Digital Design Degree

Digital designers create and edit multimedia and graphics projects. The word “digital” refers to the fact that these designers work primarily with computer-based programs rather than traditional storyboards or sketches. In fact, many of today’s digital designers work with both 2D and 3D animations or models for clients who want to create video games, develop websites or phone applications, or produce printed matter for advertising.

What Do Digital Designers Do?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists job duties for multimedia artists or digital designers as including:

  • Using computer programs to create animation, graphics, and images
  • Work as part of a team to create or develop a project such as a video game or movie
  • Conduct research for upcoming projects to ensure accuracy and realistic content
  • Digitally develop storyboards through computer graphics and animation
  • Edit digital creations based on input and feedback from team members and clients

Clearly, a digital designer’s job is not just about “drawing.” A digital designer must also be able to work as part of a team to visualize and create quality projects for clients.

What Type of Degree Does a Digital Designer Have?

Digital designers must be fluent in a number of computer programs to do their jobs adequately. At a minimum, digital designers should understand programs like Java, Adobe Illustrator, script language, and markup language. Many digital designers acquire these skills on the job, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that a degree is not required for all jobs. However, to secure the best positions, many digital designers take a Bachelor’s of Science in computer graphics or digital art. These degrees are the most suitable to teach the skills needed by a computer designer, although other degrees such as business may also be pertinent, especially for digital designers working in advertising and sales.

Most digital designers develop a portfolio of previous work and projects as a standard resource to show potential employers and clients. This portfolio is more often digital than concrete, as this format allows easy exchange of files that the designer has created. A digital designer can email samples of work to clients or employers to show his or her abilities.

What Do Digital Designers Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, multimedia artists enjoyed a median annual salary of $58,510 in May, 2010. The best-paid digital designers work in the motion picture and video industries. These artists typically earn a median salary of $66,190, while those working in the software industries earn $65,290, those in the computer design field earn $56,000, and those working with advertising or public relations earn $55,890.

Digital designers do not necessarily work 40 hours per week. Often, as deadlines approach, these workers may find themselves working 50 or more hours a week to finish projects for clients or to meet with team members who are working on others parts of these projects.

What Is the Job Outlook for Digital Designers?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the job growth rate for multimedia artists is predicted to be eight percent between 2010 and 2020, lower than average for most jobs. Digital designers can increase their chances for a good job by diversifying their degrees to include other skills such as business management, communications, or human resource management.

Digital design is an exciting field for people who like to create new images and animations and who want to work as part of a team to develop cutting-edge projects for use in videos and computer programs.

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