J Patrick + Associates Blog

Future Looks Bright for A/V Professionals

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Wed, Dec 11, 2019 @ 11:11 AM

Future Looks Bright For Av Professionals

Audiovisual (AV) professionals handle a variety of complex operational procedures ranging from selling, installing and maintaining digital signage to setting up and monitoring live, in-person presentations.  Today, these professionals are in high demand in several industries including the luxury real estate, healthcare, and event/conference markets. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for AV professionals will grow at a rate of about 13 percent until 2026.

Here is a look at the AV positions that need to be filled


Even the best AV equipment won’t sell itself. Savvy salesmen are needed to reach out and close deals.

Sales Engineers

This position involves working closely with installation teams to verify dimensions, create diagrams and relay power requirements.


Speakers, screens and control devices all need to be set up for presentations - and the process can be complex.  Installers get you up and running instantly and account for potential configuration and interoperability issues.

AV Technicians

Events like trade shows and conferences need Technicians to maintain floor operations and handle processes like setup and removal.  Technicians are also required for on the spot issue resolution and troubleshooting.

Post-sales, customer-facing roles

This type of role is ideal for a worker with stellar personal skills who can communicate client needs, but is also technically-oriented and understands how audio and visual systems work and operate.

Browse All Jobs

Are you an A/V professional who is detail-oriented, patient, highly technical and adept at working with customers?  If so, J. Patrick & Associates has a long record of success placing sales, marketing, and technical management and staff for audiovisual and video conferencing vendors.

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Tags: AV/VTC/UC, Career Strategies

Comparing AVIXA CTS certifications for AV professionals

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Wed, Dec 04, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

Weighing the Importance of the AVIXA CTS Certifications

Anyone who is anyone in the Audiovisual industry knows all about AVIXA.
Formally known as InfoComm, AVIXA is the international trade association that represents the professional AV industry.

AVIXA Certifications (CTS, CTS-I, and CTS-D) are highly regarded and recognized globally, as the leading AV credentials.

Which certifications you choose to pursue are dependent on your current experience in AV, as well as your desired career trajectory. 

Let’s take a deeper look into the three AVIXA CTS credentials and outline which is most appropriate for you and your career.

Certified Technology Specialist Credential (CTS)?

A CTS performs general technology solution tasks by:

  • Creating, operating, and servicing AV solutions

  • Conducting AV management activities that provide for the best audiovisual resolutions of the client’s needs, both on time and within budget.

What is the AVIXA CTS Certification

The AVIXA CTS or Certified Technology Specialist is the most general AVIXA certification. As a CTS specialist, you will be able to create operate and service AV solutions, and manage AV activities that best serve the client’s needs. 

The Certified Technology Specialist Program (CTS) is considered globally as the leading credential for AV professionals. Currently, there are 13,000 CTS holders, 2,000 of which have specialized credentials (CTS-I, CTS-D). 


 The benefits of a CTS Certification

  • Improves core competency with AV equipment

  • Improves credibility among colleagues

  • Improves marketability to potential employers and clients

  • Showcases willingness to learn and improve skillset

  • Showcases professionalism and technical proficiency

  • Improves career options and salary


Requirements for AVIXA CTS

There are no prerequisite courses or experiences required before applying (however AV experience would make the test much easier). 


Is the AVIXA CTS for you?

If you are new to the audiovisual industry, the AVIXA CTS should be one of the first certifications that you acquire. By doing so, you will establish the baseline knowledge that you need to be an entry-level AV technician or installer


AVIXA CTS-I Certification

The AVIXA CTS-I (Installation) installs and maintains audiovisual systems. 

  • Follows specification and safety protocols

  • Administers Installation Process Logistics

  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving AV systems

  • Communicates with clients, and other designers to ensure the best AV solutions

Requirements for AVIXA CTS-I

In order to apply for your CTS-I exam, you must have a valid CTS certification and a minimum of two years of experience installing AV equipment.


Is the AVIXA CTS-I certification for you?

If you have a few years of experience in the AV industry and you are looking to go from an entry-level AV technician to a Lead technician or field engineer than the CTS-I can be an incredibly valuable certification for you. 

The emphasis of the AVIXA CTS-I certification is the installation of commercial AV systems. Many managers at AV Integrators on the install side (i.e. Field Operations Managers and Technical Operations Managers) possess this certification. Also, a fair amount of Crestron Programmers will have the CTS-I as well. They are involved not only with software solutions but in writing the control logic for Crestron’s hardware installed in integrated conference rooms. 


 AVIXA CTS-D Certification

The AVIXA CTS-D (Design) designs audiovisual systems.

  • Designs AV systems

  • Prepares documents for design

  • Communicates with vendors and clients to create AV solutions that meet client requirements


Requirements for AVIXA CTS-D

In order to apply for your CTS-D exam, you must have a valid CTS certification and a minimum of two years of experience designing AV equipment.


Is the AVIXA CTS-D for you?

The CTS-D is highly regarded in the AV industry and one of the most difficult certifications to acquire (Under 20% pass rate). 

If you are looking to move into the design or engineering side of the AV industry (Design Engineer, project engineer, solutions architect) then the CTS-D is the appropriate certification for you. Any Management level positions overseeing a design team, such as an Engineering Director, or Manager of Pre-Sales Engineering are often required to have a CTS-D.


How much does each AVIXA certification cost?

The cost of the AVIXA certifications varies based on country, AVIXA membership, and certification type.


USD Member

USD Non-member

Euro Member

Euro Non-member

GBP Member

GBP Non-member

AUD Member

AUD Non-member






































AVIXA CTS Handbook


Is there an advantage to being dual-certified? (CTS-I & CTS-D)

There are currently over 12,000 AVIXA CTS holders, still less than 500 with both the CTS-I and CTS-D certifications. AV professionals who are dual certified are respected amongst their peers, highly sought after by employers, and considered leaders in the AV industry. 

They are considered to have a mastery of two of the most crucial phases of the project life cycle: the design phase and installation phase. 


Are the AVIXA CTS credentials worth it?

CTS credentials are highly regarded in the Audiovisual Industry, and are well worth the investment as you  then able to position yourself as a professional in the AV industry, earn you credibility among colleagues, and can dramatically put your career in AV on the fast track to promotion. 

If you are passionate about AV and see yourself working in the industry in the long-term then yes, the CTS credential is definitely worth it. 

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Tags: AV/VTC/UC, certifications

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,  in addition to 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 has 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.

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.

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.


Available Crestron Jobs

Tags: AV/VTC/UC, crestron

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 that enable seamless integration with the audiovisual equipment in that space. What makes Crestron programmers unique is that they specialize in the coding language specific to Crestron, known as Crestron SIMPL.

What is Crestron?

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.

How Much Does a Crestron Programmer Make?

As of July of 2022, 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 110k 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 the experience level of the programmer.

 How to Become a Crestron Programmer:

In the AV industry, there is no 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)

What Crestron Certifications Are Available

Training for these certifications are offered at Crestron Technical Institute (CTI). Here are 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 commission 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 the 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...

Available Crestron Jobs


Tags: AV/VTC/UC, crestron

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

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad 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.

Looking for a new job in the Audiovisual Industry?


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.)

Looking for the Perfect AV Candidate?


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!

Related Blogs:

How to Transition from AV Tech to Management

How to Get Promoted from AV Tech to Lead Technician


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Weighing the Importance of AV certifications

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


Avixa CTS or 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.

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!

Related Blogs:

Do you have what it takes to be an AV Technician?

How to Become a Crestron Programmer in the AV Industry

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

How To Transition From AV Technician To Management

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad and Jarrett Zike on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Transition from AV Technician To Management

The road from AV technician to management is not always direct. Certainly, there are the fundamental skills and attributes you need in order to move from tech to lead, but the route to promotion tends neither to be linear nor all that clearly demarcated.

That much being true, it is also the case that a great audio-visual technician with solid fundamental skills is primed to move into management. They are knowledgeable, reliable, thorough, and have good communication skills that allow for effective customer interactions on the job site. More than that, they understand that their Technical Operations Manager is swamped, and are able and willing to go to great lengths in order to distribute some of the burdens.

While the Ops Manager is in charge of the job, their days are filled with juggling meetings with upper management and clients. Still, they must monitor budget concerns, schedules, parts orders, and troubleshoot day-to-day disasters. If they’re the equivalent of commissioned officers, what they need are reliable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy sergeants out in the field, running interference for them.

So, how does one move from a hands-on position as an AV field technician (foot soldier) to a hands-off role as a field manager (sergeant)? There are three fundamental routes an audio-visual technician can follow to this destination. They are as follows: 


It’s Organic

Perhaps the first circumstance requires the least explanation of the three, but, as we all know, sometimes it just happens.

I know that sounds too easy, but think about it. You have a team that’s taxed on both ends -- managers who are trying to accomplish a goal on time, within a budget, and up to a standard of  quality, and technicians who are racing to get the work done. It very frequently turns out that the best person to play the intermediary is someone who can already do everyone else’s job.

If you’ve proven yourself to be trustworthy, competent, and an apt communicator, then you will likely find yourself entrusted with increasing amounts of responsibility as a natural outworking of having done your job well.


Find A Hole And Fill It

Okay, so let’s say you’re everything you should be on paper, but no one is offering you a bump up. If you think you’re ready, ask for more responsibility. Make it your prerogative to ensure that the job site is kept clean, that customers are happy, and that everyone is following procedure.

This is not to say that you should become a self-appointed boss, only that if you zoom out enough to both see the big picture of an installation and act on your perspective, you will have assumed a position of increased responsibility and demonstrated that you are a person who is capable of taking the initiative.

Since there are many managers out there who are simply too busy to stop and search for the help they need, if you want it, you’re going to have to ask for it. One of the best ways to "ask," in this case, is simply to do.


Go Out And Get It

It’s possible that you’re doing everything that's expected of you: you’re motivated, reliable, trusted and a great mentor to the other guys in the field. And yet, you still struggle to find a way to move up in your company.

If that’s the case, it very well might be time to move on. Not every company is well-suited or prepared to foster in-house talent. It could even be that they’ve given you additional responsibility but are not in a position to bump up your compensation. This is the time to make sure your resume is up to date, and get in touch with a trusted and knowledgeable recruiter.

There’s a great deal of opportunity out there today for motivated and well-rounded techs, but the same truism holds here as elsewhere: you have to make sure you don’t get left behind!


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Tags: AV/VTC/UC, Career Path

How IoT is Changing AV Sectors

Posted by Nicholas Stearns on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 @ 10:53 AM

How IoT is changing AV Sectors


The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the network of devices (cars/buildings/refrigerators) embedded with software, sensors, electronics, etc that allow them to network and communicate and exchange data. It’s an exciting development impacting many sectors- prime among them, the AV industry.   


Cutting Costs.

Less Hardware = Less Money. With the  IoT, audio and visual information are transmitted wirelessly. It can be run on the same cable as the internet, phones, power and other devices, all which contributed to cutting down on the costs of wiring.  The number of necessary control devices also drops as one display can be used to run all of the operations. Technology such as Power over Ethernet (PoE) is just one example of this consolidation of wiring.


Easing Integration.

IoT allows for multiple devices to communicate with one another remotely. This opens a number of possibilities in AV. A conference room could have a screen that is connected to multiple devices, allowing for multiple attendees to display information with no wires. Microphones can be switched on and off from one central device, say a desktop or a smartphone. Sensors on the windows read the amount of sunlight coming in, and communicate with the lighting to adjust the overhead lights as needed. The possibilities are quite endless.


Smart Signage.

With IoT, digital signs are becoming more reactive, and therefore more effective. If, for example, a customer walks into a store they’ve shopped in previously (or have a membership to), digital signage can now offer/advertise specific items to that customer. All the sign needs is a Bluetooth connection to a customer’s phone and it can tailor offers similar to previous purchases from the customer.

Or, signage can be informative. EZ Pass gateways can time how long it takes vehicles to move between tolls, and let drivers know the estimated time with current traffic conditions. Airports can read how many Bluetooth devices are in a security line, and how long it takes each one to get through. Then, they can automatically message flyers with an alert if they should arrive early due to unusually long security lines. Parking garages can sense which spaces are open, and connect to a car's satnav to direct them to the most convenient spot.


Homes with an IQ.

When it’s said that IoT can connect anything, it isn’t an exaggeration. Samsung is working to create a full line of home appliances monitored and controlled with a mobile device. Lights, the radio, even a fridge can be monitored and controlled with your phone from anywhere.  


Eye in the Sky.

Do you know what’s really cool? Taking birds-eye-view pictures. Or Videos. And with IoT, this has become a lot easier, using drones. With the ability to take shots that would normally require much more money or setup time, drones allow companies big and small to get footage beyond comprehension. The applications of drones in AV range from landscaping advertising to sports events and so on.


A Bright Future

All of these changes and advancements mean that the role and expectations of AV companies are changing with them. When looking for talent, a few specific skills need to be kept in mind.

1) Knowledge of IT is no longer a perk, it’s a requirement. Being able to set up a network, or test the connections between devices is important. Integration doesn’t mean just physically setting up a system, it’s making sure all of the devices are talking to each other digitally.

2) AV companies need to be looking for Information Security Analysts (read more on how to hire the best infosec analysts). With all the new forms of connectivity available, comes a host of new ways for information to be stolen or compromised. Security has to be a prime concern when we have multiple devices talking to each other and accessing data and personal information.

Staying ahead in the AV space doesn’t only mean having the newest equipment, it also means keeping an eye on all the other info-sec technologies. Integration is the name of the game if you want to stay ahead of the competition.


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Tags: AV/VTC/UC, network security, cyber-security, IoT

How to Get Promoted from AV Technician to Lead technician

Posted by Nicholas Stearns on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

How to get Promoted from AV Technician to Lead Technician

If you've already read How to Start Off Right as an AV Technician, now is a good time to investigate taking the next step in your career. For an audio visual technician (AV tech), moving up the professional hierarchy often means pursuing a position as a lead technician. If this is a career path that you are considering, you should prepare yourself by building upon some of the basic competencies you have already developed as a tech.

Know Customers

As an AV tech, there is an extent to which--even though you are primarily working with inanimate objects--you still have to be mindful of the customer-facing aspects of your role. You conduct yourself with an appropriate level of professionalism, courtesy, respect, and etc. The same holds for lead tech positions, albeit to a much greater extent. You should anticipate having to develop an approach that is much more sensitive to the finer points of customer service.

In your new position, you will be the proverbial face of the company, the first point of contact. Crucially, this means that you will want to develop a manner that makes customers both feel heard and confident in your ability to see that their needs are met. This is a core leadership ability that is difficult to fake, so the best approach is to work on active listening--make a conscious effort to hear, understand, and remember specific customer concerns as they are expressed to you. This will increase the customer's faith in your capability and ensure that their first impression of your employer is a positive one.

Specialize. Hard.

A lead tech needs to be the most generally competent member of their team. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't delegate responsibility according to ability; as this is part and parcel of effective leadership, you absolutely should. But you will find that things run much more smoothly when all relevant parties see you as an expert.

If you don't know where to begin brushing up your skills, start with something you enjoy. Once you feel thoroughly grounded in one area, move into territory with which you are less familiar. Here, you shouldn't feel ashamed to reach out to people whose reputation precedes them. It seems to be a universal law of human nature that we enjoy demonstrating mastery when given the opportunity to do so.

Speak to your manager about acquiring more certifications. Even if they won’t pay for it, certifications are always a worthwhile investment. CTS, CTS-D, CTS-I, and other certifications are irrefutable evidence of both the richness of your skillset and your willingness to push yourself to acquire new knowledge. Become intimately familiar with InfoComm for certification details and dates for upcoming training sessions.

Experience, Experience, Experience

If an attribute is common to all lead techs, it’s a comparative wealth of that vaunted quality for which no known substitute exists--experience.

With experience, you find your own way of doing things. You develop both a technical and an interpersonal style that sets you apart from your peers. So take the overtime when it's available. Be quick to consider new approaches and listen with discernment to ideas that challenge your habits.

Learn Leadership Skills

I'll risk redundancy to state frankly that the biggest difference between an AV technician and a lead is the ability to do just that: lead. How does one learn to lead? The same way we learn everything else: mimicry. Find someone you respect and hold them up as a model and unofficial mentor. Imitate their leadership style until you are comfortable enough to experiment and make it your own.

You can take leadership courses and consume content about what it takes to be an effective manager. YouTube is brimming with content from thought leaders in every conceivable field, so find a credible manager whose content you're capable of enjoying and soak it up. Here, you need not limit yourself to the AV field because the skills you are trying to acquire are interpersonal in nature. Effective leaders are often charismatic, so it shouldn't be too difficult to discover a palatable guru.

Be All Business

Come in early and leave late. Demonstrate your commitment to professionalism. Even though your job requires casual clothing, you should still look your best. Stains, rips, and logos (other than your employers) might not seem like that big of a deal, but personal appearance is--everywhere and always--the basis of first impressions. Plus, it's an easy variable to account for, so make sure to hit the layup.

Get Going

The initiative speaks volumes. Pushing yourself to become a technically skilled leader is a surefire way to demonstrate that you are the best choice for their next lead tech position.

With all the world's knowledge at your fingertips, a strong sense of professionalism, and the basic humility that allows you to learn from others, you are well prepared to take the first steps toward becoming an effective lead. So get out there and do it. You have everything you need.

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AV Integration: The Hot Job Market No One Knows About

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Audiovisual Integration: The Hot Job Market No One Knows About

AV Integration, the seamless control of leading-edge technologies through a single interface, is helping to reinvent workplace communications. And it’s one of the fastest-growing industries within the IT space.

According to InfoComm's 2014 Market Definition and Strategy Guide, the AV industry is projected to be a $119 billion global industry by the end of 2016. Established industry leaders are growing at a brisk pace even as more companies are expanding on their traditional offerings of telephone, cabling, alarm systems, and security to enter the sector.  Job opportunities are plentiful, salaries are competitive and firms are willing to compromise on requirements.

So, given all these positives, why is the industry experiencing a recruitment issue?

Well, it could be because AV is not traditionally thought of as “cool” or cutting edge as traditional IT spaces. It might even evoke thoughts of that guy in High School - the one with the oversized key chain hanging from his belt loop who was always pushing the AV cart through the hallways, the weight of his responsibilities nearly as heavy as his key fob.

It could also be because not enough people know that AV has matured into a bonafide IT sector.

Let’s run through a list of reasons why you should be looking into AV Integration:

Chance For Growth

Industry leaders in the integration field are eager to hire people early in their careers for a number of reasons, even as they know their ideal employees are not coming out of school pre-built for the industry. Companies understand that they have to invest in and be dedicated to training and development. What this means for you is the on-going expansion of your skill set, certifications and knowledge base. And while this makes for a satisfying experience at work, what it also does is make you a more valuable candidate further down the road.

It’s Really Cool

While traditional IT spaces, such as development and cybersecurity get more heat and are thought of as more ‘sexy”, what they don’t offer is the opportunity to build large integrated systems. Unifying video, media, communications, data, cloud, and security present exciting challenges, and as the capacity of these related fields grows, so too do the opportunities for expansion. Think of AV as the marriage between media and communications, the possibilities are endless.

Custom Work

While the rest of the IT sector is mainly focused on scalable, repeatable solutions, AV Integration takes a more custom approach. The collaboration solutions and services created for clients are unique and specialized. Like a fine craftsman, projects afford you the opportunity to learn with every build, keeping the work ever-changing and challenging.

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Due to the fact that AV Integration is currently being taught in only a handful of 4-year and 2-year college programs, companies have been relying heavily on re-training. We are seeing several of our clients in this space hiring programmers and then training them up in AV. What this means for the company is they get the benefit of an experienced worker, while the employees are benefiting from quality training and new challenges. And because of the current recruiting challenges, there is ample opportunity to move between companies.

New Initiatives, Internship Opportunities, and Certifications on the Rise

This is an industry dedicated to growth. Some, companies, such as Advanced Technologies are partnering with Universities in their area to create internship opportunities and training programs. And these are not limited to engineering and technical positions only, sales, design and finance internships are available as well.

And then there are initiatives such as The Ignite Program by NSCA, a program dedicated to making students aware of both the field of AV and the opportunities available to them in the industry.

The next several years will see an increase in certification programs from both 2-year schools, such as the Electronic Systems Technician (EST) certification from NSC, A and an increasing number of certs from InfoComm. Additionally, if the industry has its way, we’ll begin to see more 4-year schools offering coursework geared toward professions in the AV space.

While some may view AV Integration as something of a vo-tech industry, the well- trained young employee has the opportunity to get right into a high paying job, build their skills for a long and diverse career, and make enough money early enough in their career to pay off those loans.

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Tags: Job Search, AV/VTC/UC