J Patrick + Associates Blog

Crestron Training and Certifications for AV Professionals

Posted by Daniel Lehman on Wed, Sep 25, 2019 @ 09:49 AM

Crestron Training For AV Professionals


Crestron is one of the most important and well-known vendors in the AV industry. In terms of the Pro AV market, Crestron’s solutions are the automation and control systems of choice.

What is the Crestron Technical Institute?

The Crestron Technical Institute (CTI) offers training and certifications for AV Installers, Design Engineers, and Programmers alike. CTI offers a convenient blend of face-to-face training with industry pros, and online training courses. Training facilities are located worldwide and provide courses for those interested in Digital Media, NVX, or AV installing and programming.

What is the difference between Crestron DigitalMedia and NVX?

The general trend of the AV industry has been leaning more and more towards IP. Engineers and programmers need to familiarize themselves with hardware products that deal with signal routing, presentation control, and audio conferencing.

Over a decade ago, Crestron launched a complete suite of products under the DigitalMedia series that integrates many of these functions into one convenient solution.

“Today, DM integrates all digital and analog signals together with streaming in one platform, ensuring organizations can send video across their estates regardless of network infrastructure or AV technologies in place.” - Cinos

A global tsunami of cutting edge VTC technologies such as WebEx and Zoom have hit the market. As a result, the demand for higher quality audio and video has risen. Companies have also had an increased need for security, as they are often dealing with sensitive information delivered over their networks.

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Crestron DigitalMedia NVX is the next generation of products that address this issue directly, by delivering a networked AV solution. In fact, DM NVX is the only secure network AV solution:

“It is infinitely scalable and delivers the best image quality with no latency across a standard 1 Gigabyte network...It has been well documented that networked AV is a much more cost-effective option than traditional matrix switches.” - Cinos

Whether installing, programming, or designing, professionals of ProAV will encounter Crestron gear in both product lines. Crestron offers certifications specific to their product lines, as well as relevant job functions in the AV Industry:

What Crestron Certifications are Important for A Career in ProAV?

Here’s some Crestron Certifications that stand out, and the positions they are most applicable to in ProAV:

Crestron Digital Media Certifications:

  • Crestron DMC-E-4K - The Crestron Digital Certified Engineer has a working knowledge of installing, configuring and commissioning Crestron products and systems.
    • Hiring Managers at AV Integrators will often look for Field Engineers and/or Lead AV Technicians with this training.
  • Crestron DM-NVX-N - The Crestron Digital Media Networking Certification has become much more valuable recently. Engineers are often required to understand how to sign onto and troubleshoot secure networks at client locations.
    • This training is important for Field Engineers loading and troubleshooting code from Crestron Toolbox.
  • Crestron DMC-D-4K - Crestron Digital Media Designer designation means the engineer possesses the skills necessary to design Crestron Digital Media Systems.
    • AV Design Engineers and/or Crestron Programmers will better understand how to tailor solutions to the clients’ specific needs.

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Crestron Programmer Certifications:

  • Crestron Certified Programmer - The Crestron Certified Programmer can configure and commission a Crestron fusion deployment. They can use smart graphics to create personal graphic user interfaces (GUI). They also show proficiency in the Crestron programming language (Crestron SIMPL).
    • AV integrators hiring for a Crestron Programmers will typically require this certification. Having a Certified Programmer on staff allows them to bid on certain projects. As such, this programmer certification is highly sought after, and the examination is very comprehensive and difficult.
  • Crestron Silver Certified Programmer - This Certified Programmer has attended three annual Master Level classes and passed the Silver exam
  • Crestron Gold Certified Programmer - This Certified Programmer has attended six annual Master Level classes and passed the Gold exam.

What is a Certified Masters Programmer?

These individuals hold the highest respect in the AV industry. One major perk of being a Certified Masters programmer is that you receive an exclusive invitation to masters classes. These classes allow an opportunity to get hands-on experience and training on Crestron’s latest technologies.


Crestron has become (without a question) the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced control and automated systems. For this reason, all AV professionals (AV Engineers, Installers, Programmers) should consider Crestron training as a sound investment in your career.


Whether you are an AV professional looking for new opportunities or an AV Hiring Manager looking for the Perfect AV Candidate...

JPatrick & Associates is here to help!

We are an executive recruiting firm with over 20 years of experience and we specialize in the AV industry.

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Tags: AV/VTC/UC, crestron, certifications, programmer

How To Become A Crestron Programmer In The AV Industry

Posted by Daniel Lehman on Fri, Sep 20, 2019 @ 03:39 PM


What Is A Crestron Programmer

A Crestron programmer is a specific type of control systems programmer. They develop programs for video conferencing rooms, and spaces which enable seamless integration with the audiovisual equipment in that space. What makes a Crestron programmer unique is that they specialize in the coding language specific to Crestron, known as Crestron SIMPL.

Crestron Overview

Crestron Electronics is a privately held company based out of Rockleigh, NJ dealing in home and commercial automation. The average person is probably completely unaware of the ubiquity of this company’s products and solutions.

Crestron’s control systems, hardware, and software solutions are everywhere:

“automated light, sound and temperature controls for luxury homes; digital screens and speakers for conference rooms; surgical camera controls and displays; classroom projectors; digital signs and retail displays; and even remote controls for hot tubs aboard luxury yachts.” -Forbes

This electronics distributor (often mistaken as a regional player) pulls down $500 million in revenue annually and carries no debt!

Entire careers in the audiovisual industry are built around Crestron’s products. With a multi-galaxy of different programmers out there that specialize in different programming languages, it’s easy to get confused.

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How Much Does a Crestron Programmer Make?

As of September of 2019, the average salary for a Crestron Programmer was around 80k a year. The bottom of the pay scale was around 65k a year. The top salary was as high as 115k a year.

According to indeed.com, hourly rates for a Crestron Programmer currently range from $28.72- $61.46 per hour.

Why so much variation in the compensation range?

Variations in compensation are due to factors such as: project size and complexity, vendor certifications, and experience level of the programmer.


How to Become a Crestron Programmer:

In the AV industry, there is not a standard, discernible path to success.

In the case of becoming a Crestron Programmer, a few different roads can spill out to the same destination. That being said, there are definite career experiences and vendor-specific certifications that are highly sought after by potential employers.

Many Crestron programmers have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Engineering. However, few transition into a role at a commercial AV Integrator right out of college. Often, Crestron programmers make their bones learning how to install and commission AV equipment in the field first. This way future programmers learn the basics of AV control systems like Crestron, AMX, and Control4 (to a lesser extent).


What does a Crestron Programmer resume look like?

Here’s what employers are looking for on a resume:

  • High School degree is usually necessary, BS/BA may be required but not always seen as vital
  • Ability to install, troubleshoot and maintain Crestron Control Systems
  • Create, load & modify Crestron Code (SIMPL)
  • Ability to design Crestron and/or AMX control systems, and Graphical User Interfaces (GUI)
  • At least two Crestron Certifications (Crestron DMC-E-4K, Crestron DMC-D-4K, CSP, CSP Silver, CSP Gold)

Hiring Manager seeking a Crestron Programmer? - Connect With a Recruiter?

What Crestron Certifications Are Available

Training for these certifications are offered at Crestron Technical Institute (CTI). Here’s some certifications that a programmer will gain along the way in his or her career:

  • Crestron DMC-E-4K - The Crestron Digital Certified Engineer has a working knowledge of installing, configuring and commissioning Crestron hardware products to industry standards.
  • Crestron DMC-D-4K - The Crestron Digital Media Designer Designation can design and tailor Crestron Digital Media Systems to a client’s specific needs.
  • Crestron Certified Programmer - The Crestron Certified Programmer can configure and commision a Crestron fusion deployment, and shows proficiency in Crestron SIMPL.
  • Crestron Silver Certified Programmer - This Certified Programmer has attended three annual Master Level classes and passed the Silver exam
  • Crestron Gold Certified Programmer - This Certified Programmer has attended six annual Master Level classes and passed the Gold exam.


What Is A Typical Crestron Programmer Job Description

The job duties and specific Crestron certifications that the employer is looking for may vary. Generally speaking, the job requirement will deal with designing, installing, troubleshooting and/or Crestron programming.

Sometimes AV Integrators will deal with other control systems such as AMX, or Control4 (if they deal with Residential AV Integration). In this case, the programmer may need experience in these languages as well.

  • Create, load & modify Crestron Code (SIMPL)
  • Program Devices with Crestron SIMPL
  • Perform commissioning and acceptance testing of Code
  • Develop and maintain Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) for Crestron touch panels
  • Develop system recovery protocols in the event of destruction of all or part of the system or components
  • DMC-E required
  • Crestron Master level Programmer Preferred


Whether you are an AV professional looking for new opportunities or an AV Hiring Manager looking for the Perfect AV Candidate...

JPatrick & Associates is here to help!

We are an executive recruiting firm with over 20 years of experience and we specialize in the AV industry.

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Tags: AV/VTC/UC, crestron

Cyber security Sales Engineers Are in High Demand

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Jul 23, 2019 @ 02:31 PM

Cyber Sales Engineers are in High Demand.png


Cyber Security Sales Engineers Are In High Demand

“There is a zero-percent unemployment rate in cybersecurity and the opportunities in this field are endless” - Robert Herjavec, CEO at Herjavec Group

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million unfulfilled job positions by the year 2021. Due to the dramatic rise of cyber crime, the malicious malware epidemic, and the increasing amount of severity attacks on consumers, businesses, and government institutions; cyber security is predicted to cost $6 trillion annually by 2021.

In essence, bad news for the security of our information is good news for the industry. And where there's a boom, there's a demand for talent. One field that's feeling the full effects of this expansion is cybersecurity sales engineers.

Cyber Security Sales Salary

With an increase in demand comes an increase in salary range. In 2017, entry level sales engineers made an average salary just over $100,000 per year; in the top five metro areas (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia). Sales engineers with over 8 years experience made on average $135,000 per year. And in an environment where talent is at a premium, and the demand is outpacing the supply; candidates who are in the job market often are fielding competing offers, as well as counter-offers from their current employers.

Cyber Security Sales Engineer Path

What this means is, if you're a sales engineer you have the opportunity to really consider your career trajectory and take the offers where you feel you'll be most challenged and valued.

Hiring Managers

If you're a hiring manager charged with hiring cyber sales engineers, you already know that the competition for talent is fierce. You also know that you might have to push your budget to get the level of talent you need to keep your company's and/or your customer's data safe. And you probably also understand there's tremendous value in interviewing candidates even when you don't have an immediate opening. But there are a few other key issues to keep in mind.

Lose the Checklist

When you're faced with a competitive market and top talent comes at a premium, you have to be willing to look beyond your checklist. The best candidate may not carry all the certifications you want to see, or they might carry ones you never considered important. They might come from a different sector or not have the years experience you're looking for.

Understand the Power of Soft Skills

As the bridge between the technology and the customer, a sales engineer's ability to manage and communicate effectively with customers needs to be a prime consideration. Since they are in daily contact with customers, they are your eyes and ears in the field and having someone who is an agile communicator about the human experience (as well as the technical experience) is invaluable to you.

Hone Your Game

And speaking of soft skills, in order to attract the best talent, you need to have a company culture in place that both values and invests in their employees. We already know that the best retention and recruiting tool is to make employees and candidates feel valued.
When you're hunting for top talent in a crowded field, always make sure that you have the best position on offer.

Looking for a cyber security sales engineer to join your sales team? Click Here, and a recruiter will reach out to you within 24 hours.

Are you looking for an account manager, pre sales, post sales, systems engineer, sales executive, sales manager, solutions engineering, or either security systems or security services position? Click Here and search our current openings!


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Tags: HR and Hiring, cyber-security, cybersecurity

3 Recruiting Models: How To Get The Best Fit For You

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Jul 23, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

different recruiting models


You contract with an executive recruiting firm for the benefit of their expertise with top talent and the quality of their relationships. You know working with recruiters may cost you more than your in-house HR department, but they're worth the price. But, just as there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all hiring practices, there isn’t just one engagement model.

Knowing the difference between contingency search, retained search and the new, innovative option known as the hybrid recruiting model, can mean the difference between making the right hire and losing time and money on an unproductive search.

Let’s explore all three of these recruiting models. 



You're No Risk Option. Signing a letter of agreement for a contingency search is binding only IF the search results in a hire. Yes, you’ll have agreed to a percentage of the closing salary, but if the recruiters don’t bring you the A-level talent you’re seeking, then the search doesn't cost you anything. You’re not bound by an exclusivity agreement and can work with multiple search firms at once. And most firms offer a guarantee period, anywhere from 30-90 days. The recruiters carry all the risk- if they don’t deliver, you don’t pay.

But Nothing Is Truly Free. Contingency recruiter search process can often be costlier, carrying higher percentage fees. And what you might not get is fully-dedicated resources or the full force of the search team’s focus to fill your positions. With no guarantee of payment, a contingency search firms will only dedicate so much of their time and resources to your search.



We’re There For You. There are some hires, such as C-level suite and marketing manager level positions, that are just too important to leave to chance. You need a focused search dedicated to building your team. When you engage a recruiter in a retained search, they’ll be looking not only for the candidates with the right resumes, but also mining for hidden talent -- candidates who are primed to take on new challenges but may fly under the radar. This is where the recruiter’s reach and relationships come into play. You get all their time and attention focused on your search by paying them an exclusive, pre-determined percentage of the final salary. Usually payable in three installments (1/3 at the time of engagement, 1/3 at an agreed upon point in the middle of the process, and the last installment rounded out based on the actual salary). With a retained search consultant model, you know your money is hard at work for you.

What Will It Cost You. Retained searches are structured to mitigate the risk for both you and the recruiter. However, in the event that the search does not end in a successful hire for either internal or external reasons, that first 1/3 of the fee is non-recoverable- though many firms will apply it to a future search. This is the time to work with a search firm whom you trust and who has a solid, long-standing reputation in your business sector.



Quality Service At A Discount. You need quality talent, and you need it fast, but you’re not looking to pay premium recruiting fees. You may be a start-up needing to fill out staff, or an established firm looking to test the waters with a new recruiter. Either way, the Hybrid model may be the perfect solution for your staffing needs. You’ll pay an engagement fee, but in exchange for a small outlay at the beginning, you’ll get treated like a retained client AND you’ll pay a discounted rate. The upfront fee is deductible from the final percentage based on starting salary. Think of it as a down payment. Recruiters like it because they get a targeted search that’s more than likely to end in a hire, and you get exclusive service at a discount.

Is There A Downside? Sure there is, but it’s pretty slim for you. The only way your engagement fee won’t go to work for you is if the recruiting firm can’t fill any of your staffing needs within the agreed upon specified time, and even then the fee can be applied to a future search.

There are, of course, other models for engagement, solutions that are tailored to special needs, such as filling out a new branch or for contracting short-term hires. If you find yourself faced with one of these situations, talk to your recruiter and explore what works best for you.


Related blog:



Does the Hybrid-Recruiting Model sound right for your company, or are you looking to build a relationship with a trusted firm? J.Patrick & Associates is an Executive Search firm specializing in Information Technologies. Let us help you explore which type of search is the best fit for your company. If your companies seeking talent acquisition and having trouble with the hiring process, feel free to connect with a J. Patrick recruiter by clicking below. We’ll talk to you about which recruiting strategy is best for you then start producing qualified candidates asap.

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Tags: HR and Hiring, recruiting

Have What It Takes To Be An AV Technician? ( Hint: You do! )

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad Sullivan on Mon, Jul 22, 2019 @ 11:57 AM


What is an AV Technician?

According to Study.com, “Audiovisual technicians set up, operate, maintain and repair equipment used to enhance live events, such as microphones, video recorders, projectors, lighting and sound mixing equipment. They record meetings and presentations with video cameras, operate spotlights, adjust amplifiers, coordinate graphics used in displays and provide technical support for teleconferences, webinars, and distance-learning classes. Technicians may also edit, copy and store videotapes and DVDs, track inventory of equipment and order supplies.” 


With this being said, a study conducted by InfoComm states the next three years will be a time of consistent growth for both AV sales and service sales worldwide. This is an industry that has seen a consistent growth rate of 3.10% per year since 2004. Accordingly, the demand for well-qualified AV techs is expected to continue to rise at an expected 15,000 new jobs each year.


How Much Does an AV Technician Make?

With a full-time audiovisual technician making a median salary of $55,671, an AV technician with a few years of experience can expect to earn between $48,000-$66,000. Similarly, a part-time audiovisual technician can bring in anywhere from $15-$30 an hour depending on experience.

Average salary for an av technician

The beauty of many of these jobs, unlike many in the IT sector, is you don't need a raft of previous experience, hefty certifications or specialized degrees to enter the field.

Here's what you need, and what you can expect from a career in this field:


How to Become an AV Technician:

  • A high school degree is necessary, however a bachelors degree will certainly be helpful but is not always viewed as vital
  • A good facility with technology- this could be as simple as a strong working knowledge of consumer goods (TV/DVD Players/Game Systems) as well as a degree of comfort with cable-ing and connection conventions.
  • Working knowledge of electrical safety. Again this can be as simple as understanding the fundamentals of rewiring, grounding and wiring outlets.
  • Experience in either music, theater or other live events can be helpful. (Did you volunteer with a local community theater and help setting up audio equipment? Perhaps you played in a band or are your family's go-to-guy for all issues with TV and accessory set up.)
  • Any kind of facility with AV equipment will serve you well, but the real key quality you need is the drive to keep learning.


What is a Typical AV Technician Job Description:

Regardless of the vertical, you find yourself working in (Video, Audio) or the sector the company serves (consumer, commercial, industrial) most job descriptions will include the following requirements:

  • Install, set up and adjust audio-visual equipment on site
  • Test equipment for faults then repair
  • Train customers on operation and basic maintenance
  • Perform routine checks and maintenance of equipment
  • Troubleshoot problems in the field
  • AV technician is responsible for being team members
  • AV technician needs to learn their particular audio visual systems

(There will also be different audio visual technician skills recommended based on the job.)

 Click here to check out J. Patrick's current AV Tech jobs available!   


The Typical AV Technician (OR NOT!):

While there might be the typical job description, that doesn't mean there is such a thing as a typical AV technician. AV techs hail from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Some come from the music industry, others from entertainment, while still others are attracted to the field as a way into the larger IT world. Whatever direction you're approaching the field from you ought to have the following:

  • The desire to travel and to be exposed to a wide variety of environments. One week you might be working in a school and the next week you might be installing a video wall in a retail environment.
  • Flexibility and creativity to troubleshoot on site.
  • Good communication skills for both reporting to managers and supervisors as well as being able to field and manage customer concerns.
  • A passion to create cool stuff.

The beauty of beginning your career in AV/IT if you become an AV technician is that working in the field can prepare you for a variety of roles down the road. And with new integration opportunities blossoming all the time, AV/IT shows no sign of slowing any time in the future - neither will your career!

Lastly, know there are many different names for AV Technicians. Some of which include, AV Installer, AV Specialist, AV field engineer, AV customer engineer, etc.   


Sound like you? J.Patrick & Associates has multiple AV Industry Jobs which we encourage you to check out!

Looking for a project engineering, audio engineering, project manager, sound engineer, design engineer, sound technician, or any technician position? Click Here to search all our jobs!


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Tags: Job Search, AV/VTC/UC

The Big 3: Weighing the Importance of AV certifications

Posted by Daniel Lehman on Wed, Jul 10, 2019 @ 04:39 PM

The Big 3 (Avixa, CTS, Crestron): Weighing the Importance of AV Certifications

Looking to further your career in the audio visual industry? 

There are many different types of AV training to keep in mind...

The tsunami wave of new AV technology and the many segments of the AV industry may leave candidates feeling dizzy. Live events, which account for a considerable chunk of AV, may sing to your inner audiophile. On the other hand, tech-savvy av professionals have made their entire careers servicing videoconferencing technologies (Cisco Webex, Zoom).

Then there is AV Integration, which is more like the construction business.  AV integration requires designing and installing, troubleshooting, and maintaining AV systems. The demand for qualified technicians in this field is especially high. 

Every business is seeing the value in a new conference room; Complete with videoconferencing, sound and lighting, and large format displays. Software video conferencing companies like Webex has also upped the ante on smart rooms. Systems can now be remotely integrated, controlled and supported through network integration.

AV Professional Looking for a Job? - Click Here to Connect with a Recruiter

Projections for the AV Industry

As our world becomes smaller the goal of staying connected remains a global imperative. AV integration has experienced the most dynamic growth. 

AVIXA, the board which handles licensure for the Audiovisual Industry, has marked this trend. AVIXA Board of Director Jeff Day, cited that by 2023 AV Integration (ProAV) will be a “230 Billion Dollar Market”. This outpaces our country’s projected GDP rate considerably. 

So it stands to reason that getting a job in the AV Integration space should be relatively easy... right?

Here’s the kicker…

There seems to be some confusion as to what technical experience hiring managers are looking for in AV candidates. AVIXA’s Sean Wargo, Director of Market Intelligence, elaborates:

“The market for AV solutions is consistently strong; the industry must continually grow to meet the demand...the challenge is often finding the qualified labor to staff the influx of AV design and integration projects.”

Sean Wargo, AVIXA

Simply put, there are not enough qualified technicians and designers to step into these roles opening up at the AV Integrators. Many hiring managers elect to pass on candidates coming from other roles in the AV field.

Which qualifications are in demand for hiring managers?

An AV technician needs to know the ins and outs of basic installation. This includes pulling and terminating cat5 and cat6 cable, soldering, installing LEDs, projectors, and microphones. 

cat5 cable

But is it enough to advance past an entry-level technician job?

Margins are shrinking when it comes to building and selling hardware systems, and trending more towards software-based solutions. Now more than ever, it is in the best interest of savvy AV technicians to invest in the right vendor certifications. The issue is, there are almost as many industry certifications as there are racks of gear being pumped by these integrators. 

You have the AVIXA CTS or CTS D or CTS I variants. There is the slew of Crestron certifications. Let’s not forget Extron, Biamp, Tesira, and still, the list goes on.

Not to mention industry certifications tend to be on the pricey side. For example, the CTS prep course (highly recommended) is around $1000. The CTS exam itself is $175. Getting all the AV certifications can be an expensive and time-consuming undertaking.

Which AV Training Courses are Most Important

There are no simple answers. This author’s job involves talking to experienced candidates and hiring managers in the audiovisual industry. 

I started asking the question: in your experience, what is the best experience? 

Over several conversations between candidates and managers alike certain patterns began to emerge. 

One key takeaway is the AVIXA CTS certification has value and is globally recognized. 

However, it’s value to hiring managers is that it covers broad industry knowledge. In this way, it is more of a ticket to play as opposed to any indication of specific knowledge or experience. 

More credence might be given to the CTS -I (for AV Installation) and CTS-D (for Design). These tests are regarded as more difficult and deal with specific job functions in AV. Still, the CTS certifications serve the valuable purpose of helping you gain visibility amongst hiring managers and recruiters. In one manager’s words, a CTS is never required but shows the individual is “self-motivated and passionate about AV.”

Hiring Manager Looking for a Candidate? - Click Here to Connect with a Recruiter

Vendor-Specific Training

The general consensus seems to be that vendor-specific training is much more applicable in the field. While every integrator’s process is a little different, there is considerable overlap in the technology being utilized. Certain vendor certifications appear to be worth their weight in gold when it comes to getting recognized by hiring managers. As stated earlier, many of these certifications line up with the trend of AV moving from hardware to software business. 

Crestron Certifications

Crestron, which is the Windows software used to program audiovisual components in smart rooms, is ubiquitous in commercial settings. 

Installers that possess certifications from Crestron, such as the DCM-E-4k, consistently have an edge up in the marketplace. 

Candidates applying for Field Engineer need to know how to use Crestron Toolbox, and should also know its basic functions. 

Many techs hear the word “programming” and want to run for the hills. However, the training is not as scary as one might think. According to one candidate with 30 years in ProAV:“Crestron’s certification program is fabulously well run and gives plenty of time for test preparation.”

DSP Vendor Certifications

DSP vendor certs such as Biamp, Dante and Tesira also score high points on the application. 

Again, integrators will vary in their choices, but Biamp’s offerings in particular thoroughly cover the “audio” in audiovisual. Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) is one specific area that is covered, to achieve maximum speech quality in audio. 

Many integrators will have at least one key contact on staff that is Biamp certified and also serves as a Biamp channel partner. So you can bet, Biamp certified engineers that can write DSPs are highly sought after by many AV integrators.

Are AV Certifications Worth It?

With all this said it may come as no surprise that to hiring managers, experience trumps most anything. If you’re not yet working on ideal AV projects, you should consider continued education in the form of AV certifications. 

It is true that many firms will pay for training. But, what if you are not currently employed or climbing the ranks at an integrator? 

If coming out of pocket is not an option, many vendors have free online training to get you started. Targeting AV integration projects that are using these technologies and seeking an entry-level spot is also a strategy worth considering.

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Tags: AV/VTC/UC, Career Path, Video Interview, Career Advice

The Bottom Line: The Pros & Cons of Contract Work

Posted by Glenda Gregorio on Tue, May 07, 2019 @ 04:02 PM

Contract Work


The word on the street in Silicon Valley is that we are currently in a “gig economy,” that is, more and more people are opting for contract work as opposed to traditional full-time employment. According to new research, conducted by labor economists Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger, between 2005 and 2015 the number of Americans seeking alternative work arrangements swelled by 9.4 million. The large move towards contract employment can be explained by several factors from the need for flexible work hours to increased autonomy.

But, if you find yourself thinking about joining the growing ranks of contract workers, you need to first understand the pro and cons of this kind of work.


PRO: Potential for Higher Earnings

Hiring contractors provide the flexibility companies need as it saves time, money and resources. Companies are also going to hire you because you’re an expert in your field. You know what to do and how to get it done in a timely manner, which is what companies look for in contractors. It is important to understand that most contractors are considered experts in their fields, so you will be rewarded for your expertise.


CON: Increased Uncertainty

The potential for higher earnings is a great benefit of contract work, but there’s no guarantee you will keep working once a contract expires. And since the nature of the work you’ve been hired to do is finite, you have no guarantee that you’ll make the money you thought you would. Another thing to consider is that the project you were hired to work on can be unexpectedly canceled. All of these factors can add up to increased financial instability --if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid. And finally, there’s no way of knowing the amount of time you’ll spend between contracts.  


PRO: Lifestyle Flexibility

According to Randstad’s Workforce360 Study, about 86% of independent contractors reported their level of job satisfaction to be good/excellent. With contract work comes more freedom, you’re able to control your career path without having to wade through office politics for a promotion, pay raise or time off. You negotiate to get the employment packages that suit you the most, and you take as much or as little time off in between contracts. If this type of flexibility is appealing to you, this will help boost your professional and personal satisfaction.  


CON: Outside Looking In

All that flexibility may be nice, but the price you pay is that you’ll always be the outsider.  Contract work makes it difficult to create ties, connections which might help advance your career further down the road... There’s also a lack of social engagement. As we all know, you spend more time at work than at home, so your social life tends to stem from your work life. Some in-house employees may not be inclined to get to know you because you’ll be with the company for a limited amount of time.


PRO: Increased Technical & Professional Knowledge

You’re the expert in your field and have a certain skill set that companies in your industry want. But, contract work also provides the opportunity to sharpen your expertise and work in different sectors. It allows you to broaden your experience in your field and perhaps gain new skills in other industries while you’re at it. You’re at liberty to choose the skills that you would like to further develop in other industries, allowing you to enhance your CV and marketability for future jobs. It can also be part of your story when explaining an employment gap to a potential employer.


CON: Career Development

The freedom provided by contract work to broaden your technical and professional skills means that you are in charge of your own development. Great, right? Maybe not. Although it feels empowering to be in charge of your own career development, it is a heavy burden to bear. You no longer have the human resources department or a talent management team to ensure that you’re properly trained and qualified for the job. It is now up to you to make sure that your skill set is up to par with the current trends of the industry.

Like everything in life, contract employment has its benefits and drawbacks. Although it is not a career-long plan, if you’re returning back to the workforce or need a flexible work arrangement, contract work might be a viable option.


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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

7 Reasons You Need To Talk To A Recruiter

Posted by Nicholas Stearns on Thu, May 02, 2019 @ 11:10 AM

7 Reasons You need to talk to a recruiter


Love Your Job? 8 Reasons You Need To Talk To A Recruiter

When you’re happy in your job, taking calls from recruiters may seem counter-intuitive. But it’s actually one of the best times to speak with a headhunter.

Here are 7 reasons why you should talk to a Recruiter (And one Bonus reason):

1. There’s A Lot To Be Gained

Your time is worth a lot and you don’t want to waste it, so it’s understandable if you don’t want to hear about another job opportunity. But, the good recruiter knows how to get to the point, and they won’t take an inordinate amount of time, yet he very well may have a lot to offer. 

It’s worth a few minutes to learn about possible open positions in your field and to make a connection with a respected recruiter. And all it costs is a bit of your lunch break.

2. They Know How Green The Grass Is

You may not think you’re interested in leaving your current job but recruiters often work to fill positions that aren’t entirely public yet. 

Speaking to a recruiter gives you insight into the possibilities in your industry as they are often on the leading edge of trends and market movement. It's highly possible they are working on filling jobs that you’d have no other way of knowing about and could be a good fit for you.  

3. The Future Isn’t Now

Even if none of the jobs the recruiter has to offer are what you want, remember,  this phone call is not wasted time. 

Save their number, ask them to keep you in mind for future openings, and then keep doing what you love. Just because they don’t have the perfect opening for you right now, doesn’t mean that in 6 months or 3 years that your dream position won’t be open. Or that your situation will be the same. Relationships with recruiters are not entirely about getting you a job. 

4. Companies Change

Situations have a habit of changing. 

Companies go through restructuring, and positions get overhauled. Managers and coworkers get promoted or go to another company. The company you love today may not be the same in 5 years. Maintaining your relationship with a recruiter is a great way to keep your options open without having to make any commitments.

5. You Change Too

What you enjoy and find challenging will also evolve over time. 

In order to find the roles that can help you meet those challenges, you need to move organizations. After all, the average employee in America can expect to have anywhere from 10 to 15 different jobs in their career. And this is where having a relationship with a recruiter helps; When you’re ready to shift career paths they are ready to help you. 

6. A Chance Market Research

Recruiters work in your field all the time, and they tend to know the average value of your position. 

A conversation with a headhunter is a great way to do some of your own market research and acquire free career advice. You may find that your current compensation is not equal to the market, or you may find out how good you have it, and quell any thoughts about moving jobs. Another value recruiters add is, they can give you insight into which other industries are looking for people with your skill set.

7. Lending A Helping Hand

Just because the job isn’t something you’re interested in, you may very well know someone who is. 

Many recruiting firms offer a referral program. 10 minutes on the phone might not get you a job, but it could advance a friend’s career, and earn you a bonus.

*Bonus*  Expedite the Hiring Process

Recruiters maintain a great relationship with hiring managers (Good ones at least). When you do decide to search for new opportunities, working with a recruiter will make the job search, and the interviewing process seamless. 


A call from a recruiter, especially when you’re in a great spot, can look like a bother. But when you know about the added value, you realize it’s an opportunity to learn more about your industry and the space you work in. 

Recruiters are beneficial to both active and passive job seekers alike. After all… your dream job might be out there and only your recruiter can find it.

If you’re interested in speaking to a recruiter about your career path or job search to see if there’s a role that's a good fit for you, CLICK HERE.  


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Tags: Career Advice

5 Cyber Security Certifications You Need To Get Ahead

Posted by Dylan Rivera on Wed, May 01, 2019 @ 12:39 PM


With the recent spate of cyber attacks, Cyber Security professionals are in more demand than ever. Businesses are flooding the gates, looking for qualified info-sec professionals to safeguard their IT systems from attacks. There are plenty of jobs waiting for well-qualified candidates.

Chances are you're like most cybersecurity professionals- you're not looking for just any job. What you're seeking for are the best challenges at that best companies. And in order to get those jobs, you're going to need to hone your skills.

 We’ve compiled a list of the top certifications to pursue if you're looking to expand your market value and/or expertise:


1. CompTIA Security

This entry-level certification is the essential stepping stone into your IT security career. It is globally recognized as a validation of superior technical skills, such as Cryptography, Identity Management, Security Risk Identification, etc. To qualify, you must have 6-12 months of relevant experience.

COST: $311.00 USD.

Positions and the average salaries that correspond with the CompTIA Security+:

  • Systems Administrator ($43,000-$86,000)
  • Network Engineer ($46,000-$95,000)
  • Information Security Analyst ($49,000-$96,000)
  • Network Administrator ($39,000-$77,000)
  • IT Manager ($44,000-$110,000)

2. GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

This entry-level information security certification is for professionals who want proof that they're ready for a hands-on job in systems security administration. This exam covers a wide range of subjects to further help you understand and recognize security principles.

COST: $1000.00 USD,

Note: This certification requires no prior experience, but you’ll have to retake the test every four years.

Positions and average salaries that corresponds with the GSEC certification:

  • Information Security Analyst ($46,000-$121,000)
  • Security Engineer ($100,0000-$110,000)
  • Network Security Engineer ($80,000-$85,000)
  • Senior Security Consultant ($100,000-$135,000)
  • Network Security Analyst ($50,000-$55,000)

3. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

This intermediate-level certification trains and educates you to understand and look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in information systems. This credential will equip you with the knowledge of numerous hacking practices (Trojans, Viruses) and how to properly defend yourself against them.

COST: $500.00 USD

Note: This cert requires 2 years of relevant experience to be qualified.

Positions and average salaries that corresponds with the CEH accreditation:

  • Information Security Analyst ($53,000-$107,000)
  • Security Engineer ($61,000-$120,000)
  • Penetration Tester ($50,000-$130,000)
  • Security Analyst ($51,000-$115,000)
  • Information Security Engineer ($72,000-$135,000)

4. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

This advanced-level certification goes beyond the basic technical skills and covers the integration of security methodologies. The CISSP is the gold standard when it comes to certifications by preparing you with the right tools to develop, guide, and manage security principals.

COST: $600.00 USD

Note: This certification is a highly recognized standard among the industry; however, you must have a minimum of 5 years of experience to qualify for the exam.

Positions and average salaries that corresponds with the CISSP credential:

  • Information Security Analyst ($60,000-$117,000)
  • Information Security Manager ($81,000-$142,000)
  • Chief Information Security Officer ($104,000-$203,000)
  • Security Engineer ($69,000-$127,000)
  • Security Architect ($90,000-$152,000)

5. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

This top-level certification will showcase your security management expertise. Further, advance your security risk management and program development skills with this unique management-focused credential. Globally recognized to demonstrate your understanding of an information security program and its relationship with the long and short term business goals.

COST: $500-$700.00 USD

Note: You must have a minimum of 5 years working experience.

Positions and average salaries that corresponds with the CISM accreditation:

  • Information Security Manager ($82,000-$150,000)
  • Chief Information Security Officer ($116,000-$214,000)
  • Information Security Officer ($66,000-$147,000)
  • Security Architect, IT ($84,000-$172,000)
  • Information Security Analyst ($55,000- $122,000)

Though the majority of employers might not list specific cybersecurity certifications as a job requirement, having certs in place will help you stand out and increase your appeal for top-drawer jobs, as well as increase your salary potential.


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How to Start off Right As an AV Technician

Posted by Dylan Rivera on Tue, Apr 30, 2019 @ 04:04 PM


With the Audio-Visual industry continuing to thrive, the demand for Audio Visual technicians outpaced the supply. Opportunities are plentiful for qualified technicians, even if they haven’t worked in AV before, with the caveat that they possess some fundamental skills required in the audio-visual space.

If you’re looking to move into this growing field, here’s what companies are looking for in their entry-level Audiovisual technicians.


Ability to Learn

When you enter the AV field, you’ll need a propensity for working with electrical equipment since the AV space requires you to work with different audio, video, and computer technology. 

There are several related fields that can help make the shift into AV easier, such as:

  • Photography
  • Creative Media Production
  • Audio Production
  • Digital Media Technology

While working in these areas does not necessarily prepare you for the particulars of an AV technician job, they do give you a working knowledge of some of the Audio Visual equipment, as well as the vocabulary of the field.


Related Experience

Employers who are willing to hire techs from outside AV are going to first and foremost be looking for work experience -- most likely 3-5 years in a related field. You’ll also need to build a familiarity with the different applications (Commercial Businesses, Residential Homes, Government, Healthcare) and the equipment/ manufacturers (Extron, AMX, Crestron and DSP) associated with each sector.

Improving your knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming can all prove your ability to adapt to different settings. Also, keeping an updated portfolio with testimonials, pictures, and/or schemas will help give an in-depth representation of how you’ve performed in the past.


Communication Skills

As a post-sales or pre-sales technician, the ability to communicate with customers and co-workers is an imperative tool to keep holstered to your work belt. The ability to explain the process in layman terms, or in a manner that requires no prior knowledge in the designated area is highly valued. 

Working in this space demands that you must be able to meet customer demands and resolve any problems that may appear. Following the installation process, customers will often have questions regarding the procedure and last minute “How to’s,” and covering those questions will fall to you.


Thinking on the spot

Out in the field, AV service technicians are often faced with numerous situations where they need to thoroughly analyze an obstacle and create a solution. 

The problem may be as complex as having to troubleshoot a Crestron system, or as rudimentary as coming up with an on-the-spot solution to limited space when hanging monitors in a university common room. 

Regardless of the size, you need to be prepared for unforeseen complications and be able to efficiently diagnose a problem, in order to produce a worthy solution.


Positive Attitude

Similar to a pitcher throwing a curveball, unpredictable complications arise on the job. However, the way you handle your attitude and take control of the situation will ultimately determine the outcome. 

A strong and positive attitude influences the customer experience. You will be the face of the company out in the field, you need to be comfortable in that role as a brand ambassador. Remember to keep your head high, even in the most arduous situations.

With the right set of qualifications, and an interest in working on the user end, being an AV technician can be a most rewarding career trajectory.

Looking for a full time or part time AV job? Click the link below to connect with a recruiter and find out what's available for you!


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