Digital Media Specialist: Career and Salary Information

A digital media specialist requires little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and skills required to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

A digital media specialist uses design skills and technology to produce content used in video games and on websites, as well as audio content, special effects, and animation. A person can obtain entry-level employment in this field with a certificate or associate's degree, though earning a bachelor's degree is the most common academic path. In addition, an entry-level worker should have good computer troubleshooting skills and be familiar with software programs, such as Dreamweaver, Flash, and InDesign.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Familiarity with design software
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 6% (Multimedia Artists and Animators)
Median Salary (2013)* $64,470 (Multimedia Artists and Animators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Digital Media Specialists

Individuals may follow several different paths to acquire training as digital media specialists. Certificates and associate's degrees in the field can be earned in two years or less and may prepare graduates for entry-level positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests at least a bachelor's degree in this field because of the amount of technical knowledge required (www.bls.gov). Those who obtain at least a bachelor's degree may be qualified for supervisory or leadership roles in the industry.

Entry Level Jobs

Graduates of associate degree or certificate programs in digital media often begin their careers as part of team and may work on the production of independent television programs, commercials, music videos, e-books, computer games, or documentaries. They usually work behind the scenes in these enterprises and may be responsible for lighting, editing, or animating a project. Job titles for associate's degree holders may include multimedia production technician, animation technician, or digital media developer.

Because of the teamwork required in these positions, digital media specialists must be able to follow directions exactly, communicate with their peers and meet the needs of clients. Entry-level workers are expected to have good computer troubleshooting skills and should be familiar with commonly used software programs such as Dreamweaver, Flash, InDesign, and others.

Supervisory Roles

Workers with experience in the field and a bachelor's degree may become team leaders in digital media. They may work for digital media firms that use video, animation, print, Internet, and multimedia technology to increase sales or spread a corporate message. They may hold job titles such as scheduler, planner, customer service representative, or designer.

Both non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses use digital media specialists to communicate with the public. Degree holders may be responsible for a company's social media presence and must be able to manage content on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. They may also produce Web content including blogs, video clips, and more. Experience with QuarkXPress, Photoshop, WordPress, HTML, and CSS is desirable.

Those who acquire master's degrees in digital media may use a variety of previously unrelated disciplines to solve complex problems in the business world. They often lead a team of workers with a broad range of skills and should have an understanding of design principles, computer science, mass communications, and more.

Salary Information and Job Outlook for Digital Media Specialists

The BLS classifies digital media specialists as multimedia artists and animators. In May 2013, the median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators was $64,470. The top 10% of earners made $118,890 or more per year. The BLS projected that employment in the sector would grow by about six percent from 2012-2022.

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