If you have an artistic bent and are comfortable with technology, the right education opens up a number of career opportunities in multimedia. Today's consumers demand websites rich with functionality, movies with exciting special effects, and help resources that make technology easier to use. Creating any of these experiences requires employees not only with high-tech know-how, but also with artistic talents and creativity for brainstorming new ideas.
Graphic designers don't just design fliers anymore, although that might be one of your responsibilities if you land this job. They're responsible for creating logos, laying out publications and designing web pages. Many are responsible for making interactive games and engaging animations for company websites. A bachelor's degree in graphic design is required for most entry-level jobs, although an associate's degree may be all you need if you have a bachelor's in another field. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graphic designers earned $48,140 per year in 2010.
Multimedia artists and animators are specialized graphic designers who make motion graphics for movies, video games and commercials. Most need extensive knowledge of 3D animation, drawing and rendering software. If creating video game characters or working on the next 3D blockbuster is your dream, look for a graphic design bachelor's degree that allows you to focus on animation and get the technical skills you need for success in the industry. In 2010, these multimedia experts made $63,440 per year on average.
If you enjoy debugging and designing back-end code, a career as a web programmer or software engineer could be the right fit for you. Web programmers may have some design duties too, but they're generally more concerned with the code that powers games, videos and web interfaces, while designers spearhead the more cosmetic responsibilities. As a software engineer, you'll have more design responsibilities, while programmers write code to match existing design specifications. In 2010, applications software engineers earned $90,410, while programmers took home $74,900. Employees in both professions generally have bachelor's degrees in software engineering or computer science, although coursework and coding experience may be enough to get started as a programmer.
If you're good at explaining things and enjoy communicating with the written word, a career as a technical writer is your multimedia job fit. While superior writing skills are important, technical writers also need to use images, diagrams and videos to explain how to use technical products. Most technical writers have bachelor's degrees in English, communications or a related field. Experience in graphic and web design is also helpful and makes for an easier learning curve on the job. In 2010, technical writers earned $66,240 per year on average.
Camera Operators and Film Editors
If you enjoy making and editing videos, you can find work in entertainment, advertising, or journalism, or even as a freelancer who makes movies documenting weddings and other special events. Most positions in both filming and editing require a bachelor's degree. In college, you learn the technical aspects of operating a camera and editing footage, as well well as the more artistic aspects of filmmaking. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, camera operators earned $48,450 per year on average in 2010. Film editors, who use software to piece the final product together, made $61,890.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010: Graphic Designers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010: Multimedia Artists and Animators
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer Software Engineers and Computer Programmers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010: Software Developers, Applications
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010: Computer Programmers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11: Technical Writer
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010: Technical Writers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Television, Video, and Motion Picture Camera Operators & Editors
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010: Camera Operators
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010: Film and Video Editors
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