Digital Communications Careers

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in digital communications. Read on to learn more about career options along with education requirements and salary information. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is Digital Communications?

Digital communications refers to the ways in which people communicate through a digital medium. Careers in digital communications can be found in the areas of design, video, animation, broadcasting, and writing. Three such examples include graphic designers, digital media writers, and web designers. Graphic designers plan the look of digital media. They design visual elements with the goal of conveying a message to the audience. Digital media writers publish content for online publications. They are often responsible for researching to find stories of interest and fact checking what they write. Web designers create websites through coding (such as HTML), using text and graphics in an appealing and informative way based on the client's desired use for the site.

The table below outlines the general requirements for these career options.

Graphic Designers Digital Media Writers Web Designers
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Associate's degree
Education Field of Study Graphic design English, journalism, communications Web design
Key Responsibilities Create effective digital messages, develop layout design for media, advise clients on how to reach desired audience Develop written material for online publications, choose material that interests readers, conduct research to find factual information Create website design, integrate graphics, write HTML code
Job Growth (2014-2024) 1%* 2% (for all writers and authors)* 27% (for all web developers)*
Median Salary (2015) $46,900* $60,250 (for all writers and authors)* $48,474**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com (2016)

What Education Will I Need to Obtain a Career in Digital Communications?

In order to begin a career in digital communications, you should obtain at least a 2- or 4-year degree. Your specific education and training requirements will vary, depending on which area in which you're most interested. However, many colleges and universities offer associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees in digital communications with several concentration options. This allows you to enroll in a more general program and decide on a focus at a later time. Common course subjects that may be explored include these:

  • Multimedia graphic design
  • Digital video production
  • Writing for digital media
  • Computer graphics and animation
  • Web authoring

What Career Opportunities Exist?

Digital communications is a broad term that encompasses Web and graphic design, computer animation, video production, writing for online media and more. Because of this, several career opportunities exist within a variety of specialties. One popular digital communications career is graphic design. If you choose this role, you'll focus primarily on creating effective digital messages through logos, websites, and illustrations using appropriate typeface, color, and design principles.

Another career option is Web design and development. In this role, your duties could include creating Web pages and layouts through the use of popular software programs, writing hypertext markup language (HTML) code, and incorporating appropriate graphics. Finally, although several additional options exist, you may choose a career in writing for digital media. In this position, you may collaborate with graphic and Web designers to create the content for online communications materials. Your content may be utilized on a company website, online blogs, social media pages, and more.

How Much Could I Expect to Earn?

Compensation in a digital communications career is dependent upon specialty, location, and experience level. In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for graphic designers was $46,900. However, this includes the pay rate for print graphic designers as well, so wages may differ for digital designers specifically (www.bls.gov). For writers and authors, the BLS reported the median annual salary at $60,250 in May 2015. This also includes pay rate for writers of print, online, and other written media.

According to October 2016 reports on Payscale.com, the 10th to 90th percentile salary range for online marketing content writers was $34,327-$64,776, so this may be more applicable to those in digital communications. Finally, October 2016 reports on Payscale.com showed 10th to 90th percentile salary range for Web designers at $33,764-$72,622. However, compensation in this field may increase significantly with years of experience and additional training in Web development.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Art directors establish a cohesive visual style in the media they take part in creating, ensuring that all aspects of their work are aesthetically pleasing in a way that fits together seamlessly. Computer programmers write and edit code for software and computer applications. Editors check the work writers submit to them for grammatical, spelling, and content errors. They may also be responsible for planning publication content. All of these positions typically require a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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