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Forget the Starving Artist: 9 Jobs for Creatives that Make Great Money

9 Design Jobs that Pay $90k
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Do you have notebooks full of elaborate doodles and handicraft projects stuffed in every corner of your closets? Do you automatically imagine better furniture arrangements when you visit a friend’s house for the first time? Do you lull yourself to sleep at night thinking about how you’d redesign your favorite cafe’s website?

Sounds like you’ve got it: The designer’s itch. Don’t worry! You won’t need a prescription ointment or antibiotics to cure it. What you need is an outlet for your creativity. And the good news is that with some tech skills, that “creative outlet” can turn into a seriously lucrative career. As in “$90k lucrative!”

And you can choose from so many different roles within in the field of design. Here are 9 examples of real-life designer jobs that will make you almost six figures—not to mention give your artistic nature what it needs to thrive.

To earn the highest salaries in design, you’ll of course need some experience and strong skills too. But it’s definitely doable, and it’s definitely an interesting and rewarding path to choose. So, read on to find out what you’ll be doing in your new dream career and what you need to get there ASAP.

And if you are pumped about these jobs but not sure you have the skills you need to work as a designer in tech (or what that even means!) sign up for our free email course, the 10-Day Coding Bootcamp. You’ll get all the basics on what it means to code and work in tech.

Graphic Designer

You might be most familiar with this title when you think about doing visual work. Graphic designer is a term that’s been around for decades to describe people who create mainly print designs, for everything from packaging labels to magazine ads. What makes this position different nowadays is all the tools and systems around to make creating visual assets infinitely easier—and more fun! And of course many of today’s texts are the ones you read online so you’ll be designing for the digital space too.

Skills you’ll need: design (especially typography and color theory), Adobe Creative Suite, illustration, wireframing

Actual job you could get:
Graphic designer, The Black Tux (Santa Monica, CA)

blacktie

Digital Designer

In digital design, you’ll be creating web pages, websites, emails, infographics, icons, and more—all to get messages across on screen. This is a fantastic chance to turn your creative inspirations into practical ways of helping, for example, marketing, social media, and communication teams express their ideas or pass on information.

Skills you’ll need: design, typography, Adobe Creative Suite, HTML and CSS, JavaScript and jQuery

Actual job you could get:
Digital Designer, Yext (New York, NY)

Visual Designer

As a visual designer, you’ll put your keen eye to work to create a unified expression of the spirit of brands and products. Your goal is to make all the visual aspects fit together so you should feel at home with everything from print to photography and ready to turn your ideas into amazing visual experiences of all types.

Skills you’ll need: design, UX, Adobe Creative Suite, illustration, photography

Actual job you could get:
Sr. Visual Designer, True & Co. (San Francisco, CA)

tru

Product Designer

Product designers are true problem solvers. They look at the big picture of what users want from a product and the details of how companies can make it, and then they come up with solutions that work well and look great, too! So, consider this career if you can understand both customer needs and business demands, plus you’re ready to sweat the details of how it all fits together. It’s a challenge to turn visions into reality, but the end results can be legendary. (Think Jony Ive’s iconic Apple products.)

Skills you’ll need: design, mockups, illustration, animation, Adobe Creative Suite, possibly HTML and CSS, and JavaScript and jQuery

Actual job you could get:
Product Designer, Nylas (San Francisco, CA)

UI Designer

Making things look and feel just right is the task of UI (user interaction) designers. That means your goal will be to make it easy and enjoyable for users to find what they’re looking for on a web page, from a website, or within an application. And, by understanding the psychology behind what makes users enjoy a site or app, you can make their online experience so enjoyable that they’ll want to stick around even longer!

Skills you’ll need: wireframing, user flows, site maps, prototyping, animation, Photoshop, HTML and CSS, JavaScript and jQuery

Actual job you could get:
Interaction Designer, Discovery Education (Silver Spring, MD)

UX Designer

Ready to dig into what people do and why? Then try UX (user experience) design. You’ll research and analyze how users interact with your site or app to help develop and improve it. This is a role that requires constant collaboration with developers so you shouldn’t shy away from coding if you’re thinking about UX.

Skills you’ll need: user research and analysis, prototyping, mockups, wireframing, Adobe Creative Suite, HTML and CSS, JavaScript and jQuery

Actual job you could get:
UX Designer, thirteen23 (Austin, TX)

thirteen23

Mobile Designer

You gotta admit that you look at your phone at least ::cough:: a zillion times a day, right? So, why not get in on the mobile revolution by designing for those devices? You’ll be putting your creative juices to work and have the satisfaction of knowing that you gave someone a beautiful experience on their phone or tablet.

Skills you’ll need: design and responsive design, wireframes, mockups, Adobe Creative Suite, HTML and CSS, JavaScript and jQuery, understanding of mobile systems like Android and iOS

Actual job you could get:
Mobile Designer, The Climate Corporation (Chicago, IL or Seattle, WA or San Francisco, CA)

Motion Graphics Designer

I know you adore BB8 as much as I do, but what if it was *your job* to bring adorable characters like him to life? Whaaa? Too good to be true? Not if you’re a master of motion graphics design. In that field, you’ll animate all kinds of creatures and creations as well as create the visual versions of them for packaging, advertising, online outlets, and so much more.

Skills you’ll need: design, mockups, illustration, Adobe Creative Suite, animation tools and technology

Actual job you could get:
Motion Graphics Designer, Sphero (Boulder, CO)

sphero

Creative Lead

If you’re one of those special artists who also loves bringing people together to get a job done, your dream career could be as a creative lead. You’ll be in charge of teams of designers, helping them to work together and with other departments to come up with the designs needed throughout a company or agency.

Understanding both the day-to-day work and excelling at relationship building and coordination are the superpowers you’ll need to bring to this role.

Skills you’ll need: experience with and understanding of all areas of design and the tools and technology, creative vision, organizational and leadership talents

Actual job you could get:
Creative Lead, Beyond (Mountain View, CA)

beyond

If any or all of these positions spark your interest but you still need the skills to land the job, sign up for our free email course, the 10-Day Coding Bootcamp. You’ll get a chance to dip your toe into the water of the tech industry and find out if it could be a fit for you. Spoiler alert: you’ll be surprised at how approachable learning tech skills can be!

And if you’re ready to dive in head first, check out our Skillcrush Career Blueprints. You can build your foundation, create your own portfolio, and get your first paycheck(!) with our Web Designer Blueprint. And, when you’re ready to take it to the next level, our Front End Developer Blueprint will give you the hottest skills in responsive development. And you’ll be on your way to $90k in no time!

Get Our FREE Guide to Making More Money in Tech

Get Our FREE Guide to Making More Money in Tech

Learn how to MAXIMIZE your earning potential with our FREE, 50+ page guide.

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

Kelli Smith

Kelli handles customer support here at Skillcrush – plus she's an early alum of Skillcrush 101! She's also taken advanced web development classes and has been an organizer in the Helsinki Rails Girls chapter.

In addition to helping the Skillcrush team and students, Kelli loves tech podcasts, cute Corgi photos and, most of all, catalan-style line dancing – as a true Texan living in Finland would!

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4 comments

  1. Sam Replied

    All these jobs require experience, how about job that are willing to train you?

  2. samsantox3 Replied

    This was so helpful!  I just applied for a few open Digital Project Management positions at Beyond. Wish me luck – Thank you Skillcrush!

    • Kelli Orrela Replied

      You’re so welcome! Best of luck with those jobs you’ve applied for — We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you! :D

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