Looking into professions...

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by UnluckyIrish128, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. UnluckyIrish128

    UnluckyIrish128 Auditioning

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    This might get a little long, and I appologize now if it does. I'm a 16 year old junior at a local high school and am looking into what I would like to do in the future. Consumer electronics (especially audio-video) have always been a passion of mine. From reading many of the threads/posts, I have gathered that many who browse this forum are well educated in these areas. So I'm looking for some advice.

    In school I am very proficient in math and sciences (I enjoy both of them very much). Also, I have been taking CAD courses involving mechanical drawing and architecture. I like using CAD software and the classes which it involves. Any job which involves these kinds of aspect, appeals to me greatly. I feel that home theatre design (or anything along the lines) would suite my character very well.

    What I am getting at is, could someone help point me in the right direction. Guidance counselors, teachers, ect. have tried to help but not to much avail. Are there any types of courses that I should look into before college? What would be a desirable/well suited career choice? Any suggestions on colleges? Sorry again for the long post, and thanks in advance for anyone who helps.

    Andrew
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Hmm, A/V is a field with a lot of different possibilities in it. Personally, if I were you, I would probably focus on engineering in college, or perhaps computer programming (which is very important in AV). Acoustics is something else that is quite important, though this is a bit more specialized to find thorough acoustics programs, though I'll bet at pretty much any large university there will be some courses and ways to advance yourself in this stuff, an EE degree or the like will probably be the best and not just limited to AV work.

    If you like the design part of it more, then maybe something like architecture, etc.

    I would shoot highest and go for the most advanced stuff possible that you enjoy, even if it is not directly at all about AV. If you just shoot for AV stuff, the options will be pretty limited rather than going full out for an EE or something like that. In the short run it won't get you doing AV stuff right off the bat, but it will provide more opportunities and a much better education (that is more useful overall) in the long run. If you're just looking to focus on audio or something, you might end up maybe doing audio production or something like that which may be available at a community college or similar, but this is more of a technical kind of education, and won't be as strong as getting an EE, and then going into the AV field with that, for instance.

    In terms of stuff to do before college, not really sure. Physics of course is applicable, a lot of high school physics classes involve optics and waves and all that which you need to know about, and if you get the chance to do a project, you might undertake building a speaker or something like that, which is a perennial favorite and you would also enjoy. But if indeed you do like the engineering/physics kind of thing and want to go into AV, then I would look towards colleges that have good programs for that.

    As far as HT-specific education, you're not going to find classes about theater design really, that kind of specific application of all the above kinds of knowledge would happen kind of after that, so in the meantime I would continue to educate yourself on the things you are interested in. There is tons of great info on the net about this stuff, there are great books about speaker design and acoustics and the like which aren't overly difficult, about video engineering and such (basically EE stuff, can be a bit difficult sometimes), etc. Of course forums like this one are great, also AVSforum is excellent as well.

    Hopefully that's helpful to you, I do HT stuff as a hobby mainly, I am finishing my studies towards something completely different(law), but I enjoy engineering as a passing interest, and HT is where I apply that because I love film and music.

    So anyway, bottom line is don't immediately go super-specific towards AV, but towards a more overall engineering, computer science, etc type education, and of course you could pick up side or summer jobs dealing with AV stuff as well.
     
  3. homthtr

    homthtr Supporting Actor

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    All Great suggestions. Yes the A/v Field is very broad and where you find your nitch will just come with time. I started out selling A/V and moved up to a AV Department manager, Went from there to Commission Sales for Sears until they eliminated Commission Sales, From there Worked for Radio Shack for a couple years and a few other odd jobs until a Custom Home Theater Position opened at a large Retail Store. Worked there in Custom installation for a few years until they shut down our division and now my former Boss and fellow worker and myself have our own A/V Company.

    There's going to be a big change in the next few years with A/V as you well know just by reading through the forums. The future is Digital, Digital, Digital, and Computers, Servers, Storage, and Networking. If I were your age I'd focus on Computer Networking, Computer Programming, Server Administration, and be working in the A/V field is some capacity. Either Sales or Support of some kind. Local Home theater installation companies are somewhat hard to get into. They are usually smaller companies that Focus on the Customer Directly. Larger "Big Box" Retail companies offer some home theater installation, but seem to be more limited on the "Custom" end of things.

    The Largest Concentration of home theater and home automation companies are members of CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association)

    CEDIA Link. Lots of info here. Certification, Education, Etc.
    http://www.cedia.net/

    Also Subscribe to Magazines like Residential Systems (Free)
    http://www.resmagonline.com/

    And Pro A/V (also Free Subscription)
    http://www.proavmagazine.com/

    Good Luck in you future endeavors! Don't worry about changing gears a few times before you find the right one!. Sounds like you are on the right track already given the fact that you are asking this question at your age. Your way ahead of the game already!...
     
  4. UnluckyIrish128

    UnluckyIrish128 Auditioning

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    Thanks to you two for your help, I very much appreciate it. Honestly I was figuring on a degree in EE [​IMG] , but was just looking for some more objective opinions. If you could check this out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electri...ub-disciplines , and make some suggestions. In your opinions, which sub disciplines would be of the most value. I feel that it would be either (in order of importance) signal processing, electronics, and then computers. Not positive if you can focus on more than one discipline (have not checked into it yet), but I feel that they would most likely be the best suited for my interests. Thanks again, and in advance for your help.

    Andrew
     
  5. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Get a good degree: EE is good. I know someone who got a very nice series of jobs as an ME.

    Realistically, from what I understand, subdiciplines aren't terribly important. Sad to say, it seems to be mostly, "yes, I got my ticket punched; I can be taught."

    After that, chances are good you're not going to be doing circuit design or building DSP engines if you want to persue home theater work, but rather applying those tools to solve acoustic or other problems. Pay attention to mechanics, materials, acoustics, and, if not optics, vision systems, color theory, and the like.

    And don't just think small scale. Realize that, for example, there's a lot of "stuff" behind trade-show displays, museums, theme parks, and the like. At work, our last major AV contract included 7-8 racks of hardware, 7 projectors, 4 big plasmas, maybe a dozen LCD displays. AV programs are tied to show controllers are tied to multi-track sound systems are tied to lighting control systems (SMPTE time code is the glue that ties it all together.)

    Leo
     
  6. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Yeah, like Leo says, you shouldn't worry about that kind of specificity. You shouldn't, in high school, have to have your whole life figured out in terms of what exactly you're going to study in what particular discipline and sub-discipline and narrow focus. College should be a broad education. I guarantee you you'll probably end up doing something completely different than you expected to be doing by the time you get into your first couple years of college, and then beyond that you may end up working in some field yet again completely different than what you studied.

    Find a college that generally suits your personality and where you want to be (cold warm, big city, whatever) and that has some strengths in the general vicinity of what you want to do. You'll figure things out as you go along, you don't need to have some mapped out path of EXACTLY what you want to do.

    The person who in high school says "I want to study X" and actually ends up with a degree in that, let alone a job doing that is REALLY pretty rare.

    I thought I wanted to do math and engineering. I took one math class and said "well, that's enough of that, never doing that again." Then went towards international studies, didn't like that too much, and so things go.

    Education is a search for self more than a search for the knowledge you think you want to know. It should be, and will be surprising.
     
  7. homthtr

    homthtr Supporting Actor

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    Wow.. I like the link to the college... Really like the Signal Processing and Telecommunications... But that's just me. At 42 I'm a little late for college..... hmmmm or am I? ... Maybe time to go back to school.. they say it's never too late!. Just wished I would have followed through more when I was younger. I never did find my niche in college. after an Associate degree in Computer Programming and Accounting I ended up in retail sales for many years!!.. go figure.
     
  8. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Well, I entered college as a Film major; ended up graduating with a degree in Physical Geography, minor in cartographic production.

    I currently to exhibit maintenance, lighting, and AV operations and production for the Smithsonian's Natl Museum of American History, so...

    Leo
     
  9. homthtr

    homthtr Supporting Actor

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    Yep just goes to show. We never really know where we're going to end up. Life takes you down many roads. Some a little bumpy and finally we end up on that new fresh highway and still find other highways leading off that! Your best knowledge will be "on hands learning". "Book smart" only gets you started down the road.

    I'll never forget the time I had an "upper management" person come out to a job site.(While I was working for a "Big box retailer" doing custom installs.) I think it was the first time he ever seen a house under construction. He came with this Hard soled dress shoes on, tie and suit and then attempted to climb a ladder to see what I was doing and just about killed himself!. LOL [​IMG]
     

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