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What Is a Creative Technologist?
The field of creative technology is relatively new, but one that is becoming more popular within a growing range of organizations, from software developers to ad agencies. Job requirements vary from company to company, but generally, creative technologists generate ideas that make a user experience (UX) more appealing, solve a problem, market a brand, create a new interactive experience, and so on. Just as important as these creative ideas is the technical know-how to bring them to life. Some positions are weighted more heavily toward the creative side, while others require a strong technical background.
A good creative technologist has a solid understanding of the relationship between technology and design, coupled with demonstrable experience with relevant software and processes. As a creative technologist, you may find yourself deploying your practical coding skills to prototype a new UX wireframe for a client, and then using your creative know-how to oversee the building of the final product. You should be unafraid to take risks, explore new technologies and assert your own ideas while working comfortably with the rest of your team, other departments and clients.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's or master's degree, especially in interactive design, computer science, fine/media arts or a related field|
|Median Salary (2019)*||$61,754 (for digital project managers)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)**||9% (all other computer occupations)|
Source: * Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A bachelor's or master's degree is a common requirement, often in a subject such as interactive design, computer science, or digital art. Interestingly, a job opening for a creative technologist may not specify a required degree level or subject. In many cases, having proven work experience in the field and/or a solid portfolio is more important to a company than what you majored in. Companies often want to see how well you can utilize the latest technologies to code and create.
In general, this is a flexible role that bridges design and technology, so a creative technologist needs to be very skilled in both realms. Generally, the creative technologist will serve as a translator for an organization's vision and goals, using his or her creativity and practical skills to prototype new webpage designs, user interface (UI) or user experience frameworks, applications and other such projects. As such, strong software/web development skills are essential as the brainstorming and testing phases can be very fast-paced. A creative technologist must be comfortable with taking risks, presenting new ideas and handling failure. He or she may also serve as a manager of one or many projects, overseeing all tasks from idea generation to early troubleshooting to final implementation. This requires excellent communication and teamwork skills, and the ability to apportion one's time effectively.
Career Outlook and Salary
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not yet have information specific to creative technologists, as it is a relatively new field. However, employment opportunities for computer-related occupations that are not otherwise broken out by field are expected to grow 9% from 2016 to 2026, slightly faster than the average for all occupations (7%). Likewise, Payscale.com reports that digital project managers (a similar position) can expect to make a median salary of $61,754 a year as of 2019.
The following careers are related to that of creative technology. You may explore them using the links below.