Sound engineers are half problem solvers and half creative artists. He must ensure sound is captured, controlled, and reproduced without issues, and that the sound is pleasing and moves the audience in the intended fashion.
Careers as an Audio Engineer
- Live sound engineer working in venues
- Recording engineer in a studio
- Mix engineer
- Mastering engineer
- Boom microphone operator
- TV or Film mixer
- Sound designer
- Re-Recording Engineer
- Voice over Engineer
Many sound engineers work a freelance basis, technically working for themselves and finding clients who need their services. While there are no technical qualifications for this, one needs to have technical knowledge, experience, and determination to ensure a prosperous career.
Many universities and colleges now offer audio engineering programs in which students learn how to operate equipment and sound and acoustics basics. The advantages of a program are possible networking opportunities, a degree or certificate, and a fast track gaining experience. However, the programs can be quite expensive with no guarantees of a job.
Mentors / Internship
No matter if you attend school or not, learning first hand from a mentor through an apprenticeship or internship is highly valuable. While school often teaches theory, mentors teach real-life work flow and application.
In sound, one is always learning and trying to improve their craft. Many sound engineers learned through self-study and experience. There are countless books on the subjects of recording, mixing, mastering, and sound for film. Online e-courses, videos, and tutorials are also a great way to learn from others. There are many forums dedicated to different aspects of audio engineers with well-known professionals taking part in enlightening discussion covering the industry. Many magazines exist with up to date articles covering sound as well. All of these resources are extremely valuable to your audio education.
In addition to knowledge, you'll need to put the knowledge to practice using any gear you can get your hands on and working in a variety of situations. You will make many mistakes, but learning from mistakes is how you make progress. Over time, you will be good enough and have enough experience under your belt to begin charging for your work as a freelancer or looking for a job in sound. You will need to hustle and present your best work to stand out from the crowd of other aspiring engineers.
As always with sound, protect your ears at all costs as they are your most valuable asset and hearing damage is irreversible. With hard work and determination, you can be a sound engineer and work on the subject that interests you.