Today's technology users prefer a more involved tech experience, so interactive media specialists use their knowledge of graphic design and computers to design more in-depth experiences. There are many alternative job titles for interactive media specialists, depending on their area of expertise. Most professionals hold undergraduate degrees in fields related to computer science, web design, art, or graphics.
Interactive media specialists design web pages and other interactive computer applications for use in many different settings. Education requirements vary, but education in aspects of graphic design and in specific programs and programming languages is common.
|Required Education||Associate's or bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training or previous experience in specific software programs|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)|| 6%* (for multimedia artists and animators)
27%* (for web developers)
|Median Annual Salary (2015)|| $63,970* (for multimedia artists and animators)
$64,970* (for web developers)
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description for an Interactive Media Specialist
Interactive media specialists are professionals who are sufficiently knowledgeable in both graphical communication and computer programming to create media that responds to input and interacts with users. Often, interactive media designers are employed in a web-related context, using programming languages and design programs usually employed in website design to complete their work.
Interactive media specialists may be employed by many different companies to create projects that range from online interactive experiences, such as working with museums to create online exhibits, to projects like interactive surveys. Common job duties include developing new design tools and creating graphical interfaces. Other tasks these specialists commonly perform include participating in quality assurance testing, maintaining existing applications and researching new technologies and methods.
Education and Career Requirements for an Interactive Media Specialist
Education requirements for interactive media specialists depend on employer requirements. Often, employers prefer applicants to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related area. Some entry-level positions may not require a college degree, however.
Common courses available for prospective interactive media specialists include business, marketing, video production and computer graphics. Other classes commonly offered include web development, writing for electronic media, vector illustration and 3D modeling. Some programs emphasize the software programs or programming languages that interactive media specialists will use.
Some employers require prospective hires to have a minimum amount of experience in design or a related field, plus minimum amounts of experience in the specific programs they will use. Other technical requirements might include specific programming languages such as Java, Flash Actionscript or XML. Design competencies may vary, but demonstrable web design experience may be a common requirement.
Job Outlook and Salary
Multimedia artists and graphic designers are both professionals who are responsible for designing images with computer technology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), multimedia artists are expected to see an average rate of growth in employment of 6% from 2014 to 2024, while graphic designers are expected to see a much slower rate of growth of only 1%. As of May 2015, multimedia artists earned a median annual salary of $63,970, according to the BLS, while graphic designers earned $46,900.
Web developers are professionals who modify websites, including elements like graphics, audio and overall performance. According to the BLS, web developers were expected to see a 27% increase in employment from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. As of May 2015, web developers earned a median annual salary of $64,970, according to the BLS.
Interactive media specialists may be referred to by other job titles, including web developers, graphic designers, and multimedia artists. Essentially, these professionals create visual graphics, images, and interactive components for websites, movies, and television, and primarily gain their training from undergraduate degree programs. The BLS predicts slow to average rates of job growth during the 2014-2024 decade for graphic designers and multimedia artists, whereas web developers, who may have additional job duties, can expect a 27% rate of job growth during the same decade.