Computer Graphics Designer: Job Duties & Career Requirements

Learn about the duties of computer graphics designers and the education that designers typically have. Get information on the job outlook and salary potential. See details on alternative career options as well.

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Career Information for a Computer Graphics Designer

Computer graphics designers use their creativity and technical skills to create graphic designs that visually represent a design concept. The computer software applications used by computer graphics designers help them create interactive web platforms, computer animation, product packaging, books, magazines and a variety of other products. Specific career options for a computer graphics designer include web designer, animator, computer graphics design instructor, interactive graphics artist and retail display artist.

Education Typically, a bachelor's degree in computer graphics design is required, but it may be possible to enter the field with an associate's degree or certificate in computer graphics design
Job Skills Creativity, analytical skills, attention to detail, ability to work under pressure and knowledge of graphics software programs
Median Salary (May 2017)* $48,700 (all graphic designers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 4% (all graphic designers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Required Education

A 4-year bachelor's degree program in computer graphics design generally includes classes in graphic design, animation, logo design, multimedia design and drafting. Bachelor's degree programs are available through colleges, universities and design schools across the country. It may be possible to enter into the computer graphics design field with only a 2-year degree or certificate in computer graphics design.

Job Skills

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in addition to a bachelor's degree in computer graphics design, graphics designers need to be creative, be analytical, have an eye for detail and have the ability to work under pressure. Knowledge of graphics software programs and the ability to operate printers, scanners and other computer equipment is essential.

Career and Economic Outlook

Graphic design is a field whose BLS-projected growth will vary by industry. Overall growth is projected at 4% during the 2016-2026 decade. The BLS expects a steep decline in publishing and significant growth, 20%, in computer systems design and related services. In general, businesses are interested in promoting themselves via the Internet, so website work should be available to graphic designers. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for graphic designers was $48,700 in May 2017 (www.bls.gov).

Alternative Career Options

Multimedia Artist and Animator

Like computer graphics designers, these workers create graphics using computer software; however, multimedia artists and animators develop animations for various mediums and are often part of a design team that creates storyboards for clients. While a degree may not be necessary, these professionals often pursue a bachelor's degree. An 8% employment growth was projected between 2016 and 2026, based on BLS information. In 2017, multimedia artists and animators earned a median income of $70,530 per year.

Desktop Publisher

May 2017 salary data from the BLS showed that desktop publishers earned a median annual income of $42,350. In terms of education, desktop publishers usually only have an associate's degree in a design-related field. Similar to multimedia artists and animators and graphic designers, desktop publishers use software programs to design graphics, but it's usually for newspapers, magazines and books. A 14% decline in employment was estimated for the 2016-2026 reporting period, according to the BLS.

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