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What degree courses are good?

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I am currently working as a technician, have been for the last three years full time, and three years previously part time. I consider myself a professional, but when applying for jobs no one takes me seriously as I don't have the necessary qualifications in their eyes.


I am looking into "Sound, Light and Live Event Technology", available at the University of Derby.


I am not particularly theatre orientated and can be found doing any technical entertainment industry post.


Have any of you in your wisdom any great experiences I can glean information off.




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:D I think you're going about this the wrong way.. With six years professional experience as a technician I think you do not need a degree...


I finished a degree last year, and yes it can help to get a foot in the door, but you already have your foot there. I wish I had six years experience, that should be more important to an employer than a piece of paper that says you spent three years in college.


If you have no formal qualifications consider making yourself more employable by taking courses related to the industry, such as PCM's rigging course (if it ever happens), a city and guilds electrical qualification or whatever is in your interest field..


** Struck out a section on universities questioning you motives for taking such a course - I assumed the course was a BA - will teach me to check before opening my mouth!!!**


Just my opinion....

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I have exchanged a few emails with Simon Lewis, who is the programme leader for the course you mentioned. If you're not already in touch with him, send me a PM and I'll give you his address.


I believe the Derby course has a strong technical and engineering focus, and it leads to a BSc degree, as opposed to the more common BA.


From that point of view, I would respectfully disagree with topper when he says:


With six years professional experience as a technician I think you do not need a degree...


Any good university that you apply to will probably also question your motives in taking a degree as you already have the experience that a course such as one of those would provide.

I think it is extremely unlikely that you will have picked up the sort of things covered on that course by just working in the industry. The university might look on you as a favourable candidate for this reason - you realise that you need to do some rigorous study.


However, many people who work with performance technology (in all sorts of environments, not just theatres) don't have anything like the level of in-depth knowledge that the Derby course would give you, but that's because they don't need it to do their jobs.


I would therefore agree with topper that experience counts for a lot, with the proviso that it does depend on the position. To make an analogy from a completely different industry, you might have worked with money in a bank for ten years and progressed to a senior level, but that doesn't mean you could get a job as an accountant.


As far as the usefulness of any sort of course is concerned, it depends on what sort of work you are currently doing, and what sort of things you would like to move into. Can you say any more about this?


Hope this helps,



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Guest lightnix

The whole training issue is very closely linked to Health & Safety and insurance these days. The original Health & Safety At Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) stated only that somebody doing a job should be "competent", nothing more.


However since then, various Guidelines, Codes of Practice, and court case verdicts have decreed that competency can only be achieved with certain levels of training, regardless of previous experience. So a new lampie fresh out of college with a BTEC can be legally "more competent" than an untrained Chief LX with twenty years in the business.


Employers are now covering themselves by insisting that all their crews have some sort of training behind them. The problem now is that there are a plethora of training courses available, of highly variable content, quality and usefulness, there being no national curriculum laid down for these courses . Such standards that do exist are laid down and monitored by the likes of Edexcel (sic ?), the people who so beautifully messed up 'A' levels.


I would start by going back to the companies that turned you down and finding out from them what they consider to be the 'correct' qualifications to have for the kind of work you want to do. I wouldn't expect a unanimous answer for a moment, but it might give you some kind of clue where to start. Nationally recognised qualifications, such as BTECs and degrees will always be more useful than 'training courses', which are often worth little more than the paper they are printed on. You should also look closely at the course content offered by each college, to see if it offers you what you need.


Even once you have a nationally recognised qualification, it is often the case that further training will be required to carry out other "everyday" tasks, such as driving cherry pickers and fork lifts. You also now need to be a qualified electrician before you can "competently" measure the voltage coming out of a mains socket :D


Apart from that, I do believe that there is a need for better training these days. The equipment and rigging methosds used these days are far more sophisticated than they were 21 years ago, when I first entered the business, there was no DMX and everybody fell over backwards at the technical miracle which eventually became known as the VL1.


I also have great personal admiration for those who turn down short term financial gain for a longer term benefit and wish you the very best of luck in finding the course that will suit your needs. Do please tell us which one you choose in the end and why.

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