Even in an age of wireless communications, it seems impossible to set up a company's telecommunications or internet without lots of cables. A registered communications distribution designer (RCDD) has the skills to design the cable system that support the company's network. Whether a company or government agency is concerned about security, videoconferencing or dependable Internet, an RCDD is often the one they look to. Getting certified isn't a legal requirement, but many client prefer certification as proof they've hired someone competent.
The Importance of Cable
A good cabling design supports not only the telecommunications layout you have now, but the needs you might have in the future:
- How many devices do you need connected to the cable system? What kinds of devices?
- How many are you likely to add as your company grows?
- How many extra locations will you need to connect up as the company grows?
- Are the cables adequately protected from dirt, spilled coffee and other potential problems?
Does the system have the capacity to adapt as technology or industry trends change? If you do your business by online chat but your new client prefers videoconferencing, can you adapt your system to keep up?
The Role of the RCDD
A registered communications distribution designer has both a certification and hands-on experience in the field. They play a role at every stage of a cable project:
- Designing cabling for a large building.
- Evaluating how well the design will meet the customer's future needs.
- Managing the project to ensure the design is installed safely and correctly.
- Making necessary changes if the facts on the ground turn out different from the blueprints.
At the end of the project, the RCDD signs off, showing that everything's been done properly.
Unlike needing a doctor's license to practice medicine, there's no law requiring you certify as a registered communications distributions designer to work in the field. Your clients or your company's clients, however, may insist on certification as proof of your qualifications. The Department of Defense, for example, requires a certified RCDD when it takes bids on telecom design projects.
The Building Industry Consulting Services International (BISCI) an information and communications technology industry group, handles certification. BICSI offers other telecommunications certifications, such as the data center design consultant and outside plant designer.
It's not as simple as simply writing a check, then taking a test. First, you submit an application. If it's accepted, you have one year to prepare, before you take the exam. If you pass, you get your certification. To keep it, you'll need 45 hours of continuing certification over the next three years.
For BICSI to accept your application, you need five years of information and communications technology experience over the past five years. Alternatively you can have two years of ICT design experience and three years of education, experience and approved telecommunications certifications. It's up to BICSI to decide whether your education and certifications qualify you. You'll also need several letters of reference with your application.