The RF engineer can work in very different fields such as telecommunications, aeronautics, space, … He/she is a specialist in analogue and/or digital signals, responsible for developing components or electronic boards capable of processing them and solving the problems that may be related to them. Find out what his missions, skills, educational background and salary are.
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What is radiofrequency – Definition
The “RF” in “RF engineer” means “Radio Frequency”.
Radio frequency “means an electromagnetic wave frequency between 3 kHz and 300 GHz, which includes frequencies used by various means of radiocommunication, including mobile telephony, Wi-Fi or broadcasting, as well as signals for other uses such as radar or microwave ovens. The waves using such frequencies are radio waves. Electronics dedicated to the processing of RF signals is a very specific field of electrical engineering which covers both the transmission and reception of these signals by antennas and their analogue and/or digital processing, but also the physical design of circuits, a particular feature of RF waves being that they propagate both in conductive media (cables, components, etc.) and in the surrounding space.” (source: Wikipedia)
In addition, the RF engineer is often associated with the term high frequency (HF), which in telecommunications refers to a “radio frequency high enough to allow the use of techniques such as waveguides and cavities”. (source: Wiktionary). They are often referred to as microwaves.
What does a RF engineer do – Duties & Responsibilities
What does a RF engineer do? With regard to this definition, the RF engineer can have very different missions. He may be required to intervene at several stages of a project to:
- Write technical specifications
- Define the architecture of RF solutions
- Select components, design components, integrate modules
- Define a test plan, simulate solutions
- Develop the complete solution and validate it
- Update technical documentation
How to become a RF engineer
Typically, the RF engineer has followed a master’s level training course in electronics, whether at the University or at an engineering school, either after a two-year preparatory course or directly after a bachelor’s degree.
In addition, a first experience in the field of RF is often required. It may have been gained during an internship or a work-study programme.
What a RF engineer should know – skills
Overall, a mastery of RF technologies is obviously essential, in terms of architecture, schematics and performance measurements. However, the skills of the RF engineer may vary according to the field of activity of his position. For example, skills in electronic schematics and layout, as well as knowledge of noise, linearity and spurious may be required.
As regards tools, these may include spectrum analyzers, power meters, vector analyzers, network analyzers, oscilloscopes, sources, mixers, filters, amplifiers, receivers, etc. In addition, knowledge of software such as OrCAD or customer experience software such as Genesys is required for some positions.
More generally, several human qualities are expected. This engineer must be autonomous, curious and versatile. He must also have a good team spirit as he may be required to advise the development teams in his field. In addition, he must be able to keep a technological watch.
RF engineer salary
The salary of an RF engineer depends on many factors, including experience, skills, location of the position, etc.
Generally, in France, an experienced engineer receives a salary of over €36K / year. For a more accurate estimate, you can consult online salary simulators (e.g., the APEC salary simulator).
Discover other job descriptions
Here are other job descriptions that may be of interest to you:
- Analog Electronics Engineer
- Signal Processing Engineer
- Test and validation professions: validation engineer, test bench engineer, etc.
In France, ELSYS Design regularly offers jobs as a RF engineer inside its design centers in Nice Sophia Antipolis, Paris, Grenoble, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence, Rennes and Nantes. You can consult them on our job site, where it is also possible to submit an unsolicited application.