Becoming a Recording, sorry I meant Software, Engineer

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Recently I was sent a survey from the college I attended, the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts. In the survey I was asked a question about what I’ve done in the field of music, that’s what my degree is in, since I’ve graduated. I typed up a rather long winded answer to the question and afterwards I thought it was actually thought it was an interesting commentary on the recording industry. It also shows the path a guy like me takes from being a musician to being a software engineer.

Anyway, I thought I would share this little story with you all. I hope you enjoy it.

About 3 – 4 after graduating I found myself unemployed and decided that I would take that opportunity and try to pursue a career as a recording engineer. I spent two years struggling and working very hard at one of the best studios around and I found that things were just not working out.

I don’t necessarily think it was a problem of my not having the skills needed for the job, but rather it had to do with several other factors. One, because of the state of the recording industry ‘proper’ studios are/were struggling to find work because more and more musicians are doing recording at home on their computers. While their results might not be as ‘high quality’ as those of the studios, the musicians are/were finding that it was good enough to help land them gigs in town.

Because the studio was struggling, and I was the lowest guy on the totem pole, because I was the ‘newest’, I found that I was only getting a few sessions each month, that compared with the ‘top’ engineers who were only getting a week or two worth of work each month.

It was at this point that I sat down and re-evaluated what I wanted most in life. I decided that was really important to me was to have a family and be happy with what I was doing, and to just generally enjoy my life. Realizing that, I had to decide if my current situation was really going to work for me. While I thoroughly enjoyed being a recording engineer, when I got to do it that is, I found the pay ($90 a day - awful!), the hours (usually 12-14 hours), and the lack of sessions to not be a viable way to raise a family.

Once I decided that being a recording engineer wasn’t going to work for me, I needed to find something that would. I thought long and hard about this, as well, and realized that I really enjoyed being a software engineer. It is strangely creative, the pay is very good, and I was damn good at it.