We’re going to get real: Digital media majors are entering a career world that didn’t really exist two decades ago. In many ways, it’s uncharted territory.
But there’s an exciting reason to jump in. Studying digital media plays right into a major global trend: the rising appetite for digital content.
Just recently, trend watcher eMarketer reported an interesting finding in the United Kingdom. For the first time, adults in the U.K. spent more time with digital media (5 hours and 35 minutes a day) than they did with traditional media. Another recent report, also from eMarketer, found that, in Canada, digital audio outpaced time spent listening to the radio for the first time.
Behavior like that has generated a lot of demand for students with the right skills in their toolboxes. Those who want to learn digital media can build a diverse set of strengths—whether it’s mastering a programming language, quickly editing photos and audio clips, or designing complex animation.
At the same time, every advance in the multibillion-dollar film, television and gaming industries pumps up demand. New digital media applications are constantly being churned out for products ranging from smartphones and streaming devices to video-sharing platforms and social media networks. On top of that, digital media specialists develop content for multimedia platforms such as e-books, websites and gaming systems.
How can you get started? First, let’s explore the path to a college degree in this new and rapidly expanding field.
How Do I Earn a Degree in Digital Media?
Many schools offer digital media studies in three concentrations: video, simulation and web design. However, each program offers different focus areas. It could be digital marketing, for example, or an academic curriculum rooted in business, art or computer science.
Whatever you choose, you can expect to take classes on developing websites, creating graphics, editing video and creating 3-D models. Another point of emphasis: how to make computer-generated effects that can be used in films, games, websites, and even educational materials and financial analytics.
You might not have top-notch computer skills on your first day of class, but you will by your last.
Beyond the programming and technical skills you pick up, a strong digital media curriculum teaches you how to learn. It should push you to find the best outlet for your creativity and embrace constant change.
Jobs for Digital Media Majors
Turning to career trends, digital media is still a new enough field that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics still crams all of the jobs in the field into the title “multimedia artists and animators.” But even there, studying digital media can really pay off. As of May 2018, the median salary of these workers was just over $72,500 a year. The top 10 percent of wage-earners in the field brought home more than $124,000 annually.
Meanwhile, employment in the digital media arena will rise an estimated 6 percent by 2024. Jobs in 3-D video, advanced special effects, video games and mobile technologies are in especially high demand.
In addition, digital media specialists work in film, television, finance, marketing, sales, health care, education and nonprofits. They are graphic designers, web developers, video editors, animators and media curators.
Above all, they know how to tell a compelling story in a current way. Digital images, video and animation simply exist as tools for communicating that story.
All of that means you’ll be a creative person working on projects that require the spark of imagination. Say goodbye to “Office Space”-style drudgery and mindless, repetitive tasks. Those with a digital media education look to the future and innovate in the here and now.
How Do I Start Studying Digital Media?
Elmhurst University offers degrees in digital media (with concentrations in film and audio production, animation and game design, and writing for film and television), multimedia journalism and digital marketing communication. Request more information about these programs—and the skills they teach—by filling out the form below.