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What Does a Mac Operator Do?

By Angela Farrer
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A Mac operator typically works in media occupations such as print or web graphic design, digital photography, animation, or advertising. Many Mac operator jobs can be found in print media and require the use of specialized software for creating projects according to client specifications. Some Mac operators work as employees of print shops, advertising companies, or photography studios. Others may offer their skills on a freelance basis. The typical Mac operator job description lists responsibilities such as editing artwork colors, creating quality prints of various sizes, and organizing digital art files into proofs or contact sheets.

The typical Mac operator job position requires the ability to navigate this particular operating system quickly and efficiently. The ability to perform basic software installations and upgrades is often a plus as well. Qualified Mac operators also have advanced software skills in industry-standard digital design software. These comprehensive programs can typically be learned through self-study or through community college courses. Many Mac operators have at least one vendor certification in image editing, illustration, or page layout software that indicates a high level of competence to potential employers.

Some prepress Mac operators may also perform computer to plate (CTP) imaging tasks. This job duty involves transferring a digital image file to a printing plate for processing a high-quality finished proof in an image-setting machine. To create professional results, a Mac operator needs to be able to select the optimal settings in both the image-setter and in the associated page layout or image editing software. Different projects typically require specific resolution settings and color calibrations that affect the final product.

A Mac operator who works as a paid employee often works with a team of other workers to create finished orders to be delivered by an assigned deadline. Good interpersonal skills and the ability to delegate tasks are beneficial in this type of environment. Some Mac operators are also responsible for generating and following up on sales leads. This component of the job is particularly important for Mac operators who do freelance work.

Freelance Mac operators frequently work as their own advertisers in addition to creating digital artwork and other types of printed materials. They are usually responsible for finding their own clients and for meeting their own assigned deadlines with quality work. In order to stay competitive, a Mac operator who works as a freelancer normally needs to have high degrees of proficiency in each part of the design process from start to finish.

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