- Select, create and play music at events and venues or present shows on the radio or online
- Work can be focused on evenings, weekends or anti-social hours
- Creative work, suited to great communicators with musical ability and taste
Many music radio DJs also perform live as club DJs. As a mobile DJ, you'll provide music and atmosphere at social events like weddings and parties, using your own equipment. Most DJs are self-employed and work on a freelance basis, so salaries will vary widely.
- Use various formats like vinyl, CD or MP3
- Use a range of equipment like laptops and special software, turntables, mixers, microphones and amplifiers
As a club DJ you might:
- Play and mix records in clubs or bars to create atmosphere or keep people dancing
- Choose music to suit your audience's taste and the venue's music policy
- Operate lighting and visual effects in time to the beat
- Create your own sounds by manipulating beats, using samples, adding extra music and sound effects
- Work with an MC who raps or sings over the music
As a radio DJ or presenter, you'll:
- Present a radio programme in your own style
- Choose the music to be played
- Keep up an entertaining and natural flow of chat
- Interact with the audience through phone-ins, emails, texts and social media
- Keep to a very tight timing schedule
- Interview studio guests
- Operate studio equipment to play music, pre-recorded news, jingles and advertisements (known as 'driving the desk')
- Discuss ideas with the producer
- Write scripts
- Prepare playlists for future shows
Your hours may be varied and unsocial. As a mobile or club DJ you'll mainly work in the evenings and at weekends, often until the early hours of the morning. In radio, hours depend on when your programme is on-air, whether it's live or pre-recorded, and the amount of off-air preparation you do. As a mobile DJ you'll mainly work in pubs, hotels and other venues. As a club DJ you'll work in bars and nightclubs, which can be hot and noisy. Radio work is mainly in small air-conditioned studios.
This role would be ideal for someone who is outgoing and confident, loves music, work well under pressure and has good technical ability.
There are no set entry requirements for this role, but you'll need to know about music technology, what the current music trends are, and have your own collection of music and equipment.
You can apply directly for work as a DJ by contacting bars, clubs and radio stations. You'll need to showcase your mixing and presenting skills, for example through your own online music channel or by posting mixes on music streaming sites. Make sure you do your research and to ensure that your demo mixes fit in with a venue's music policy or the type of music on a radio station's playlist.
You could make contacts and get experience by working on student, community or hospital radio stations, volunteering to DJ at events like weddings, parties and charity shows, volunteering to work as a roadie for an experienced DJ, and posting mixes to online video and music streaming sites to get noticed.
You can find work experience placements through the BBC Work Experience Scheme, or by contacting broadcasters to ask about opportunities. The Radiocentre can help you find commercial radio stations.
You can also take training courses or attend DJ workshops, which are offered by private music training providers that specialise in DJ skills, music technology and sound recording.
It may be useful to start by doing a college course. This will give you some of the skills needed to work with sampling equipment, mixers, digital controllers and decks. Courses include Level 2 Certificate in Music Technology, Level 2 Certificate in Radio and Level 3 Diploma in Creative and Digital Media. Colleges and community education centres also often run short workshops in DJ-ing and recording skills.
It may also be helpful to join organisations like the National Association of Disc Jockeys, for professional development and to make industry contacts.
As a successful club DJ, you could move into music producing and recording, club promoting, working for a record label or starting your own label.
As an established radio DJ, you could get involved in other types of media work, like TV presenting.