5 Ideal Tech Jobs for Creative Types (That You Probably Haven’t Considered Before)

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When I told my family and friends that I wanted to learn how to code, I heard a lot of this: “But why would you want to get into technology? You’re so creative!”

They meant well. They were worried that working in the digital world wouldn’t satisfy my creative spark. And I’ll admit that way down deep in the back of my mind, I had similar concerns:

  • What if I put in all this time and money to learn HTML and CSS, and then I hate coding?
  • What if this is just another thing I try to do just to make more money, when it will ultimately leave me unsatisfied?
  • And what if I’m just no good? I’m a creative type—not a computer type!

But it turns out that tech is actually an INCREDIBLE field for creative people. As much as coding requires attention to detail, coming up with new solutions to problems is a day-to-day task when you’re working in tech, and drumming up ideas is something creatives excel at.

Below, you’ll find 5 tech roles that are perfect for creatives. For each job, you’ll find out:

  • What kind of work you’ll do (and why creatives are well-suited to it!)
  • What kinds of companies you can work at and projects you can complete
  • What skills you’ll need to level up from “creative type” to “digital creative” and land the job

And the best part? These aren’t jobs for 10-year veterans in the tech industry. You can snag these awesome creative tech jobs with just a couple years or, if you work on your portfolio, even months of experience. Win!

1. User Experience Designer

User Experience, or UX, is all about the often intangible experience of navigating a website or app. UX defines the way a user feels when they search for your mobile menu, or click to your contact information, or just look at your logo.

And since UX can be so subjective, it gives creative people a TON of freedom when it comes to designing and dreaming up things like exactly what layout or button color makes users click “buy now” or “follow.”

A UX Designer’s main goal is to create a pleasant and inviting atmosphere that encourages users to take specific actions, like stay on a page for longer than 10 seconds, subscribe to a newsletter, or finish a checkout process. And their work can be very broad—like creating brand guidelines for an entire site—or more granular—like selecting the right color palette for making users on a medical website feel at home or streamlining the process of buying a skirt with PayPal.

UX is often lumped together in the same category as UI, or User Interface design. Technically, they’re not quite the same: UI has more to do with the actual visual layout of a site or app (or its interface), while UX focuses more on processes and the experience of using the site. Still, it’s a good idea to search for both UX and UI jobs if you’re itching to get into the industry.

Where UX Designers Work

As a UX Designer, you’d be in demand at large corporations or websites, where the online shopping experience is crucial to making sales, for example, but also to small startups, where the layout of a landing page can make or break a launch.

Skills UX Designers Need

  • HTML and CSS
  • A/B Testing (using software like Optimizely)
  • Creating mockups and graphics (using programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and other graphics and layout software
  • User Personas/Avatars
  • Site Mapping and User Flows
  • Wireframing (using tools like Omnigraffle, Balsamiq, or Mockingbird)
  • Analytics (using programs like Google Analytics or Hubspot)

Read more about the UX design process here.

2. Web Developer (specializing in animation)

Web developers do a wide variety of tasks, but the basics are this: they take static designs (often created by UX Designers!) and use code to turn them into fully functional websites and apps.

While web developers don’t necessarily spend as much time tweaking color palettes and thinking about how a certain shade of green will make you feel, they still have to keep the creative juices flowing. There is an infinite number of ways to turn a design mockup into a working website, and as a creative person, you’ll be able to solve problems in ways no one else has imagined.

If you’re new to the tech scene and just starting to dabble in HTML and CSS, then web development is the most straightforward path, and one of the quickest routes to earning real income. In fact, you can earn money WHILE you’re learning to code by doing freelance work for smaller projects as you learn.

But if you want to turn your web development skills into a creative dream job? Learning CSS and JavaScript animation is a great route to take.

You know when words on the screen ripple? Or an icon spins in a circle? Those are examples of animation. With CSS and JS animation skills under your belt, you’ll be able to bring static sites to life.

Check out these awesome examples of CSS animation.

But whether you choose to specialize in animation or not, learning basic web development skills gives you the leg-up you need to get hired in hundreds of thousands of job listings.

Where Web Developers Work

Web developers work at companies of every shape and size, and as freelancers. As a freelancer, you’ll be responsible for many of the responsibilities of building a site or app from scratch. As you move into larger companies, your role will get more specialized (that’s where a specialization in animation would come in REAL handy).

Skills Web Developers Need

  • HTML and CSS
  • CSS Preprocessors like Sass or LESS
  • JavaScript and jQuery
  • Responsive web design elements
  • Git and GitHub
  • A programming language like PHP, Ruby, or Python

Find a more detailed list of exactly what developers do on the job here.

3. Digital Marketer / Content Marketer

If you know you want to work for a tech company or “in tech,” but your brain leans more toward strategy and big picture creative projects, digital marketing might just be your sweet spot.

Apologies for the oft-used cliché, but digital marketers (sometimes also called content marketers) wear many hats. Dozens, in fact, which means no day is boring.

Depending on the company and its needs, they may oversee all inbound marketing efforts or just focus on a specific marketing area like social media or growing search traffic (SEO). Others might oversee partnership programs like giveaways and syndication strategies. Then there are paid ad campaigns. You know those sponsored posts that pop up in your Instagram feed? A digital marketer or digital marketing team probably had a role in that.

Digital marketing sometimes includes content strategy tasks like planning an editorial calendar (for fun themed months for the site blog), writing downloadable guides or e-courses, or even executing on multimedia campaigns—like planning a YouTube video series or podcast.

Where Digital Marketers or Content Marketers Work

These days almost every tech company from the smallest unfunded startup to a Fortune 500 corporation has at least one person on their marketing team. The fact is, almost all marketing includes “digital” components in 2018. At smaller companies, look for roles like “Head of Marketing” or “Marketing Director.” At larger companies (or if you’re just starting out with little to no experience in digital marketing), keep an eye out for job titles like “Digital Marketing Coordinator” and “Social Media Coordinator.”

Skills Digital Marketers Need

  • An analytical mind, experience setting and meeting key performance indicators (KPIs), and a fair to fluent understanding of spreadsheets (for tracking campaigns)
  • Knowledge of page analytics, including Google Analytics
  • SEO best practices
  • Social media strategy and social media analytics
  • Paid advertising, social media ad buying
  • Partnership strategy and sponsored content

4. Digital Product Designer

Product designers are closely related to UX designers, but they’re a little different. Product designers are working on the actual thing that you’re selling. Sometimes it’s a desk chair, but in the tech space, product designers work on apps and software.

Think of it like IKEA, but for web applications and digital products. It needs to look great, feel great, work like a charm, and be simple and easy to use, or, you know, put together with a tiny metal stick…and I think that’s where our analogy breaks down.

Product designers also have a higher-level view: rather than simply taking a brand or vision and turning it into an interface, product designers start with a tiny nugget of an idea and build out from there.

Look at Skillcrush, for example. While our design and product teams work on projects like sales pages and blog redesigns, one of the product team’s highest priorities is making sure that the platform we use to teach students how to code is up to standards and working like a charm.

Digital product designers, much like UX designers, spend a lot of time thinking about users. What do they need? What will make them fall in love with this service? What will make it easy for them to use? When you’re taking a Skillcrush class, you’re doing it on the platform that the product team envisioned with you in mind.

Where Digital Product Designers Work

In the booming tech scene, there is plenty of work out there for product designers. You’ll find exciting work at small startups and at big companies. At a startup, you might be the point person for creating a revolutionary platform for making doctor appointments, and at a bigger company, like Twitter, you might work on a mobile app redesign that makes it easier to share photos.

Skills Digital Product Designers Need

  • A/B Testing (using software like Optimizely)
  • Creating mockups and graphics (using programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and other graphics and layout software)
  • User Personas/Avatars
  • Site Mapping and User Flows
  • Wireframing (using tools like Omnigraffle, Balsamiq, or Mockingbird)
  • Analytics (using programs like Google Analytics or Hubspot)
  • HTML and CSS
  • JavaScript and jQuery
  • Git and GitHub

5. Mobile Designer

While creativity is important in all of these roles, the need for creative thinkers is particularly potent in mobile design. With the mobile landscape booming, there are more and more ways for users to access a site. That means that developers have to get creative about how to write clean code that works great on every screen size out there, from smartphones and phablets to mini laptops and jumbo monitors.

As a mobile designer, you would be designing for a world that is rapidly changing. These days, users aren’t accessing the web by putting their lives on pause and sitting down at a computer. Instead, they have their smartphones with them at all times, fully incorporated into their lives.

That means that mobile designers have the challenging but exciting task of not just designing great responsive sites and apps, but designing how people will weave technology into their daily lives.

That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

Where Mobile Designers Work

Mobile, or responsive, web design and development is in such high demand, you can find work in this field at startups, huge corporations, and even as a freelancer helping small businesses get their sites up to speed.

Skills Mobile Designers Need

  • Mobile UX skills (wireframes, prototypes, mockups, etc.)
  • HTML and CSS
  • CSS Preprocessors like Sass or LESS
  • JavaScript and jQuery
  • Responsive web design elements (media queries, touch screen interaction, etc.)
  • Git and GitHub
  • A programming language like PHP, Ruby, or Python
  • And/or a language for building apps, like Java or C

And if these jobs look like a dream, but you just don’t have the tech skills you need, sign up for our Skillcrush Web Designer Blueprint, and leave with a solid foundation in UX, HTML and CSS, and even JavaScript and jQuery. And if you’re looking to level-up, try out the Visual Designer Blueprint. It’s perfect for creatives.

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