Creative careers are those in which a person utilizes their imagination in the creation of a product. These careers are traditionally thought of to be those involved with print, video, and recording media, such as writers and artists, but they can also involve marketing and other fields. They are also typically characterized as difficult to break into, achieve success, and earn a living. In the past three decades, however, technological innovations like the Internet have created entirely new forms of media and opportunities for creative professionals to make higher salaries. The increase in virtual use of products due to the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for these professionals. These three careers blend art and science and have some of the highest projected job growth within the next decade.
1. UI/UX Designer
User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers are sometimes used synonymously but have some slight differences. UI designers focus on the visual aspect and user-friendliness of websites, apps, and other digital content. They design content completely from scratch and must have knowledge of artistic composition, color schemes, typography, graphic design, and editing software such as Photoshop and InDesign.
On the other hand, UX designers focus on user engagement, rather than usability. UI design is usually an aspect of UX design and UX designers must be able to utilize those skills as well. They help conduct user research and testing and are involved throughout the website or app’s design process. They are responsible for customer satisfaction and brand loyalty for the company they work for. To do this, they must be able to anticipate the wants of the company’s target users and have critical thinking skills in visual and interaction design, information architecture, conduction of research, psychology, and software such as InVision, Sketch, and Balsamiq.
People who take jobs in UI and UX are highly logical, detail-oriented, organized, collaborative, and good communicators, in addition to creative. UI and UX design is a conversion career, as the myriad of skills used in UI and UX design can come from existing careers, such as graphic design or journalism. Designers tend to make between $50k and $110k a year (with average salaries being about $70k/year and $98k/year respectively). Directors oversee a team of UI and UX designers and make even more, with an average salary of about $130k/year. UX designers also work with UX researchers, who design, conduct, and analyze experiments in user research. Researchers need strong analytical and research skills. They make about $89k/year. According to LinkedIn, in 2020, UX design was one of the top five in-demand skills. In 2021, UX will become a Google ranking factor, and the demand for these designers will continue to increase (22% job increase through 2030, according to CNN), pushing up salaries.
2. Web Developer
Web developers implement UX design for their employers or clients by creating and maintaining websites, as well as assisting with design and other aspects that impact website performance. Mastery of programming languages is indispensable in the industry and knowledge of content management systems such as Wordpress and software such as Adobe Creative Suite are also important. Employers can be found in the systems design services, publishing, consulting, and marketing industries, and they look for applicants with at least associate's degrees. Web developers have an average salary of about $80k and job growth is predicted to be 27% through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
3. Digital Strategist
On the day to day, digital strategists help manage their company’s digital content according to the company’s business goals. They work with social media and other digital marketing platforms to create and analyze the outcome of digital marketing campaigns. Responsible for every aspect of these campaigns, from planning, scoping, scheduling, budgeting, and implementation, strategists also present these plans and the outcomes of their campaigns in a way their employer understands. They must be able to adapt their campaigns to changing data on effectiveness using critical thinking skills and work alongside UI and UX designers to help generate user engagement and awareness. They also must have strong analytical, communications, writing, marketing, and more specifically, customer relationship management skills, as well as knowledge of SEO. Employers typically value applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree and majors in marketing, communication or business. Their average salary is about $90k, and they can eventually become marketing managers to earn more money. Available jobs are predicted to grow by 20% through 2028.
Although creative jobs are not thought to be particularly lucrative careers, and the technology industry is not thought to be the typical place for creative careers, these three jobs prove that the technology industry is producing highly rewarding careers for people looking to tap into their more imaginative side in their day to day life.
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