Become an Interactive Designer: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Aug 15, 2018

Research the requirements to become an interactive designer. Learn about the job description and duties, and explore the step-by-step process to start a career in interactive design.

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Could I Be an Interactive Designer?

Interactive designers create and produce digital solutions for multimedia, such as cell phone applications, video clips, and websites. They apply evolving technology while using their creativity and imagination to conceptualize end results. Graphic designers produce similar work, and these positions may overlap. Designers may be employed full-time by companies or work as self-employed freelance professionals from the comfort of their homes. They spend many hours in an office environment seated behind a computer. Freelance designers must constantly be on the look-out for new assignments.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Graphic design, multimedia design, digital design, or visual arts
Experience 3-7 years of software program and design experience
Key Skills Creativity; expertise in graphic design for both print and digital media; ability to conceptualize designs; ability to demonstrate marketing, communication, and copy editing skills; proficiency with a range of computer software, including Adobe Creative Suite, HTML, CSS, Microsoft Office, and Flash in addition to applications for social media, websites, and animation
Median Salary (2015) $46,900 (for all graphic designers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps for Interactive Designers

What steps should I take to be an interactive designer?

Step 1: Finish a Certificate or Associate's Degree Program

An aspiring interactive designer can begin his or her educational experience by enrolling in a certificate or associate's degree program at a community college or vocational school. Colleges offer certificate programs in areas like web and interactive design. The required courses in these programs may qualify for college credit towards a degree while providing foundational skills in design. Associate's degree programs in interactive design also provide these skills, and both of these options typically include portfolio development.

Step 2: Build a Portfolio

Many programs integrate portfolio development with coursework. If they don't, it's still important to develop a portfolio with strong examples of work. This can help potential interactive designers demonstrate their skills to potential employers, and portfolios are often an essential factor in obtaining employment, according to the BLS.

Step 3: Apply for an Entry-Level Job While in School

With some schooling and training, aspiring interactive designers can apply for entry-levels positions. Some companies hire junior interactive designers with minimal or no degree expectations.

Step 4: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program

Employers increasingly seek applicants who possess 4-year bachelor's degrees with emphasis in advertising, graphic design, or a related field. Colleges or universities may offer degrees specifically focusing on interactive design, such as the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Interactive Media Design. General education requirements are a part of these degree programs, along with technical classes, like graphic, web, and interactive design fundamentals. Post-baccalaureate certificate programs are also available in interactive design.

Step 5: Obtain Employment

As of 2015, the BLS recommended prospective interactive designers have bachelor's degrees along with technical skills and portfolios displaying their talents. Experience may be required in flash, HTML, and Photoshop. Advertising agencies and businesses that specialize in animation or website design commonly hire interactive designers.

Interactive designers create and produce digital artwork for multimedia. They are expected to be creative with college degrees and professional proficiency in a range of graphics programs. And, they earn a median annual salary of $46,900.

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