Seven Slick Digital Art Careers
Computers are great.
I hate computers. I’m an artist. A purist.
That’s cool. Do you work in just one medium?
Oh, no! I love oil and pastel and charcoal. I even do some photography!
You know, a computer is just another medium, just another brush in your kit. Digital artwork isn’t better than traditional art. Bob Ross (who studied as a traditional artist) didn’t think his style of artwork was better than traditional art. And even though a lot of “real” artists looked down on Bob Ross, he did what he did because he believed anyone could create art if they employed his method.
What does Bob Ross have to do with digital art?
Nothing, really, but by analogy—everything. Bob Ross could have spent his life making and teaching in the traditional styles, but instead, he found a way to get his art and style in front of countless millions. That’s what digital art is.
It’s not better, it’s just—everywhere. And being everywhere doesn’t cheapen it. But it does mean that when someone does something that stands out from the masses of people doing it, something truly innovative, people really take notice.
The internet has changed things. The days of the starving artists are still around, but the starving digital artists…they may be a bit harder to find.
And so, if you will, consider the following list of top careers in the digital arts.
Top 7 Careers in the Digital Arts—List and Overview
- Graphic/Digital Designer
- Game Art and Animation Artist
- Web Developer and Designer
- Digital Videographer, Editor, and Producer
- Art Director
- Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager
- Director of Marketing to Chief Marketing Officer
Now, not all of these occupations are deeply involved with the creation of NFTs, but they all have their place in the expanding digital art world. Some of these positions can be freelance and some are on the corporate side. It just goes to show that being in the digital art world is a bit different from being in traditional art. You’ll use all the same colors and theory, and more to create masterpieces or be a part of teams that create works of art, but there’s expansively more room to maneuver in the digital world.
$65,281 average annual salary (Glassdoor)
Logos have been around for hundreds of years. Once upon a time, the blacksmith who specialized in the farrier side smithing might have a horseshoe painted on a swinging sign outside of his/her forge. This may have been more of a necessity back then when so few could read, but the trend has persisted for a very simple reason—one that you as an artist can easily understand—people like looking at pretty things.
As a graphic designer (or digital designer) you will help make pretty things for people to look at that are company or product-specific. The iconic Apple computers logo? Someone designed it. The wrapper of your Snickers bar? Someone designed it. The packaging for every toy ever made. Someone designed it.
This is just a sample of what the graphic designer does. But how do they do these things? By either working in a company or for a company. Working for a company has certain benefits like healthcare, 401k, dental, vision, free lunches, unlimited PTO, and more while working freelance can allow more freedom and flexibility.
Speaking of being flexible, even though the salary and growth rate for this career isn't expected as high as some of the others (3% according to BLS). Therefore, picking a quality school and innovative degree program can really set a student apart from the crowd.
With UAT's Advertising Art degree program, graduates will be prepared to take positions related to the fast-paced fields of digital marketing and graphic design where they can help organizations enhance customer acquisition and retention through engaging and visual content.
Plus, by attending UAT, you have an open curriculum and can take classes outside of your major to become exposed to other areas of technology like virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, gaming, cyber security, and more. While earning your degree, you'll also discover and make your own claim to innovation. Regardless, being able to understand on more than a superficial level what these technical industries do will further your chances of landing at an amazing tech company startup or having them as incredibly cool clients.
Game Art and Animation Artist
$78,790 annual salary with 16% growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Star Wars changed the world. There, I said it. Yeah, Lucas took inspiration from Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress and probably some thematic elements from Frank Hebert’s Dune, but he still changed the world. How? Because of his awesome storytelling? Well, yeah, but also because of his special effects.
The special effects Lucas used in 1977 were unknown to the cinematic world. It was the first real special effects spectacular and countless movies have followed in that wake showing their own sci-fi eye candy.
A career in game art and animation artist falls squarely in this world. Anakin Skywalker doesn’t actually fly a Naboo fighter in Episode 1. There’s a boy in a green screen room and the animators take care of the rest.
And when it comes time to monetize the story even further and they make the LEGO video game version and add Boba Fett to Fortnite, who do you think they use? Game artists.
For those willing to take the plunge, for those who are creative and fearless, it’s a great time to be in the fantasy and gaming art. UAT can help you get there with their Game Art and Animation degree. Check it out. What cooler way for your artwork to be seen all over the world?
Web Developer and Designer
$77,200 annual salary with 13% growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Web Developer/Designer can fall into a couple of different categories. There is the tech-heavy side where the individual knows the code and builds the actual website or code surrounding the website.
Then there’s the artistic side that crafts the website (having a firm grasp of at least Java) to make the website design more attractive and easier to use. These are the individuals who focus on the User Interface and User Experience.
With UAT’s Digital Marketing degree, you could easily find yourself on the promotional side, or the more artistic side of web development and designing after mastering the skill through UAT's web design interface courses. And the nice thing about UAT is that when you go for this degree, UAT being a technical school, you can easily grab some additional technical classes to supplement your knowledge. Heck, you could get really ambitious and graduate with two or three degrees. One in Digital Marketing and the other in Advertising Art or even Business Technology or Advancing Computer Science. After that, you open up your one-stop website creation and design agency and slowly take over the world. Solid plan.
Digital Videographer, Animators, and Producers
Alright, visual artists and directors, this one is for you. Those who work on the production component of the film/video side within the digital arts realm may not take home the largest paycheck, but at a whopping 24-29% growth rate, the jobs will be more plentiful than a starship full of tribbles.
In a time when anyone can be a creator, there’s a lot more that goes into producing quality films and videos, even when using the best smartphones or cameras. From camerawork to composition and lighting, understanding color correction, sound quality, special effects, and much more, we're talking about high-level video production.
From animators to producers, there is a range of tasks each must master. Some use specialized production equipment and others use specialized software, some use both. All are required to have both creative and technical abilities to produce a masterpiece for the client or brand.
University of Advancing Technology’s Digital Video bachelor's degree prepares students to become creative technologists who work behind the scenes to bring the static to life. UAT digital video students complete many production projects and gain real-world experience working in a variety of digital production team roles. So, whether your sights are set on becoming an animator or a film producer, UAT can offer you the digital video training and expertise required to become an innovator in your field.
To Sit In The Big Chair, Consider A Master’s Degree
Everyone at some point has wanted to sit in the big chair at the big desk in the big corner office with a view. For some, the notion comes and goes or leaves never to return. For others, that feeling lands on you and, to paraphrase the song, is like a sunburn.
But how do you get that sweet tan? How do you get to sit in the big chair? Well, a Master’s degree is a big step in the right direction. And knowing how to apply that to the career of your choice can make all the difference. In the Digital Art world, you have a few choices. See below, my tanned friend.
$123,221 average annual salary (Glassdoor)
An executive producer is responsible for overseeing all of the operations and long-term goals of a film or digital video project. They are responsible for ensuring that the film is released to the largest audience. A few of the main duties of an executive producer are hiring the appropriate staff, raising money for the film, working with unions, and collaborating with other departments. They also have to ensure that the budget of the film is met. Some of the job titles that an executive producer had in the past would be a producer and associate producer.
An executive producer should have ten years of experience in the entertainment industry; a Bachelor's degree in film or digital video tied with management courses or a master's degree in leadership or production is also very helpful. One of the most important skills that an executive producer will have is the ability to manage a variety of people. Another skill is leadership as the executive producer will have many different employees looking to them for guidance.
$100,890 annual salary with 11% growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
So, you’ve been working as a Graphic Designer or Game Artist for quite a while and you’re feeling like leveling up. Maybe it’s time to become an art director. Move from taking direction from others and take your vast experience and creativity and direct others. You may not necessarily need to get a Master’s to grab one of these jobs, but for many companies, it is a requirement, as well as experience.
Earning a master's degree will absolutely set you apart from the others and potentially set you up to qualify for a management position like this sooner. After all, you don’t just have wishful thinking and moxie, you have education and the line on your resume that declares you to be a master.
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager
$133,380 annual salary with 10% growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Have you ever received an advertisement after you just were talking with your friend about something and it creeped you out?
That happened because somewhere, a marketing manager used creative content and targeted the right demographics, behaviors, and interests within their campaign to reach you. Once you demonstrated "interest and intent" by saying or texting those magic words or even went as far as searching for a similar product—boom, the algorithm found you. It can be creepy at times and you might wonder if someone is reading your mind, but it is how brands deliver personalized marketing in this day and age.
But currently, the marketing industry rapidly is shifting, advancing, and focused on delivering a privacy-first consumer experience that also feels personalized. Therefore, there is a significant opportunity for development and innovation.
At this level, you would handle media-buying, managing various digital and non-digital marketing platforms, potentially individuals on your team or client relationships, campaign strategy, data reporting, and other marketing tools, as well as production. There's also a technical side to these marketing roles where you may handle backend, CRM, or other data management platforms, integrations, custom links, and conversion tracking. You would be responsible for continuously analyzing and utilizing all the data to effectively optimize and identify the secret sauce you can take to double your results for the next campaign.
So if you are creative and love collaborating, tracking trends, analyzing data, using insights to brainstorm and experiment with the next big ideas, and managing and optimizing campaigns, this might be the job for you. To set yourself apart from the crowd in this field, get yourself some high-in-demand technical digital marketing skills. Of course, by earning a digital marketing degree from a 100% STEM university like UAT, you are exposed to fellow innovators, real-world experiences, and advanced technical courses that can put you a level up from the competition. You could be the one that innovates the future of marketing.
Director of Marketing or Chief Marketing Officer
Salary range and growth are pretty difficult to nail down for a Director of Marketing or Chief Marketing Officer. Partly because top pay is only one aspect of this position. Usually, there are a lot of great perks, including structured bonuses or stock options depending on whether the company met its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) once you've reached Director, VP, or executive level. Regardless, there is a lot of reporting, reviewing, and team management to ensure the efforts of your teams actually executing the work are aligned with company goals.
And suffice it to say, this is the one job within the Digital Arts field out of all listed in this article that will likely spend the least amount of time actually creating art. But creation isn’t for everyone all the time and those that create often need a leader. Some of us also gradually move into a place where we appreciate seeing the great work of others and find fulfillment in helping to bring a whole team together to win collectively. As Chief Marketing Officer, you can do that. And an innovative Master’s degree from UAT will help you get there faster.
Be The Next Bob Ross
The next Bob Ross is out there. Our bet is that he will pop up in the digital art world. She (or he) will blaze their own trail and bring art to millions in a way never before experienced. That could be you. And UAT can help. Request more information or apply today!