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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(I hope this is the right forum for this) :)


First of all- I would like to say 'Hello' to everyone!

This is my first post but I have been an avid "lurker"(as they call it)

for many months now.

I have always been impressed by the knowledge displayed by everyone in this forum.


Anyway, for as long as I can remember I have loved all things audio and more recently video. As many of you can understand, it has become a passion.

I am 31 years of age and currently working in the Information Technology field. I am paid well but the job itself is dull and unrewarding.

This has brought me to considering my options again in the wonderful world of audio\\video.


I guess my first question to everyone would be:


1.) What would be the best way to transition over into the Home Theater Designer\\Architect field from where I am?

Would I have to start from a sales position and move up?


My current exprience is with computers and networks mainly.

I have setup some small home theater systems (including my own) but do not have the largescale knowledge yet.

I have looked into the CEDIA certification for the Certified Designer and it asks that the person have experience before completing it.



Thanks
 

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BestBuy/Magnolia is a good way to go. They are not doing CEDIA training but Infocomm training - but they are also doing much Magnolia training as well. These are the mini HT stores inside of BestBuy - but they are using the Magnolia sales model of semi-custom system/room design. Do that for a bit then find a local CEDIA dealer and get them to bonus you with CEDIA training.


Not sure if Magnolia would pay for CEDIA training - but that is a good way to work up to the exam. Half the people that take it fail.


IT is increasingly merging with AV - so if you hate what you are doing you may want to think twice. Commercial AV already is a requirement to have IP-enabled AV - and home AV is resisting but getting dragged into it. You may find yourself troubleshooting a media server that is not calling the home office and wondering why you got yourself into this!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply Krasmuzik. (nice to meet you BTW)


So it sounds like I will need to start with a large retail chain?

What kind of salary would I receive with BestBuy?


No, I still like the IT field. I just am tired of what I am doing and I cannot see a clear career path for myself within it.

I am just trying to find a way to live a comfortable life doing what I am passionate about - Home Audio\\Video.

I would thoroughly enjoy working with the other systems too such as automation, media servers, distributed audio, etc.
 

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I've been having similar thoughts of jumping from my current career into HT installation. I'd need to maintain or increase my salary (currently ~40K), but am not sure if this is possible given my lack of formal training.


Is loving something as much as I love audio/video stuff reason enough to make a career out of it?


Perhaps I'm better off keeping my day job so that I'll be able to afford all this stuff?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, I have pondered the same question many times.


Is it more important to love what you do (even if the pay is low) or do a job that you aren't deriving much satisfaction from with great pay????


Would others like to chime in on this?
 

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Here are a few other threads on or around this subject. I won't say that everything in these is necessarily helpful or even relevant, but they might provide some background information:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=558152
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=471886
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=526191
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=520189
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=563292


I think my advice would be to approach a change in career to HT design in the same way that you'd approach a change to becoming, say, a lawyer or electrician. Plan on getting the appropriate training, acquire the certifications, build your experience and be prepared to take a pay cut until you've worked your way up to the same level of technical proficiency in this industry.


That said, you may find a position that leverages your existing skills/experience and allows you to make the transition easier.
 

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Specifically I was referring to the mini-HT - not BestBuy itself. It is actually a smaller company inside the BestBuy with an entirely different sales culture. They allowed themselves to get bought out - cheaper to expand nationally inside BestBuy than build stores across from BestBuy!


Only designers have $40K salaries, installers do not. I have the CEDIA report somewhere around here - I think it was $25K/$50K ave. for installer/designer.


Sales guys often get salary plus commision.


Owners get whatever is left after non-existant profit margins.


If you are lucky the boss will give you demos or pullouts to play with.


Keep your day job if you want to be secure with money to buy toys, do this if you want to be broke and help people buy their toys.
 

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Another approach is find the custom installer in you area who is trying to absorb all this computer/IT stuff in the new products and offer your services on a sub basis. Do that as a part-time gig and see how it goes.
 

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I have hooked up with a local computer/Internet service shop - I have always hated things IT - mostly because programmers don't know how to design - and I hate having to use poorly designed software! The last thing I want is some customer calling me because their Windows needs rebooted so they can watch the DVD! I keep bugging the shop to come up with a custom media center/server - do a package deal of some sort. Currently he makes custom gaming computers. No profit in computer hardware - it is all in the services.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteNoize
Yes, I have pondered the same question many times.


Is it more important to love what you do (even if the pay is low) or do a job that you aren't deriving much satisfaction from with great pay????


Would others like to chime in on this?
I have pondered the same question. I left a job that I really did like (except for the hours) for a 8-5 job at a large financial institution. I love my new hours, but the job is not at all rewarding. I find myself almost willing to go back to my retail gig even with the terrible hours. I know some guys that are or have left my old job at UE to work for Magnolia. Sounds like an interesting concept. If the hours are ok, I may look into it.


In answer to your question, I think it is more important to love what you do. Life is too short to dread going to work just because you make the big bucks. I would gladly give up income to take a job I looked forward to getting to in the morning.


Scott
 

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I differ a bit in this. I think the best training you can get is on the job training. Call all the CI firms in your area and sell them on your networking skills. The home is going IP much faster than Kras thinks. :) That can be your in. Become an installer first, then a PM. Pay your dues now at lower prices to get in before the digital home explodes and every snot nosed kids with piercings and tats wants in on the action.


Also, if you can program a remote system that could be big too. May want to start playing with that.


But really, us CI owners are looking for hard workers who are dedicated and who treat their clients with respect and their client's homes like their own.


Oh, another thought. Sell your networking skills and convince an 'analog' CI owner that customers will pay for a properly installed and setup home network. We use Cisco and Fortigate equipment - any other CI firms do that? None that I know of.


Too bad none of you all are in Philly as I need some part time help here.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by krasmuzik
... mostly because programmers don't know how to design - and I hate having to use poorly designed software!
Ahem! A good programmer is a good designer. Really, what is programming if not design? If you have poorly designed s/w, it's because you have a poor programmer. (There are many more poor programmers than there are good ones.) Also, the s/w may be well-designed, but poorly debugged. This is often the result of a project that runs out of money before it's finished, or a programmer that doesn't know how to debug.


User Interface (UI), OTOH, is a bit of a black art. For a good UI you need a usability expert rather than a programmer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the replies!


I agree with you Scott on the importance of loving your job.

We do spend most of our lives working so why not make the best of it?

Of course, it is difficult for many of us to take huge paycuts to obtain this satisfaction.

This is what I am currently struggling with.

ejfiii --

The only programming that I have used is to configure my pronto remote.

That would be something to consider also but I haven't come across many remote system programming jobs on Monster.


BTW: Do you think it is possible to gain experience working part-time somewhere for awhile? I am not sure if Tweeter or similar stores would even offer part-time work.
 

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Part time and weekends could be just the ticket to get your feet wet.


In my humble opinion I would stay away from the BB, Mag, Tweeter conglomerates and look at the smaller CI firms. I know two others in my area looking for help. My company makes three. And they (we) would take part time if available.


I mention the remote programming as a portion of your larger skil set. Lots of CI owners/workers can program systems, but not all of us have time to do it. So if a part timer could do that, in addition to networking, and pulling wires - you're an even stronger candidate.


All in my opinion of course.
 

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Something to consider:


Me and my buddy grew up with computers. We loved them. They were our lives growing up. He even got arrested for improper use of computers. :)


My buddy went on to make computers his life, I didn't. He went to work every day where he got to build and repair computers all day long. He really enjoyed it at first. He got to play with all the new cool toys before anyone else. It was a dream job. Eventually though, he found out that playing with the cool new toys wasn't always fun. It made him want to pull his hair out when it didn't work as advertised. It was also maddening to have constantly repair what other people's messed up. And probably most frustrating was having to build systems within other people's parameters, rather than the way he would, using the parts that he liked, and installing the software that he thought was the correct tool for the job. It ended up being just another frustrating job -- one where after dealing with computers all day, he didn't touch them at night. He's moved around a bit now within the IT world, and likes his current job, but still doesn't want anything to do with computers when he gets home at night. He wants to leave that all at work.


I never got a computer job and I still love my computers. They are my toys. I can play with them whenever I want and do whatever I want with them. Whenever I'm not reading AVS or testing my speakers and room, I'm doing something with my computers.


Moral of the story: Hobbies don't always make the best careers.


That said, your situation could be very differnt. I don't know you, so you should take my advice with a grain of salt. But a career change is a big thing. Consider whether it is something you could do for 10 hours a day for other people and still want to go home and do it night for yourself.
 

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I certainly have taken a significant paycut. Leave if you can afford to you will not regret it, a working partner or a nestegg can make it possible. But I would not leave if you depend on a monthly paycheck to eat - owners don't get paychecks. Side jobs for CI to get your feet wet sounds like the way to go.


The one thing i have learned about money - is you always need twice as much. If you have $1M you need $2M. If you make $10K you need $20K. That never changes. So be happy. I have not had a migraine in years, I used to get them all the time.


DMF

I never said programming was not design - I just said I never met a programmer that could design!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by krasmuzik
I never said programming was not design - I just said I never met a programmer that could design!
That's because a programmer that can design is called an engineer ;)
 
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