Job Description:

DJs play music for audiences at venues, or on the radio.

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

You’ll use various formats like vinyl, CD or MP3. You’ll also usually 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. 

You could:

  • 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 and prepare playlists for future shows

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.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a DJ does not require specific GCSE subjects, as it is a profession that relies more on practical skills, passion, and experience than formal academic qualifications. However, having a strong foundation in certain areas can be beneficial for aspiring DJs. Here are some relevant subjects and skills that can help you on your path to becoming a DJ:

  1. Music: A solid understanding of music theory, genres, and the ability to appreciate various musical styles is crucial. This can help you create well-structured and appealing DJ sets.
  2. Computer Science: Familiarity with audio editing software and DJ software is important, as many DJs use digital tools to mix and manipulate tracks.
  3. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills can be helpful for understanding tempo, beats per minute (BPM), and rhythm, which are important aspects of DJing.
  4. Art and Design: Creative skills can be beneficial for designing promotional materials, logos, and visuals for your brand as a DJ.
  5. Communication Skills: Strong communication skills are important for interacting with clients, event organizers, and the audience. You’ll need to effectively convey your style and approach as a DJ.
  6. Entrepreneurship and Business: Knowledge of business concepts and marketing can be valuable if you plan to work as a professional DJ and manage your own career.
  7. Event Planning: Understanding the basics of event planning can help you organize and promote your own DJ gigs and performances.

Post School

There are no set entry requirements, 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’ll also need:

  • to develop your own style as a DJ, based on your personality
  • practical experience of using music software, mixers and other equipment
  • to make contacts in the industry

You could make contacts and get experience by:

  • working on internet, 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
  • posting mixes to online video and music streaming sites to get noticed

You could also:

  • do a course in DJ skills or in sound and music technology
  • get work experience through the BBC Work Experience Scheme, RadioCentre (for commercial radio), or by contacting broadcasters to ask for opportunities

The Community Media Association and Hospital Broadcasting Association have more information on volunteering opportunities and how to become a DJ.

Working Hours and Environment:

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.

Career Path & Progression:

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.