Careers Newsletter: June 2024

Careers Spotlight: Recording Engineer

Recording engineering can be a great career choice for those passionate about creating the best possible sound or music recording for their clients. This kind of audio engineer is responsible for the final sound quality of a recorded track, ensuring that the end product meets the expectations of producers and artists. If you have a passion for music, it's important to understand what this career entails before deciding if it's right for you. In this article, we explore what a recording engineer does, what's required to become one, what their work environment is like and the skills required for success.

What does a recording engineer do?

Recording engineers, or audio engineers, use their technical skills, musical proficiency and artistic sensibilities to capture, produce and manipulate sounds in a recording studio. Once they choose to specialise in a specific area of recording, there are several categories an audio engineer may fall into, including assistant engineer, studio engineer, mixing engineer, mastering engineer or game audio and sound engineer. Although an audio engineer's career can vary depending on which area they specialise in, they have certain duties in common, including:

Managing audio equipment

Using a variety of tools and techniques, all audio engineers manipulate audio recordings to effect a number of different things such as adjusting sound levels, performing acoustic design and controlling volume. They're also responsible for setting up audio equipment such as microphones and sound boards to create the optimal recording or performance atmosphere. They conduct sound checks and maintenance checks on every piece of equipment to ensure everything runs smoothly during a recording or performance.

Communicating with clients

Audio engineers work in some capacity with artists and producers to create a product that a client is ultimately happy with. They use their strong communication skills to clearly understand what performers or directors are asking for throughout all stages of the recording and mastering process. Audio engineers can also use their musical expertise to contribute their own creative insights and ideas in an open and collaborative way.

Educational requirements for audio engineers

While it's possible to become an audio engineer with a suitable background and the right experience, many employers expect prospective sound technicians to hold relevant formal qualifications. There are a few different routes you can take to become a professional sound engineer but it usually involves earning a degree, applying for an apprenticeship or obtaining a certification. More information is available below:

Undergraduate degrees

If you decide to enrol in an undergraduate degree programme to help you become a studio engineer, you have a few options to choose from. You can apply for a recording engineering degree, for example, or complete a bachelor's degree in music with a focus on audio recording. Whichever route you choose, a degree can provide you with useful background knowledge in areas such as the science of acoustics or electrical engineering that can be invaluable in a workplace environment.


If you're looking for alternative routes into recording, taking individual certification courses in your own time is a great option. You can choose from many online certification programmes in audio engineering that can help you gain knowledge of the fundamentals of recording and the software you're likely to use every day. These courses are an excellent way to both incorporate learning audio fundamentals into your schedule and make your CV look more appealing to prospective employers.


An apprenticeship in sound engineering can equip you with the credentials you require to start a career in the field. Apprenticeships offer trainee engineers the practical experience they require to effectively understand what the job entails. They also allow you the chance to study and work at the same time. Apprenticeships provide you with the opportunity to build your professional network from within the music industry itself, which can lead to future collaborations and even permanent jobs after you complete your training.

Career progression for audio engineers

Once you've achieved the relevant credentials and experience to become a full-time sound engineer, there are several ways to progress your career. Here are some of the routes your career may take in this field:

In-studio progression: You could enter into a job with a recording studio in an entry-level position and then work your way up their internal hierarchy. From audio assistant, you may earn promotion up to audio engineer and then lead audio engineer.

Client-based progression: You may build a great working relationship with one or more clients. If they're successful, this can solidify your own reputation and lead to more and better opportunities, such as being able to open your own recording studio or label.

Freelance sound engineer progression: If you're adept at networking and managing your own time, becoming a freelancer may appeal to you. To accomplish this, it's necessary for you to build a strong industry network, client base and professional reputation.

Non-studio-based progression: Some audio engineers move away from music and studio recording and instead choose to enter related industries. There's a variety of potential industries, including areas such as television and film, video game production and even advertising.

Work environment for audio engineers

There are several different environments an audio engineer may work in and the most traditional workplace is the recording studio. Here, audio professionals often work together in teams. They can spend a lot of time collaborating with other engineers and the clients the studio represents, even before the recording begins. In this space, audio engineers are responsible for a lot of what happens, including greeting clients, setting up instruments and quality checking every stage of the recording process.

As it becomes easier to obtain the necessary studio equipment for recording, more and more audio engineers are moving beyond the traditional studio setting. This change has transformed how the workplace looks for many engineers. The increased availability of professional recording equipment has led to more freelance audio engineers with workplace environments that look very different depending on their own unique setup.

Skills for audio engineers

There are many different kinds of soft and hard skills that can prove incredibly useful for work as an audio engineer. Audio professionals require a range of abilities, such as engineering and technical knowledge and excellent interpersonal skills, to ensure they record the best sounds for their clients. Here's a list of the top skills necessary for success in audio recording:

Musical skills

A background in musical theory or a creative flair for making music is essential for audio engineers. These abilities can help you understand exactly what a client is trying to convey creatively and theoretically. Musical proficiency also provides a background understanding of the other technical abilities you may require while working and may help you attract a wider clientele.

Technical skills

Audio engineers require a huge amount of technical knowledge to understand the complex sound equipment they work with every day. Audio engineers use many kinds of tools and technology to operate mixing boards, edit music after recording and ensure productions sound correct and as intended during a recording session. They also rely on their technical skills to understand a client's vision and turn it into the sound they're looking for.

Interpersonal skills

Even if you decide to pursue a career as a freelance audio engineer, you still require excellent interpersonal skills to attract clients and work with them effectively. Everything you produce as an audio engineer relies on the collaboration you undertake with your clients to develop their ideas through your knowledge of recording. Understanding what a client wants and communicating effectively with them during the recording process ensures they achieve their vision.


Audio engineers require the ability to troubleshoot a variety of potential audio equipment errors or malfunctions by analysing the issue and presenting an effective solution. Problem-solving skills are also necessary for addressing any creative challenges they may face while working professionally with artists. The ability to solve problems in both of these areas can help projects stay on track and help maintain good client relationships.

If you want to learn more about working in the technical side of the music industry click on the links below

Boosting your CV

In this section we have looked at how boost your CV.  A good CV will get you noticed and invited for an interview, but no further.  The key to a successful interview lies in soft skills.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills relate to how you work. Soft skills include interpersonal (people) skills, communication skills, listening skills, time management, and empathy, among others. They are among the top skills employers seek in the candidates they hire, because soft skills are important for just about every job.

Over the next few editions of the careers newsletter we will look at different soft skills and how you can improve them

Emotional intelligence

What does it mean to have high emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, evaluate, and respond to your emotions and the emotions of others. This means that you're able to think empathetically about the people around you and the interpersonal relationships that develop in the workplace.

This is another of those soft skills employers want to see, and it's taken on new meaning for 2023. As we emerge from the shadow of the recent pandemic, many people continue to struggle with their place in the workforce and the world. Having the ability to read the emotions of your co-workers and respond with compassion is essential. 

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence can be defined in two major parts. First is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions. Second is the ability to recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others. Psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman breaks this down further in his book titled “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.” He introduces the idea as a set of skills including self-motivation, empathy, social competence in interpersonal relationships, and control of one's impulses.

It may sound complex, but don't fret. Essentially, emotional intelligence is all about understanding yourself and the people around you.

Why is emotional intelligence important for your career?

Like any hard skills, interpersonal skills are essential for success in the workplace ‒‒ and those are informed by your EQ. Most importantly, they affect the way you work with those around you. Traits like empathy and self-awareness, for instance, directly improve your ability to collaborate, resolve conflict, and handle pressure.

Say you're in a brainstorming session with your colleagues. One of your co-workers presents an idea that you don't think would be effective, but you have an idea that you think could be the answer to the issue at hand. Your task is now to communicate both of those things tactfully, suggesting this solution without putting down your co-worker or appearing overbearing. In order to navigate this tricky situation, you need to understand the way your actions may affect the people around you and choose them accordingly.

If you are looking to move up to a leadership position, EQ becomes even more important as much of the dynamics of the team will be determined by your decisions and behavior.

How to display emotional intelligence in an interview

There's no objective test you can pass to show a hiring manager during the hiring process that you have the EQ needed to be an effective addition to their team. Therefore, you have to demonstrate it throughout your interview through your responses and interactions. Here are some of the ways you can do that.

Actively listen

To show EQ in a job interview, you have to start with active listening. This means doing more than simply waiting for the interviewer to finish speaking before you dive into your pre-planned answer to “What's your greatest strength?” ‒‒ quite the opposite, actually. Don't start planning your response or jump to conclusions about what they want to hear from you. Instead, when the interviewer is speaking or asking you a question, take time and really listen to what they are saying and only respond to that. Consider that every word they say to you is as important as what you will say to them.

Show your emotions genuinely

Human resource professionals and interviewers need to see that you care about what you do, and answering that call will also help you demonstrate EQ by showing off your emotional availability. Luckily, some of the most popular interview questions present you, the candidate, with the perfect opportunity to do just that. Take advantage of queries like “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want this job?” to demonstrate to an interviewer your genuine passion for your career (and the job opportunity).

Talk about your growth

No one likes to talk about their failures, especially at a time when you're supposed to impress a stranger. Still, the ability to acknowledge mistakes and learn from them is a strong indicator of high EQ. Therefore, don't shy away from questions like “What's your greatest weakness?” or the behavioral-interview staple, “Tell me about a time when you experienced failure.” Talk openly about a shortcoming from your professional past and then add the positive spin: what you learned and how you've applied the lesson since.

Ask questions about company culture

The questions you ask at the end of an interview can say a lot about who you are, and you can use that to your advantage. By asking to know more about the company culture and team environment, you'll demonstrate that you have an active interest in the motivations and personalities that drive the organisation.

Help for Parents and Carers

When it comes to education and careers, parents and carers have a large influence on a students choices. As an adult you are expected to have all the answers, but in a constantly evolving world it can be a struggle to keep up with the latest options out there.  In this section we will highlight resources that will help keep you up to date with careers and the choices available to young people.

This month we look at college applications

What is the difference between higher education and further education?

Further education (FE) includes any study after secondary education that’s not part of higher education, so typically college or 6th forms while higher education involves undergraduate and postgraduate study.

What is the difference between college and 6th form?

While both options provide students with a pathway to higher education, they differ in a number of ways. Colleges focus solely on educating students aged 16-18. These colleges are often larger than school sixth forms and often offer technical and vocational qualifications.

When do we need to start applying for college/6th form courses?

Applications can start at any time during Year 11, though typically students start applying during the spring term.

Any offers made by a college/6th form will be subject to the student gaining the required grades at the end of Year 11.  The specific grades required by each course will be explained by the college/6th form

What if our child changes their mind about the courses they want to do at college/6th form, is this a problem?

This depends on when the student changes their mind.

If during year 11 a student changes their mind this isn't an issue, a student can apply to multiple colleges and only has to make a decision about which one to attend once the GCSE results are known in August

Many students change their mind in the first few weeks of starting a new course.  Colleges/6th forms are used to this and will allow students to move courses as long as they meet the requirements for the new course they wish to choose.

The longer a student has studied a course before deciding to change the harder it becomes to change to a new course.  This is due to the amount of teaching they will have already missed on the course they wish to change to.

Careers in Hertfordshire: Film, Media and Creative

The creative industries can be divided into 16 exciting career pathways including arts, culture and heritage, design, fashion, film & TV, gaming and immersive technologies, media, music, photography and videography, podcast and radio, publishing, architecture, theatre & performing arts, writing and journalism, visual effects and animation, advertising, PR and marketing.

Some of the world’s best-known films, including all Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, and all eight Harry Potter films, were made here. Hertfordshire-based firms’ specialist and technical experts have been recognised for their contributions to Oscar-nominated and winning films.

Hertfordshire is a major contributor to a global success story, as the UK has one of the world’s most successful and dynamic creative sectors. Hear from some of our local residents describe their career pathway into the creative industries.


 There were 4,550 firms in Hertfordshire’s creative industries in 2016, involved in activities from film-making to digital content production.

The number of employers has grown by 6.5% per year since 2010. Creative industries employed 17,600 people in 2015. Employment has grown by 10.6% annually since 2010, far exceeding the national growth rate of 4.5%.

The University of Hertfordshire is a key contributor to this creative ecosystem, with specialisms in animation, animatronics and digital media. Its animation school, UH Animation, is among the top four in the world. Alumni from the university are actively involved in world-leading games and animation companies and have worked on blockbuster productions such as Harry Potter, Avatar, Prometheus and the GTA series.

Hertfordshire is home to both Elstree Studios and Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden. Elstree has made three of the top shows on British television: Dancing on Ice and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? for ITV, and Big Brother for Channel 5. Some of the most famous films in the world have been made at Elstree, including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Shining, Superman, and Labyrinth. More recently, Elstree has been home to Kick Ass, The King’s Speech and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Thanks to a £1m Growing Places Fund loan from the LEP Elstree Studios was able to expand its studio space, resulting in it securing the £100m Netflix contract for The Crown.

BBC Elstree Studios has been home to some of the broadcaster’s most popular shows, including Grange Hill, Top of The Pops and Kilroy. BBC Elstree is best known for popular drama programmes such as EastEnders and Holby City.

The £100m Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, owned by Warner Bros. Studios and opened in June 2012, is the largest studio space in the UK and is known worldwide as the home of the Harry Potter films. Other notable films include Edge of Tomorrow, Jupiter Ascending, In the Heart of the Sea and Man from U.N.C.L.E., as well as numerous TV productions and advertisements.

Its secure, 200-acre site is the only facility in Europe owned by a Hollywood studio. It has more than 250,000 square feet of studio space and hosts some of the largest sound stages in the UK, as well as one of the biggest heated underwater filming tanks in Europe. Its 100-acre back-lot is among the most extensive in Europe and can be adapted for multiple production needs.

Sunset Studios in Broxbourne will be the first expansion of Blackstone and Hudson Pacific Properties’ studio platform outside Hollywood. The two partners acquired a 91-acre site to the north-west of the M25-A10 junction through a joint venture for £120 million. With an expected total investment of £700 million, the facility is estimated to generate 4,500 permanent jobs and £300 million annually for the local economy.

Hertswood Studios is a proposed new studio complex in Borehamwood. Planning permission has yet to be secured, but if built, the 90-acre site will provide a total of 1 million sq ft of film studio space, including 21 stages, supporting workshops and offices, as well as an additional commercial, hotel and film industry college space of 600,000 sq ft, making it the single largest studio in the UK. 


 A growing number of digital content, gaming, software and visual effects (VFX) companies have started in Hertfordshire or chosen to locate here.

Hertfordshire’s digital companies produce content for feature films, television, games, commercials, websites and mobile phones. Games production and distribution companies such as Aspyr Media Europe Ltd, Rising Star Games Ltd, and KOEI TECMO Europe Ltd operate successfully from the county, taking advantage of Hertfordshire’s communications links with London and connectivity to key international markets.

For the last ten years, UH Animation’s annual exposé has been a primary recruitment forum for high profile companies seeking out new and exciting 2D, 3D, animation and VFX talent. Companies such as Disney Animation, The Mill, Tandem, Double Negative and Framestore are regular participants.

The University of Hertfordshire is also home to G+VERL (Games & Visual Effects Research Lab), a ground-breaking project linking scientists, artists, clinicians and filmmakers. It brings together the worlds of film, art, technology and computer science to undertake research into digital image-making and high-resolution image technologies. Sharing methods and promoting interdisciplinary understanding, the project brings together world-class research in a wide range of areas, including video art, digital film, visual effects and medical visualisation.

Hertfordshire is strong on promotion too, with corporate and events management companies such as SMYLE helping global brands launch new products or celebrate successes.

For more information please go to 

Current Opportunities

The Careers and Enterprise Company regularly host virtual employer encounters which give students the opportunity to easily find out about careers in specific sectors


Please click on the link below

Virtual Employer Encounters