“...Real challenge is the amount of information out there”
- Zahid Ghadialy (@zahidtg)
If you are looking for specific information related to Telecommunications and Information Communication Technology topics online. Chances are you will be end up landing on 3G4G blog. If you have not done that so far, then you will do so in future.
3G4G is a Telecommunications blog which caters to the needs of an average of ~100K telecom professionals per month all across the world.
The blog was founded by a gentleman named Zahid Ghadialy (@zahidtg). This summer when I was visiting England, one of the things on my bucket list was to meet him. I got to sit down with him and talk all from his early days of 3G4G and what’s happening in ICT now a days.
I decided to share the summary of what we discussed during the meetup in 11 simple questions.
1.Tell me a little bit about your current company and your role within it
Parallel Wireless is on a mission to simplify mobile networks and make deployments as easy and straightforward as Wi-Fi. We have over 30 live trials & deployments going on and in many cases, we are working with the operators to connect the unconnected. I have recently moved from a Solutions Architect role to a Strategic Marketing role looking at trends and how best to help solve end user problems.
2.You are famous for 3G/4G Blog. Tell me about some of things and circumstances which led you to start it?
I started with the 3G4G website back in 2004 but realized it is tricky to update and maintain it. Blogger was a good platform to do blogging on so I started doing blogs rather than just updating the website. The blog is more informal and is a quick way to share information so I have continued maintaining it. I have another area of focus; Small Cells, so I have a separate blog on that topic. It’s called 3G4G Small Cells blog.
The main reason to start the blogs was for information sharing with my colleagues and use it as a sort of library of notes that can be accessed from anywhere. In the good old days, it was very difficult to get the latest cutting edge technical information easily. Now we have many blogs, news sites, YouTube channels, etc. that provides great information but back in 2004 there were hardly any real technical information online, only in books. The problem with books are that they are expensive. Don’t get me wrong, they are worth it and I have bought quite a few of them but in the developing world, most people can’t afford to spend that much money to buy these books. As a result, many people look to find free information over the web.
A couple of years after starting the blog, I started noticing that the traffic was going up as there were quite a few visitors. I have received a lot of feedback (mainly positive) over the years that have kept me going.
3.What books, blogs articles, website etc. do you read to stay relevant in telecom industry?
I read quite a few magazines and publications. There are too many to list out here but I follow all the major outlets. In addition, I rely a lot on conferences, seminars, events, etc. Cambridge Wireless (of which I am a big supporter & a board member) share their presentations publicly. These presentations are a valuable source of information and knowledge. Twitter also contains a lot of useful information if you follow the right people.
4.What’s your routine in writing about technology and telecom industry. What sources do you use to get inspiration and write about?
There is no routine as such. I keep collecting links in a document. When I think I have a story, I write about it. Some of it may go on blogs, some on websites, some on Twitter / Facebook and some become videos.
5.You have worked in so many roles across the span of your career so far. Which role do you associate yourself most with? And why?
As I always tell people, once an engineer, always an engineer.
6.What challenges do you see for the next generation of telecom professionals?
I think the real challenge is the amount of information out there and the amount of information that needs to be absorbed to do the work. 10 years back it was just 2G & 3G mainly with 4G being developed. Now in addition to 2G, 3G, 4G & 5G, there is SDN/NFV, Cloud & Edge, IoT and Competing technologies and lots more. It can be confusing for the next generation of telecom professionals to understand what each of these are and how they play a role in the telco ecosystem.
7.It’s a behavioral question. But let me ask it anyways. If you get approached by any employer who wants to work with you. What are your main Key performance indicators to make a career decision related to a technical job.
You move jobs because you get either more money, better position (promotion) or better work. You need to decide where you want to be in 5 years’ time and if this new job will help you with that.
8.As you have worked in technical domain and business side as well. In your opinion, why do clients go to work with big enterprise companies when they can get the same service from small companies for better rates? What subjective factors are involved in this decision?
This is a complex question. Suppose there is a small company where the founder is a technical expert that can solve any problem. If something happens to that founder than the company can’t deliver. This means that the big enterprise would have to delay its project. This is one of the main reasons for not working with small companies. In addition, it’s also difficult to manage many different small companies. It’s easier to manage 1 or 2 big ones. All these depends on many different factors but in general these are couple of main reasons.
9.What excites you about the future of Telecom?
There are a lot of new technologies on the horizon, not only in the telecom domain but also in related technologies. Take for example drones. While they are not directly related to telecoms they have many different roles to play. They can be used for inspecting the base stations and antennas, they can be used to provide coverage in case of emergencies. They can be controlled via mobile communication to travel far and wide and much more. There are many other technologies that will overlap and interact with telecoms and that excites me. Autonomous cars are another such technology. I am looking forward to 5G and the associated technologies that will provide us with extremely high-speed connectivity. Think of the new applications and services these will all enable.
10.What advice would you have for professionals struggling to find employment in the changing landscape of Information, communication and technology?
There is a worldwide shortage of ICT professionals. I am sure there may be surplus in some locations but a deficit of them in most parts. If you are struggling, try and learn about other areas. There are many online learning platforms that provide good overview courses for free (I generally use Future Learn and Coursera). Take advantage of them to keep learning new things. In addition, there is Quora that can give you lots of great ideas. In addition to all these, improve communication skills and learn foreign languages if possible, they also help.
11.Anything else, you would like to share with the readers about yourself?
They say a picture is worth 1000 words and a video is well, a lot of pictures. I have recently started a project of producing small video tutorials. Have got good feedback till now so I may produce some more. I am very excited about this.