What Can You Do With a Degree in Digital Media?
UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS | 4 MIN READ
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 that’s what makes it so exciting. Students have the opportunity to customize their educational experience to prepare for the unique digital media career they wish to pursue.
In addition to advances in the multibillion-dollar film, television and gaming industries, 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. Digital media specialists are asked to develop content that can be applied to multimedia platforms such as e-books, websites and gaming systems.
That’s on top of mastering programming languages, editing photos and developing advertising strategies. Plus, there’s writing persuasively, designing graphics and creating animation.
For those who want to pursue a degree in this interdisciplinary field of study, that kind of broad, ever-evolving blend of technology and content allows for full use of their diverse strengths: the technical and analytical, the artistic and the collaborative.
How Do I Earn a Degree in Digital Media?
Digital media studies are often offered in three concentrations: video, simulation and web design. However, each program is different and may focus more heavily on marketing, for example, or business, art or computer science.
You can expect to take classes on developing websites, creating graphics, photography, video editing and 3-D modeling. You will learn how to create computer-generated effects that can be used in films, games, websites, and even educational materials and financial analytics.
You may not have top-notch computer skills on your first day of class, but you will by your last.
But as is the nature of the field, what’s cutting-edge one day will be outdated the next. It’s more about learning how to learn, leaning into the constant change and finding the best outlet for your creativity.
Studying digital media isn’t just about knowing the technology, however. No matter what type of media you are working with, the foundation for success is based on knowing how to tell a compelling story. Digital images, video and animation are simply the tools for communicating that story.
Jobs for Digital Media Majors
Digital media is still a new enough field that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has contained the breadth of digital media jobs under the title “multimedia artists and animators.” 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.
Employment in the digital media arena is expected to rise 6 percent by 2024, with jobs in 3-D video, advanced special effects, video games and mobile technologies in especially high demand.
But the field is vast, with responsibilities that range from developing ultrasound imaging for a hospital, improving interactive educational tools for a school district, or helping a brick-and-mortar store embrace e-commerce.
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.
Whatever the field, the diversity of skills needed means you’ll never be stuck in “Office Space” drudgery or subjected to the mindlessness of repetitive tasks.
How Can I Get Started in Digital Media?
Elmhurst College 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.