Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 7 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2014 with a major in Music Business. Principal Instrument: guitar.
Position: Technical Consultant at The Amaral Group. The Amaral Group, a high-tech consulting firm based in Boston, sends Josh and others to businesses (and occasionally schools or governments) to deal with their computer needs, from setting up new systems to fixing things when they break. Josh spends half his time onsite with customers and most of the rest at home researching technical solutions to problems.
Overview: Josh always loved technology, from being an amateur hacker in high school to spending lots of time in studios while a Berklee student. (Josh had wanted to study MP&E at Berklee, but that’s another story.) After graduation he worked at Guitar center, teaching guitar, Pro-Tools, and putting together a program on being a DJ, but within months he realized he wanted to work in tech, so he bought books and spent time self-educating on web development, IT infrastructure, database administration, etc. Late in 2014 friends of his band mates who worked at InMusic put in the good word and he got a job there doing Quality Assurance. Sadly, there wasn’t much opportunity to advance his knowledge, and it ended in early 2016 when the company moved its entire development to another state.
Unemployed for several months, Josh continued to study computers while making some money with freelance web development and some music gigs. One of these was working as audio tech for the album recording by local band Unstraight, featuring Katie Amaral. Katie was very impressed with Josh’s work, and when she learned that he was looking for a tech job, referred him to her father, president of the Amaral Group. Josh was hired in June 2016 as a part-time employee. As his skills and competencies grew so did his hours until, by the spring 2017, it had turned into a full-time job.
(Sadly, Josh does not have a LinkedIn page at the moment, but he still does music on the side. Here’s his DJ page.)
Choice Quotes: “Part of the consulting game: like a good chess player, think 5 steps ahead and put things in a way that it won’t break later. Also document what you do well and don’t ‘create fires’ of your own.”
“It’s crazy–we techies all deserve multiple titles–I’m a go-to network engineer, security consultant, CISCO firewall pro, windows infrastructure, LINUX system admin. We at the Amaral Group each have our areas of expertise, but everyone has a foot in at least two places and we all cross-train. When it’s a slow week it’s expected that you’re learning new things and growing in another direction so that you can take on new projects should someone get overbooked.”
“People ask how I went from music to technical problem solving. I reply that I haven’t really changed at all–it’s just a different medium and it’s one day at a time. The draw for me is finding a creative solution to a technical issue, which is what’s done in a recording studio, and is exactly what we do here! We’re coming in right at the intersection of creative problem solving with technical skills at companies that all rely on machines.”
“Don’t limit your opportunities just because you feel you should be in music. The world is full of really interesting problems to solve. Regardless of your education, if you want to get out there and be part of solving them–really within any industry–it’s well within reach.”
“Early on in my job I’d go too far and try to solve problems I saw, but the golden rule of consulting is ‘If you touch it you own it.’ If I’d try to fix something and now stuff didn’t work guess whose fault it is…and guess who gets to spend as many hours as it takes–unpaid –fixing it!”
“If you want to be a technical consultant, prepare to lose sleep. Prepare for someone to set you down and go ‘OK there’s a certification in network engineering. It takes most folks 3-5 years. You have 6 months. On, and here are a few more certifications to get as well. And during this time you’ll be working with clients and there’s no HR bubble between then and you, so keep smiling.” You’ll only make it if you really want it and you think it’s cool, so embrace your inner nerd as hard as you can!”
See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.