I was drawn towards the music industry – acoustics’ much louder and more obviously ‘glamorous’ friend
At school I had no idea what an acoustic consultant did. But I couldn’t resist the allure of the anechoic chamber at the University of Salford, so acoustics won in the end.
I now work for the Acoustics Noise and Vibration Team at Atkins, a Design, Engineering and Project Management Consultancy.Vicky Stewart
Why should students ‘Explore Acoustics’ for a career?
Acoustics is more than just science and maths, it’s about perception and context. We try to ensure that the right sound is in the right environment. And the work if so diverse – from music venues to the sounds of the ocean.
We look at making homes quieter, but also how people exit public places in an emergency.
And, of course, these things aren’t just important in the UK, they’re important all over the world.
Which STEM subjects are used in the profession?
An understanding of maths and physics can help along with a basic understanding of music. I don’t play a musical instrument, but many acousticians do.
Having people skills and being able to communicate with people, plus an interest in solving problems, are all important.
Where does your work take you?
My career in acoustics has taken me to places that I wouldn’t have been to otherwise, such as The World Islands in Dubai. And I’ve also measured noise in the baggage handling area of a UK major airport – but not on the same trip.
What do you enjoy most about the role?
My favourite thing about working in acoustics is that I get to see my projects come to life all over the country and internationally too.
What do you think is the single most important thing that acousticians do?
The stuff we do makes a difference. Noise barriers between houses and roads, classroom acoustics so the kids can learn, music levels at concerts so it’s not too loud or too quiet – the quality and level of sound is vitally important for all these things.
As long as there are cities expanding and new technology developing, there will always be career opportunities in acoustics