Careers in the Arts: Recording Engineer

Being a recording engineer is a career that most people limit their thinking of strictly to the recording of music and musicians. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a much more diverse field than that. Recording engineers also work in broadcasting stations, they produce commercials for television and radio and they perform many other tasks related to getting good quality sound into a recorded format including sound effects, interviews, News Casts, and more.

Recording engineers have a job that is unique in many regards. For example, their job requires them to be:

  • Creative
  • Able to give direction
  • Willing to debate with artists about the art being created
  • Have a good sense of business
  • Be able to find employment
  • Sometimes manage a studio

If you end up doing well at this career, there’s really no limit as to how much money you can make. For recording engineers employed by a studio or a broadcasting company, the median salary in 2010 was $39,870, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics although top-notch recording engineers who are in high demand can make much, much more.

Getting the Job

One of the interesting things about being a recording engineer is that one can get their foot in the door for this career by going to school or by having on hands experience. In some cases, some of the most talented recording engineers actually don’t have any education in sound engineering at all and learned everything on the job or in the context of a hobby.

As far as getting employment is concerned, however, some sort of a degree will usually be required. It’s the only way that prospective employers have a realistic way of assessing your skills when you first walk into the door. In some cases, it’s possible to complete the entire sound engineering training in a year and be ready to enter the world of work.

Some people may choose to combine sound engineering training with other forms of training that are relevant to the field. For instance, people with a degree in music may want to take another degree in sound engineering, making the more qualified than the average applicant for jobs and giving them the opportunity to see their occupation from both sides of the recording booth.

Sound engineering is growing at an average rate, with a 10% increase in employment expected over the next 10 years, according to the BLS. With so much multimedia content being produced and an entire Internet to distribute it on, there is plenty of opportunity out there for people who have a degree in this field.

Some Pros & Cons of Working Remotely

Working From Home, a Dream or a Nightmare?

For many working from home is the stuff dreams are made of, and although only a small percentage of people will ever end up fulfilling this dream it is worth spending some time looking at the pros and cons.

When I first began working from home it was when my office in a downtown highrise decided to cut costs by moving to a smaller office in the suburbs.  As my position of a web designer is done completely online and from a computer, I was one of the first to be given the option to work from home. I, of course, took it, knowing that this meant an enormous amount of freedom, and perhaps most importantly, the option to work in my pajamas! It was not all fun and games, however, and I would like to share some of the things that I learned “the hard way” so that maybe you will not have to:

1. Set up and maintain a dedicated workspace

It is easy to want to work on the couch in front of the television, or outside on the porch, or at the coffee shop down the street- but it is essential to set up, use, and MAINTAIN your at home workspace. For some people, this is a no brainer, but for me things can get out of control really quick if I am not being extra conscious of what I am doing.  If you are lucky enough to have an extra room you can set up as an office you are golden, but if not you may need to get creative. I have used room partitions before to set off a portion of my bedroom as a work-space and this seems to work well. The important thing is that you set up your space and use it.

2. Maintain an Even Work/Life Balance

When you think about the phrase “working from home” it sounds pretty appealing, but when you realize that the opposite is also true, in that you are also simultaneously “living at work” some of the appeal seems to fade. With this being the case it is important to set the two apart and identify different parts of your day as “work” time and others as “your” time. With the boundaries between work and home blurred this can be easier said than done so it is worth keeping in the front of your mind.

3. Set Boundaries With Friends and Family

It is often difficult for those who don’t work from home to comprehend that just because I am in my pajamas that I am not actually “at work.” Because of this they may be more prone to engage you socially or expect other things from you such as running errands or doing extra housework since you are “at home” that they would not if you were at the “the office.”

This can be especially true if you have little ones running around- I know I am definitely looking forward to the end of the summer! On a serious note, it is okay and in fact necessary to draw boundaries and expectations from family, friends, and room mates so that your work time is recognized and treated as such. This is a two way street however, so if they see you sitting around, drinking coffee, watching TV, or otherwise appear to be not taking your work seriously they will be less likely to as well.

By applying the above you will love working from home as much as I do!

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