|Recommended Degree Level||Bachelor|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||29,270|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||3.1%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||2,140|
What's needed: Most design firms and corporations don't require that multimedia designers have formal training in this field. Instead, they place emphasis on your portfolio of work and your knowledge of specific graphic and multimedia design programs. In some cases, it may be helpful to have a certificate to show that you have been trained in these programs and have demonstrated your competency. If you choose to earn an A.A. or B.A. degree in multimedia design, you'll likely attend an art or technical college that specializes in the creative fields.
What you study:
If you pursue a degree in multimedia design, you'll likely study all of the following:
- Principles of Design
- Computer Illustration
- Vector Illustration
- Interactive Design
- Webpage Design
- Video and Audio Design
A Day in the Life
As a multimedia designer, you'll have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects for clients in many different industries. You will decide if you'd like to work for a design firm, for a large corporation or for yourself as a freelance designer. No matter where you work, you have the freedom to choose the types of projects on which you will work. Today, you've decided to design an interactive menu for a DVD.
If you work for a design firm or a corporation, you check your project schedule first thing in the morning to ensure that you're on schedule to complete your work. You need artwork for your DVD menu, so you take screen shots from the film and edit them in a photo manipulation program. Remember that you have a great deal of creative freedom when working on projects. You can draw the artwork you're going to use throughout the DVD menu by hand, or you can use a computer program to create stunning graphics. It's entirely up to you.
You complete the design of the interactive DVD menu at the end of the day and send screenshots of the project to the client. When you get to work tomorrow morning, you'll check for the client's feedback and will begin to make adjustments to the project to meet client needs. After you've finished the entire menu, you'll send it to your client and ask for confirmation that you've met their needs and expectations.
If you work for yourself as a freelancer, you have a lot of scheduling flexibility while working on this project. You located this DVD client yourself and showed them your portfolio so that they would hire you. Before you began work for the client, you wrote a contract and collected a deposit. Once you've finished with the project, you'll hand it over to the client and will collect the remaining payment that is owed to you.
Certifications and Licensing
No certification is needed in order to work as a multimedia design professional. However, many multimedia designers hold certificates in particular design programs or areas in which they work. The most popular of these certifications are offered by Adobe and cover the programs in the Adobe Creative Suite, which is used by design professionals worldwide.
Full-time versus part-time:
Multimedia designers who work for design firms and corporations may choose to work either full- or part-time schedules. Those individuals who work on a freelance basis tend to work full-time schedules but have greater freedom to take time off.
Many design professionals work from home offices or telecommute for at least part of the workweek. Some designers only work in a firm or corporation's offices when they need access to specific design programs and technologies. The majority of multimedia designers have company-assigned laptops that they can use to complete their work from wherever they'd like.
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for Multimedia Artists and Animators: The Bureau of Labor website provides extensive information about careers in multimedia design. The majority of the information on this site is statistical in nature. Individuals who are interested in careers in multimedia design should visit other websites to get a well-rounded view of work in this field.
- The American Institute of Graphic Arts: AIGA is widely considered the leading organization for design professionals in the Americas. The AIGA website provides career and job boards, information about design competitions and tools for designers working in all mediums. The site is an excellent resource for both beginning and experienced designers.
- Icograda: Also known as the International Council on Communication Design, Icograda is the leading international organization for design professionals. The Icograda website provides design news, a member resource library, information about design seminars and a directory of design professionals. This site is particularly helpful for individuals who are working in multimedia design but wish to learn new skills or seek out positions in new markets.