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5 Tech Jobs for Creatives (That Will Actually Make You Happy)

Skillcrush's 5 Creative Tech Jobs That Will Actually Make You Happy
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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
  • What jobs are out there, complete with actual job listings

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.

Jobs UX Designers Can Get
Junior UI Designer, Retain International, London, UK
UX Designer, Canvas, New York, NY
UX Designer, remote

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.

Pssst! If you want to learn EXACTLY how to make your first $1,000 while learning to code, I’m hosting our popular Code Your Way to $1K workshop with Adda TOMORROW, Wednesday at 1pm EDT/10am PDT, and I’d love to see you there in the live Q + A!

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.

Jobs Web Developers Can Get
Front-End Web Developer, remote
Ruby on Rails Developer, IBM, remote
Junior Front-End Developer, factor1, Tempe, AZ
Frontend Developer, ReCharge, remote

Interaction Designer, kohactive, remote
Interactive Designer (with Animation), Creative Circle, Los Angeles, CA

3. Front-End Unicorn

If you’re having trouble deciding between a career as a UX Designer creating the experience of a site, and turning those plans into real, functioning websites as a web developer, you don’t actually have to choose.

In the tech industry, some of the most highly sought out coders are comfortable with BOTH design and development. We like to call them “unicorns,” because they’re just as elusive.

Front-End Unicorns (that’s not a technical term) are so valued because they can stitch the entire process together: they can create designs with an eye to how it will work in the code, and when they’re coding up a site, they know how to take designs and bring them to life the way the designer intended.

To work as a Front-End Unicorn, you’ll want to start out making money as a designer or developer, and then expand your skillset to become a prized unicorn.

Where Front-End Unicorns Work
Now, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, you probably won’t find many available jobs by typing “Front-End Unicorn” into online job boards. Instead, look for development and design jobs at smaller companies and startups, who may not have the budget to hire large product teams, thus where all your expertise will be super valuable.

Skills Front-End Unicorns Need

  • 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)
  • 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

See an infographic that shows how unicorns combine all their skills here.

Jobs Front-End Unicorns Can Get
Web Developer and Designer, Edgar, remote
Front-End UI/UX Developer and Designer, TalkLocal, College Park, MD
Front-End Developer (with Design Chops), Personify, Menlo Park, CA
UX Developer, Fresh Tilled Soil, Boston, MA or Charleston, SC

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

Jobs Digital Product Designers Can Get
Product Designer, Zotero, remote
Web/Mobile Designer, Everlane, San Francisco, CA
Product Designer, thoughtbot, New York, NY
Product Designer, Paperless Post, New York City

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

Jobs Mobile Designers Can Get
Interactive Designer, Web and Mobile, Forbes Media, Jersey City, NJ
UI/UX Designer (Mobile), Creative Circle, New York, NY
iOS Developer, Savvy Apps, remote
Junior Mobile Developer, Oklahoma City, OK

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.

2 years ago, I was so tired of peddling skills that weren’t in demand in our economy—writing, editing, food photography—that I just wanted to learn a set of skills that I knew would help me find consistent, high-paying work.

If that’s where you are, then figure out what you need to do to combine your creative side with the tech skills you need to make it happen. You can get tons of ideas for making it happen in The Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Passion into Profit, including exactly how I ended up writing about tech at Skillcrush. :)

 

Get Our FREE Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Get Our FREE Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Learn the tech skills you need to land a new job with this 60+ page FREE ebook!

You can unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. We won't use your email address for anything else, promise!

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One сomment

  1. Karan Malhotra Replied

    That was a very helpful article, especially for someone like me Who is from an Electrical engineering background and tired of not being able to come across some cool work opportunities in my Country(India).
    Thank You :)

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