What Do I Need in Addition to My Degree?

Developing a strong portfolio that demonstrates a variety of your best work is important when beginning your career. Your portfolio can include samples of work from your degree program as well as from an internship or work-study program. You may also consider obtaining certification in a computer software program that is commonly used in the industry, such as Adobe Flash or Photoshop. Certification is a good way to enhance your skills and expertise in a particular area of digital media. Continuing education is also important to stay current on new technologies, maintain clients and advance within the industry.

What Is the Job Outlook like?

Individuals in digital media should enjoy good job prospects, particularly those in the motion picture and video industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the motion picture and video industries is expected to rise 14% over the period 2008-2018, which is just above the average for all industries (www.bls.gov). In addition, individuals in multimedia art, digital filming, animation and computer imaging may have the best opportunities. An increasing demand for multimedia artwork is expected to drive job growth, such as for 3-dimensional videos, advanced special effects and more sophisticated video games. Expanding mobile technologies will also contribute to job growth.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

Your salary will vary according to your level of experience, type of work and industry. The BLS reports that the median annual wages of multimedia artists and animators were $58,250 in May 2009 (www.bls.gov). In addition, the median annual wages of graphic designers were $43,180, also in May 2009. Multimedia artists working in technical and trade schools, as well as in the motion picture and video industries, earned the highest salaries. Larger companies and firms typically offer benefits that can include profit sharing in addition to base salaries. Many film production companies and television networks require employees to be hired under union contracts, although nonunion workers may be hired short term or for special needs.