The past decade has seen a dramatic shift in the way people consume news. No longer are they turning on the radio or subscribing to a daily, printed newspaper; it’s plain to see that media consumption has gone digital. This swing toward digital technology has led to a major reduction in traditional media outlets. Newspapers are purging jobs left and right, and broadcast journalists are taking on photography and editing roles in addition to reporting the news. But the shift has also created a spike in the need for digital media, design and communication experts.
So, where are the jobs? While large, print publications like The Washington Post and Time magazine have long enjoyed expansive online presences, the majority of new jobs for graduates of digital media and design programs do not lie within the obvious sources. According to a 2014 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, the bulk of job growth in the digital media world is at publications that have always existed only online (such as Huffington Post and Gawker). In fact, the report posits that nearly 5,000 full-time digital editorial jobs have been created at 468 digital news organizations nationwide, and the vast majority of the organizations are startups that were born in the last decade.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports data that is in line with the Pew report. The demand for experts in digital media, design and communication will increase about 4 percent between now and 2024. In hard numbers, that means roughly 27,000 new jobs will open for the purpose of creating, editing and disseminating content through a variety of platforms — most of which are digital.
Five Career Paths
Individuals who earn a bachelor’s degree in digital media and design have a wide range of careers to choose from. Here are five of the most popular choices.
- Motion Picture/Video: Digital experts create visual and audio special effects, including computer-generated imagery (CGI).
- Computer Software: Jobs typically involve creating websites, animation, business software systems or video game components.
- Advertising: Those who choose to go into advertising can be digital illustrators, graphic designers, media buyers, art directors and more.
- Journalism: The opportunity to pursue a career at a digital news outlet is huge, especially as a journalist. Journalists work to produce content (written, photo and video) to fulfill specific requirements for a site.
- Education: Working with students on digital design skills at a school (secondary and/or postsecondary level) or trade school is an option for those who love to teach.
Perhaps what’s most exciting about digital media and design is that the job market is constantly expanding. As technology grows and improves, so will the career options.