The sound engineer is the unseen member of a band is the one who makes the band sound good. Sound engineers are responsible for tweaking the sound in such a way that it sounds balanced. However being a sound engineer can be a daunting task without the right skills.
Here below are few skills for budding sound engineers.
Plan and Manage a recording Session: Recording sessions can be difficult if not managed well. A well-managed recording session can also put the artist in a good zone which means they can perform at their best. Well-managed recording sessions will involve managing timelines like how much time it takes to set up, break times and everyone working should be well informed of their duties. Starting with no plan can mean a lot of trouble not only for the engineers but also the artists.
Music Theory: A good sound engineer should be aware of the basics of music theory such as timing, tuning, and harmony. A good sound engineer should know when they need a retake too. Without the basic theory knowledge, an engineer can put out stuff which might need fixing or that might need a re take. Having a basic knowledge of music theory doesn't mean having a degree in music but just enough knowledge to make the recording session successful and know when something isn't in tune and needs a re take.
Knowing Microphones: Knowing the different types of microphones and knowing how to use them is an essential skill every sound engineer must possess. This also includes knowing how to position the microphone correctly and which microphone suits the instrument or vocals. This skill takes the time to acquire and happens over several recording sessions but it is an important skill. If you are just using one microphone, then try getting the best from that mic.
Understanding Hardware: There are hundreds of hardware and plugins and using these really depends on the project. In some cases, you might need most of it but mostly, there is hardware you might be used rarely. It's essential to know when to use what and being aware of how to use everything regardless. Having all the gear the world doesn't really make you a sound engineer till you how to use everything and being able to get the fullest out of it when you truly need it.
Problem Solving Abilities: There are so many things that can go wrong in a studio like a computer crashing, issues with the hardware or problems with the mic. Such problems can really affect the session and being able to solve problems fast is essential to further prevent the studio sessions from getting disrupted.
These skills coupled with a good training should help you attain the required knowledge to help you grow as an audio engineer.