Should I Become a Multimedia Designer?
Multimedia designers create interactive content using special effects, graphics, audio, video and other electronic tools. They may deliver content for video games, commercials, movies or television shows. This career requires both creativity and knowledge of how to design high-quality products. Multimedia designers often work long weeks, and evenings or weekends might be necessary to meet deadlines.
Multimedia designers typically need a bachelor's degree in multimedia design, graphic design or a related field, though a postsecondary certificate or an associate's degree may be sufficient for some positions. Voluntary certifications are available. Multimedia designers seeking junior-level roles need at least one year of experience, though those seeking more advanced positions typically need three or more years. Multimedia designers need good communication, organizational, project, time-management, presentation, artistic and computer skills. According to 2020 data compiled by PayScale.com, the median annual salary for multimedia designers was $52,666.
Steps to Be a Multimedia Designer
Step 1: Earn a Certificate
Although a degree is often needed to work in this field, some entry-level positions in multimedia design may only require training in specific computer programs. Certificate programs provide instruction in using software programs, such as Adobe After Effects, Premier Pro and Photoshop. Students in these programs learn how to edit for video and sound, create storyboards and produce motion graphics. Programs may include hands-on projects to supplement classroom lectures. Some programs are available online.
During their studies, students should consider creating a portfolio of their work. A portfolio of completed work can be helpful when searching for a job because it allows candidates to display the talents they've acquired while in school.
Step 2: Earn a Degree
Employers typically require that candidates have an associate's or bachelor's degree in multimedia design or a related field. Students in an associate's degree program take courses in Web and multimedia authoring, media graphics, photography and multimedia production. They may also be able to complete cooperative work experiences. Bachelor's degree programs are available in multimedia design, computer science, graphic design, digital art and other related fields. Classes in these programs teach students how to utilize digital video and photography equipment, create electronic graphics, master editing software, and use text and audio to communicate ideas.
Many colleges offer or require students in bachelor's degree programs to complete an internship or cooperative work experience. This requirement allows students to further develop their portfolios through real-work experiences, and also allows them to network with professionals in the field.
Step 3: Gain Experience
Most employers seek multimedia designers with demonstrated talents in a particular field, and often require examples of previous academic or professional work. Individuals can also obtain experience by volunteering their services.
Once employed, either for pay or through volunteer work, adding examples to a portfolio helps a multimedia designer show advancing skills in the workplace. Being able to demonstrate advanced skills in specific software, technology, artistic ability and design concepts can help advance an individual's career in multimedia design.
Step 4: Consider Software Certification for Career Advancement
As multimedia designers progress in their careers, employers expect candidates to have advanced knowledge of software programs used for illustration and video editing. Designers can demonstrate their proficiency in using various multimedia programs through certification with a software developer. These include the Apple Certified Pro credential in Final Cut Pro X and the Adobe Certified Expert designation in After Flash CC.
With technology and media constantly changing, designers need to stay current on developments in their field. Graduate certificate programs or continuing education courses in areas like 3-D animation and digital video can help professionals remain sharp on specialized skills needed for career advancement.
Multimedia designers typically need a portfolio of work samples as well as an associate or a bachelor's degree in graphic design or multimedia design, though a certificate might also be sufficient.