Pros and Cons of a Being a Multimedia Programmer
Multimedia programmers write, modify, test and/or program multimedia applications. Learn about the pros and cons of a career in multimedia programming so you can make an informed decision about your future.
|Pros of a Multimedia Programming Career|
|Higher than average salary ($66,000 median annual salary)**|
|Minimal educational requirements (only an associate's degree or certificate is required, though a bachelor's degree may be preferred)*|
|Remote work is possible and increasingly available because of technological advances*|
|Possibility of advancement to other positions (manger, software developer, computer systems analyst)*|
|Cons of a Multimedia Programming Career|
|Work can be highly repetitive*|
|Many jobs are being off-shored to save money*|
|Changing technology means you'll continually need to update your knowledge and skills*|
|May have to relocate to New York, California or Texas (25% of positions are found in these states)*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com
Essential Career Info
As a multimedia programmer, you may write and then debug or test multimedia applications using languages such as C++. You may also use existing software applications, such as Flash, to develop interactive multimedia content, such as animations, graphics and Websites. In some cases, you might also be required to create videos using video production equipment and editing software. As part of your job, you may be required to work on multiple projects simultaneously, although the work itself is extremely detail oriented and repetitive. Multimedia programmers often alternate between working independently and as part of a larger team. They usually work full-time in an office, although many also telecommute from home.
Salary Information and Career Outlook
Payscale.com data obtained in September 2015 indicated that multimedia programmers earned a median annual salary of around $66,000. The majority of these programmers earned between $35,000 and $89,000 per year.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies multimedia programmers into the broader category of computer programmers. According to the organization, there were about 302,000 computer programmers employed in 2014. (www.bls.gov). The organization predicted that from 2012-2022, jobs for these professionals would increase 8%, with a total of 28,400 positions being added by 2022. Jobs are concentrated in California, New York and Texas, with about 25% of positions being located in these states. The highest employing industry was computer systems design and related services, according to the BLS.
What Are the Requirements?
You may qualify for entry-level employment as a multimedia programmer with an associate's degree; however, according to the BLS most employers prefer a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related area and knowledge of relevant programming languages. Since technology rapidly changes, keeping up with new developments is also an essential aspect of the job. Based on information obtained from the BLS and careerinfonet.org, some of the skills multimedia programmers generally possess include:
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
- Attention to detail and the ability to concentrate while writing code
- Communication skills, both written and verbal
- Reading and critical thinking skills
- Inductive and deductive reasoning skills
Job Postings from Real Employers
Job postings for multimedia programmers may also be classified under such titles as 'developer' or 'interactive developer.' Employers generally identify the software programs with which employees should have working knowledge, as well as the education and experience requirements. While not a complete list, the following few job posts can provide an idea of qualifications employers sought in March 2012:
- A production company in Virginia seeks to hire a Flash developer/multimedia programmer in a managerial role. Responsibilities include the technical planning, architecture and implementation of front-end interactive applications, as well as providing quality testing and technical support. To be considered, you need a college degree in computer science or a related discipline and four years of industry experience or an equivalent amount of experience. A background in ActionScript/Flash, 3-D frameworks, PHP, MySQL, multiplayer programming, networks, mobile devices and kiosks is also requested. Additionally, excellent communication and problem-solving skills and the ability to work independently or as part of a team are essential.
- A health institute in Pennsylvania is looking for an interactive media developer with at least three years of relevant experience to create interactive learning solutions, primarily for front-end implementation. You're required to have experience with Flash, AIR, iOS SDK, Objective-C and MySQL, along with a variety of other Web development other programs specified by the employer. Knowledge of Cold Fusion, CFBuilder, Mura CMS, CFEclipse, Final Cut Studio, MPEG Streamclip and Switch are also desired.
How Can I Stand Out?
To stand out to employers, it's important that you earn your degree and gain experience with multiple programming languages. You can also earn voluntary certifications to give yourself a leg up over other applicants.
Earn Your Bachelor's Degree
According to the BLS, computer programmers who possess a bachelor's degree and are familiar with multiple programming languages have the best job prospects. Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in computer science and related areas. You can begin by entering a 2-year associate's degree program and then transfer to a 4-year bachelor's degree program.
It is important to stay abreast of new technology and programs, and the BLS indicates that obtaining voluntary certification through software companies or product vendors can provide this knowledge. Certification can demonstrate competence in a particular language or application to a current or potential employer, and, according to the BLS, can give you an advantage over the competition.
Other Careers to Consider
Multimedia Animator or Artist
If you prefer to work on the artistic end of multimedia programming, a career as a multimedia animator or artist could be a better fit. These professionals use their knowledge of software and design to create visual effects and animations for various media platforms. A formal degree isn't typically required, but you do need a strong portfolio that demonstrates your artistic ability, as well as the technical skill to operate animation and multimedia software. The median annual wage for these professionals was approximately $61,000, as of May 2011.
Multimedia programming is heavily related to Web design and, if you prefer the artistic aspects of the development process, you may wish to pursue a career as a Web designer. These professionals are graphic designers who specialize in creating layouts, graphics and text for Websites. In May 2011, the BLS reported that graphic designers earned a median annual wage of about $44,000.
If you'd prefer to create a variety of different types of computer programs, a career as a computer programmer could be a more appealing option. Computer programmers create software by writing code. Once the code is written, they debug or test it before the program is released. According to the BLS, many employers prefer to hire computer programmers who possess a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related area. As of May 2011, the median annual salary for these professionals was about $73,000, according to the BLS.