Digital media specialists develop content for use within multimedia platforms. Some digital media specialists start their career with an associate's degree or certificate; a bachelor's degree is more common. Knowledge of design software is usually required.
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 (2014-2024)*||6% (Multimedia artists and animators)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$63,970 (Multimedia artists and animators)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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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.
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 2015, the median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators was $63,970. The top 10% of earners made $113,600 or more per year. The BLS projected that employment in the sector would grow by about six percent from 2014-2024.
Digital media specialists use design software such as Dreamweaver, Flash, and InDesign to produce content for video games and websites. Individuals with an associate's degree or certificate can begin a career in digital media, but a bachelor's degree is more common. Those in the top 10% earned an annual salary of $113,600 or more in 2015.