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Advice in a career in acoustic consultancy Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 9th September 2011
  #1
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Advice in a career in acoustic consultancy

Hi, just looking for a bit of advice. I have been very fortunate lately and have been offered a job in acoustics from two different companies. Both jobs seem excellent, but each specialises in two separate acoustic disciplines, Architectural & Building Acoustics and the other in Environmental Noise. I'm unsure in which job to choose and I was wondering which one of these areas in acoustics has the better long term career prospects.

Thanks
Old 10th September 2011
  #2
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

Actually there is no reliable manner in which to determine future events - if there were I would certainly be a very VERY rich man.

My best advice to you would be to follow whichever fulfills your greatest interest for a career.......

From my perspective the truly successful people are those who love what they do for a living with a passion.

Good luck,

Rod
Old 10th September 2011
  #3
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audiothings's Avatar
 

Just curious... What is your background? Did you study acoustics at college?
All the best!
Old 10th September 2011
  #4
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Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Gervais View Post
Actually there is no reliable manner in which to determine future events - if there were I would certainly be a very VERY rich man.

My best advice to you would be to follow whichever fulfills your greatest interest for a career.......

From my perspective the truly successful people are those who love what they do for a living with a passion.

Good luck,

Rod
Actually just be lucky you have a job in this day and age!
Old 10th September 2011
  #5
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Considering that studios would come under the purview of Building Acoustics, this is not the place to get unbiased advice on environmental noise...

Which company has the better management, better staff, better conditions...?

Really I agree with Rod, what interests you more...? Building Acoustics is much more than studios. It is also lots and lots of mundane spaces such as blocks of apartments built adjoining busy roads and designing the noise control of office air conditioning. Environmental noise can be as simple as a neighbour's barking dog or noisy air-conditioner, or as complicated as a 1-million tonne/d coal mine (well, in Australia anyway). Big jobs are done using SoundPlan or CADNAA software so if that type of computer work appeals to you then maybe lean that way.
Old 11th September 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonner.m View Post
Hi, just looking for a bit of advice. I have been very fortunate lately and have been offered a job in acoustics from two different companies. Both jobs seem excellent, but each specialises in two separate acoustic disciplines, Architectural & Building Acoustics and the other in Environmental Noise. I'm unsure in which job to choose and I was wondering which one of these areas in acoustics has the better long term career prospects.

Thanks
first you will not be a consultant
you will be an employee
perhaps doing sales engineering
they often get misleading titles instead of more salary

a consultant has to be an expert with lots of experience and the ability to keep getting work from clients as an independent operator.

take the one with the biggest offer

fwiw imho neither has great long term prospects
as the demand is low, but competition is low too, so
pretty much even wrt taht aspect so
take the one with the best offer
Old 11th September 2011
  #7
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiothings View Post
Just curious... What is your background? Did you study acoustics at college?
No I didn't......... I was in college at one point in my life with a major in psychology - but opted for a career in construction - and although I took a few courses along the way - I never did end up going back to college.

I studied the vast majority of engineering disciplines related to construction along the way on my own - bought a ton of books and understood what I studied.

Designing studios is actually a sideline for me - what I generally do is oversee the design of large projects - working directly for the owner's or developers, with the final say on the design of civil, structural, architectural, fire alarm and sprinkler systems, lighting and electrical systems as well as acoustic systems - be it room design or isolation systems.

As a part of this I also do review of the building, life safety and handicapped codes.

Right now, in addition to the studios I have under construction and/or design, I also have a couple of buildings that I have specified HVAC systems for, which are currently out to bid - as well as a 1/2 dozen buildings that I am specifying HVAC systems as well as providing code review of the designs.

For me - construction has been a great career - and the fact that I get to have a wide variety of things to deal with makes it so I never get bored, which for me would be a killer..... boredom is not high on the list of things I want to achieve in life.

I will say that the wider the variety of experience you have - the greater the demand for your services there is.

I have gotten a number of projects simply due to the fact that licensed professional engineers cannot work outside of their disciplines, and I can cover all of the bases.

Rod
Old 11th September 2011
  #8
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Rod,

Thanks for that post... a very interesting read! However, my question was intended for the thread starter... I was wondering what qualification it takes to be "offered a job in acoustics from two different companies"...

Best Wishes,
Old 11th September 2011
  #9
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Thanks for the response guys, still mulling over it but I realise how lucky I am to have the choice. And I'll take on board your advice Rod, I have been reading up on my notes trying to pin point the areas which I find more interesting.

Also thanks Sebg, my experience of CADNAA is a bit limited, but the job offers training on it. The other job requires the use AutoCAD and CATT acoustic modelling software which I am a bit more familiar in. What I really desire is to get involved in the bigger projects so that I can learn more and add to the CV.

In reply to Audiothings, I started to off working as technical assistant for a small acoustic consultancy firm. Whilst working there I studied the Institute of Acoustics post graduate diploma in Acoustics and Noise Control. I have had a bit of a break from acoustics for the past couple of years, but the last 12 months I have been trying hard to get back in at a trainee level. It was difficult to find positions at first, but things have seemed to have picked up over the past few months. If you are looking to start a career in acoustics my best advice is to look at the Institute of Acoustics website www.ioa.org.uk and consider doing the diploma course, it is quite sought after by a lot of employers (in the UK anyway).

All the best
Old 11th September 2011
  #10
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I wish people going into studio acoustics were required to first work as an assistant at some of the finest older studios such as EMI Abbey Road. Virtually all of the contemporary studios I've encountered haven't even been in the ballpark of what a truly great recording studio is like. It's hard for people who don't know where the goalposts are to come up with a winner no matter how much skill they have.
Old 12th September 2011
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Gervais View Post
No I didn't......... I was in college at one point in my life with a major in psychology - but opted for a career in construction - and although I took a few courses along the way - I never did end up going back to college.

I studied the vast majority of engineering disciplines related to construction along the way on my own - bought a ton of books and understood what I studied.

Designing studios is actually a sideline for me - what I generally do is oversee the design of large projects - working directly for the owner's or developers, with the final say on the design of civil, structural, architectural, fire alarm and sprinkler systems, lighting and electrical systems as well as acoustic systems - be it room design or isolation systems.

As a part of this I also do review of the building, life safety and handicapped codes.

Right now, in addition to the studios I have under construction and/or design, I also have a couple of buildings that I have specified HVAC systems for, which are currently out to bid - as well as a 1/2 dozen buildings that I am specifying HVAC systems as well as providing code review of the designs.

For me - construction has been a great career - and the fact that I get to have a wide variety of things to deal with makes it so I never get bored, which for me would be a killer..... boredom is not high on the list of things I want to achieve in life.

I will say that the wider the variety of experience you have - the greater the demand for your services there is.

I have gotten a number of projects simply due to the fact that licensed professional engineers cannot work outside of their disciplines, and I can cover all of the bases.

Rod
that is not true
if you can do it they can do it

only thing a pe license does is let you sign the final documents saying that they are safe for public use

i am a licensed pe (electrical)
i could still work in mechanical, chemical, acoustic, yada yada

and i could sign the documents IF i felt qualified
in many cases that may be outside my expert knowledge I would have someone else do the signature after checkign my work.
Old 12th September 2011
  #12
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wow! rod that's a serious amount of liability you are taking on there.
Old 12th September 2011
  #13
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audiothings's Avatar
 

bob,

With all due respect... The OP doesn't seem to be heading towards audio studio acoustics at all. If he is interested in building/industrial acoustics and noise control, i don't see why he should aquaint himself with the acoustics of Abbey Road and such.

OP... Thanks for that post and all the best with your career...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
I wish people going into studio acoustics were required to first work as an assistant at some of the finest older studios such as EMI Abbey Road. Virtually all of the contemporary studios I've encountered haven't even been in the ballpark of what a truly great recording studio is like. It's hard for people who don't know where the goalposts are to come up with a winner no matter how much skill they have.
Old 12th September 2011
  #14
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldeanalogueguy View Post
that is not true
if you can do it they can do it

only thing a pe license does is let you sign the final documents saying that they are safe for public use

i am a licensed pe (electrical)
i could still work in mechanical, chemical, acoustic, yada yada

and i could sign the documents IF i felt qualified
in many cases that may be outside my expert knowledge I would have someone else do the signature after checking my work.
I understand what you're saying - I suppose anyone can do anything - however - this would (I guess) also depend on the State the PE license is issued in - the regs here in Connecticut are pretty explicit - this is taken directly from "Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors", and went into effect back in 1994

Quote:
(3) The engineer or land surveyor may accept an assignment requiring education or experience outside of his or her own field of competence, but only to the extent that such services are restricted to those phases of the project in which he or she is qualified. All other phases of such project shall be performed by qualified associates, consultants, or employees.
This requirement does not limit this to Stamping/Sealing of documents - it is a violation in CT to even accept the assignment, and could result in loss of license.

I worked in this capacity on a large project for a firm that had advertised nation wide for a project engineer. They received literally hundreds of resumes during their search - and interviewed over 100 PE's, yet they could not find any licensed engineer able or willing to take the position once the broad scope of the work they required was discussed.

This even though there was no need or requirement for the position that made the use of their Seal necessary..

It just doesn't happen - not in that broad of an instance - and that actually makes sense when you think about it - generally a PE settles into what it is they wish to pursue - for example - a structural engineer generally devotes their lives to structural engineering - they don't devote the time or energy that it would take to follow multiple disciplines.

I have found it to be quite common for most engineers in the MEP disciplines to practice the combination of electrical, mechanical and plumbing - but they are still specialists - try involving them in a conversation about structural or civil engineering and they look at you as if you have 3 heads.......

My clients found that locating anyone with a license willing to step up to that particular plate to be next to impossible - and finally asked me if I would be willing to take a look at the project and consider an offer.

It's much to my benefit that they don't tend to work like that - as there is little competition for what it is that I do...... a big plus when looking for work.....

Rod
Old 12th September 2011
  #15
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gouge View Post
wow! rod that's a serious amount of liability you are taking on there.
Gouge,

Actually - the only real liability on a project of that nature is with my reputation.

When I lead a design team I make a lot of decisions that affect the project overall - the vast majority of which have to do with coordination issues that would cause problems down the road when it came to construction - or with code issues that would bite the developers/builders in the butt and cost them a ton of money to fix once someone finally picked up on them during inspections.

A bad decision on my part could cost me my career - but I've been quite lucky in that regard for over 30 years - so I just keep knocking on wood.

Financial liability (on the other hand) winds up with the people who actually stamp the designs when all is said and done.

The exception to that would be projects that I actually design, and those I am limited in size/type by the licensing requirements of each state.

2 examples would be CT and Rhode Island - in CT I can design projects (including commercial/industrial) up to 5,000 s.f. - in Rhode Island I can't design anything outside of residential projects up to 2 family homes.

To work outside of those limits in either state I am required to provide the designs to "professionals" in order to have them stamped.

Rod
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