Optics are at the very heart of modern, long-distance telecommunications equipment. Cross functional, multi-disciplinary design is required to deliver these highly complicated systems. Optical engineers apply device, signal processing and information theory expertise to develop the key devices, components and algorithms. This talk will give an introductory overview of optical networking equipment, from the perspective of a hardware engineer whose team designs and builds this type of gear. The audience will have a chance to see a modern optical networking system in operation. There will be some discussion of the various roles optical engineers play in planning, designing, selling and operating optical networks, and the systems and components that comprise them.