Digital Media Designer: Career and Salary Facts

Digital media designers work with computers to create visual art for a variety of applications. Learn about the job duties, training requirements, necessary skills and employment options for the digital media design field. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Digital Media Designer?

Digital media designers work in a variety of mediums. You could be doing storyboards for movies, background layouts for Saturday morning cartoons, or full commercials selling a company's product. Using skills in animation, website design, and video production, digital media designers create things that move onscreen. You could develop visual design and animation for computers, Web pages, mobile devices and digital videos. Your tools can include a variety of software programs, such as Adobe Dreamweaver. Some industries that hire digital media designers are film, television, video games, online businesses and advertising.

You may refer to the table below for further details such as the salary and job prospects of digital media designers.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree common
Key Skills Communication, computer, video creativity, and visual art skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% for multimedia artists and animators*
Median Salary (2015) $63,970 for multimedia artists and animators*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Can I Become a Digital Media Designer?

You might consider earning a bachelor's degree in graphic design or animation; however, 4-year programs also exist specifically in digital media design. No matter your major, you'll need a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify. Most bachelor's degree programs in digital media design combine coursework with real-world experience. You can expect to learn about image design and manipulation, 3-D modeling, digital video editing, Web design and website maintenance.

Some programs require you to submit a senior project, which you can put into your portfolio as a sample of your work. It demonstrates your abilities to potential employers. If you wish to continue your education, you may pursue a master's degree program in digital media, graphic design or animation-related topic.

What Skills Do I Need?

In order to excel as a digital media designer, you'll need to become proficient with a number of software programs and codes. For interactive Web design, you may want to become fluent in some programming languages, like Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML). Most Web-based animation is created using Adobe Flash. You will also become familiar with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. You may also want to be comfortable using both Windows and Macintosh computer systems.

What Jobs Will Be Available to Me?

Many job options should be available to you as a digital media designer. The video game, animation, film, television and Web industries have a need for digital special effects, due to consumer demand. Other, newer industries, such as mobile technology and application development, continue to grow as well. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2015, multimedia artists and animators in the 25th to 75th percentile range earned between $47,660 and $88,190 annually.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Being a web developer could be a related career that only requires an associate's degree. In this profession, you would be building layouts and artwork for websites in support of a company or individual. However, if you secure a bachelor's degree you could find employment as a graphic designer and use computer programs to create digital products. Another alternative would be to work as computer programmers. These professionals need to be able to write code. In addition, they also monitor programs and software or create instructions for clients and users to simplify instructions involving computer programs. Lastly, being an art director can also be a possible option. A career in this field will allow you to work with the newspaper, magazine, stage, and the television industry. Art projects would typically utilize digital art creation, page layouts, and original animation. Individuals interested in the latter two positions generally need a college bachelor's to start their careers.

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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