work as a Wireman
Why should you consider working as a wirer?
The job of a wireman is a dynamic and stimulating one. No two electrical panels present the same challenges, with every failure and short circuit offering a test of a wireman’s ability to work quickly and accurately under pressure. The job also offers the chance to learn a range of highly transferable electrical skills that may be put to good use in a number of other fields. Finally, the specialist skills required to carry out the assembly and wiring of industrial control panels for automated applications are highly sought after on the job market.