Careers in Web 2.0 and Digital Media
Are you an Internet junkie? This is the field for you!
By: Jacqueline Bodnar
Are you someone who likes to create Web sites, play online video games, or spend time making the most of the latest social media outlets? If so, careers in Web 2.0 or digital media may be right up your alley. With the ability to use your creativity to help drive the online world, you can have fun and earn a good living at the same time. And with the growth of technology in this area over recent years, there are plenty of job opportunities to go around.
Working in Web 2.0
"Web 2.0 is a term commonly used to refer to Web applications that allow interactive information-sharing, the development of 'mash-ups' or Web pages that are capable of combing data from a variety of existing Web resources, and collaboration over the World Wide Web," explains Dr. Kevin Floyd, assistant professor of information technology at Macon State College in Macon, Georgia.
Even those who may not be familiar with the term "Web 2.0" probably have used it for one thing or another. Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. But it also includes blogs, wikis (i.e., Wikipedia), and shared videos like YouTube, Web applications, and even mash-ups, such as Google Maps.
Given the number of online sites and applications that are available online at any given time, it's easy to see that there are plenty of opportunities available in this area.
"Web 2.0 technologies are rapidly becoming a part of all major industries – like government, health care, education, and private business – who seek to provide convenient, interactive and secure data resources to their customers," adds Floyd.
Doing Digital Media
When it comes to other opportunities for working in the online world, many people choose careers within the digital media sector.
"Digital media technically is any content that is created and displayed electronically," says Alicia David, assistant professor of digital media at Macon State College. "From my perspective as a professor of information technology (IT), digital media is the creative side of IT."
She explains that the term is often used to refer to the collection of specialties that includes digital video production, digital audio, digital art, digital design, interactive game development, 3D animation, and other areas.
What many people like about the digital media field is the opportunity to be creative; you have new things to work on, and something "real" to show for all your effort. With a variety of diverse projects available, and the continual changes in technology, it keeps people challenged and interested.
"You have to be able to handle change, and you also have to be skilled in multiple areas," adds David. "If you are a digital designer, for example, you will probably also have to be skilled at developing Web pages, digital art, animations, and so forth."
Digital art is another are where many students find favorable job opportunities following college. Most digital arts programs focus on training students in the skills they’ll need in order to master the area of digital design.
"There are two challenging areas that most students master, in this type of program," says Joe Reinsel, associate director of the master's degree program in digital arts at Goucher College, in Baltimore, Maryland. "The first is developing their own ideas that focus on using digital media. The other is showing and distributing those works to a wider audience. Both of these are important aspects, and both are integral to the career of an artist or designer."
How much you can expect to earn in this field largely depends on the specific area that you choose to go into. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that multimedia artists and animators earn a median annual salary of around $56,000.
If you would like to study Web 2.0 and/or digital media in college, it is never too early to start taking classes in video, television, yearbook, journalism, and Web-related courses. Also, computer classes that deal with digital art would be helpful, as would Web page design, presentation, and animation.
Whether you see yourself working as a digital media journalist or designing the next social networking site, there are plenty of options for those interested in helping to guide the Internet to the next level.
With plenty of variety in positions, above-average salaries, and the ability to work freelance, Web 2.0 and digital media careers are ones you may want to consider.