Web Design, Programming and Internet Careers in 2011

Web programming and web design are slated to be hot careers in the new year. The economy plays a large factor in this trend, as businesses are not only realizing the value of the Internet in helping with brand recognition, customer service and inventory movement, but also, many business owners are outsourcing their web programming and design needs to web design and programming companies or freelancers. 

The cost of an employee to set up and maintain a website may be too great for small businesses, especially after the initial work on the site is complete and the website only needs maintenance. Turning to an outsource web design company or specialist can produce budget-friendly results for the business at a fraction of the cost of an annual salary. With these jobs poised to grow over the next year, many web designers and programmers are turning to freelance websites in order to find these jobs, but there are other options available besides eLance and oDesk and directly contacting businesses or searching through classified ads and offering freelance services instead of full-time employment are quickly becoming ways for web designers and web programmers to find new clients. Mashable offers other avenues for web professionals to find their ideal job, as well, even listing resources for those interested in pursuing careers as social media specialists, bloggers, community managers, social gaming and several other branches of web-based career paths.

The skills of the web designer and web programmer should always be able to translate both on paper, such as a standard resume, as well as online in a web-based portfolio. Employers and clients want to see not only what the programmer and designer can produce, but also the background and experience that led up to the different showcased portfolio projects. As with most jobs, it is important for web designers and programmers to exercise caution in how much “work” is provided before a contract, either freelance or employment, is in place. There are businesses who will ask for “sample designs or code” from potential applicants as a way to get free work completed, with no intention of ever hiring the web designer or programmer.

All in all, 2011 is slated to be a good year for those currently employed in web design or web programming, or those who wish to enter the field after obtaining a degree in web design or programming. From the economic recovery that is spurring businesses to improve their websites or new job creation, web design and programming careers are on the rise.

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Associates of Science in Graphic Design Degree from International Academy of Design & Technology

From websites to newspapers to packaging, graphic designers are needed in every industry, and at every level of experience. Graphic design is a career field that continues to re-invent itself as it keeps up with the latest technologies available and applies them online and offline, visually interpreting the ideas of businesses and organizations the world over. Graphic designers are used in all areas of marketing and advertising, helping to bring the visions of a company to life in traditional and non-traditional means, by communicating with images, animations or other visual elements, the thoughts, missions and offerings of companies and organizations.

Graphic designers can be found in all businesses and fields, working full-time, part-time, as contractors or freelancers. Educational requirements vary, but in order to achieve a position as a graphic designer in a company or to compete in the sea of graphic design freelancers, an Associates of Science Degree in Graphic Design is highly recommended. International Academy of Design & Technology offers an online program to help graphic design professionals obtain their Graphic Design Degree. This program works with students and teaches them the fundamentals of design, both web-based and graphic design, drawing and digital illustration, color theory, layout, prepress, portfolio building and creativity concepts. International Academy of Design & Technology offers this program online to help students maintain their current work or home obligations while continuing to enhance their education.

As a graphic design professional with an Associates of Science Degree in Graphic Design, career opportunities as a graphic designer, web designer, multi-media designer or production assistant open up at a median salary of almost $40,000 annually. Graphic designers can also assist in areas of video game production, story boarding, interior design and visual communications as well as perform various design functions within publishing houses for both books and magazines. The current interest in ebooks and downloadable content to hand-held and mobile devices is also increasing the job opportunities available to those who hold an Associates of Science Degree in Graphic Design.

As technology continues to dominate the way people receive their news and entertainment, the push for more qualified graphic designers will increase. Graphic design is a competitive field, therefore having the right education to back up talent will be a large decision-making factor in the success of those who pursue a career in graphic design. Creativity and technology meet in graphic design, and the best graphic designers will be able to turn their own creativity and love for technology into a rewarding career.

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Animated Short and Feature Film Production

Animated films start with an idea, a dedicated person or team and the desire to entertain through more technologically enhanced means than standard film. With the rise of people using the Internet as a stepping stone to fame, animated movies and shorts are following suit. Animators, young and old, are producing their own videos in their homes and showing them to friends, family and strangers through websites like YouTube, Google Video and Daily Motion.

Becoming “Internet Famous” takes time and patience, as well. There are social networks and responses to consider, the right subject matter that will appeal to the demographics that are more likely to share an animated video and the time and effort it takes to produce and upload the video to the most popular online video websites. Some of the best advice given to animators at home is that regardless of the response (or lack of response) to their uploaded videos, keep practicing and keep filming. Learn more about online animation schools, and try different techniques to achieve different visual effects. Use the social networks already available and used by the producer, to engage a current audience that can help “spread the word” about the quality of the animation or rave about a story line or character. Internet fame happens mostly by chance, and by utilizing the tools already in hand, an animator has a better chance at “going viral.”

If Internet Fame is not the end goal of an animator, there is still a good chance of being famous through the more standard channels of television and movies. Animated short films receive Academy Awards each year, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association awards its coveted Golden Globe award to animated feature films. Film studios like Pixar, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., and Fox are always looking for new animated films, and animators, to add to their multi-million dollar animated film stables.

Animated films, whether short or full-length feature films, are enjoyed by people of all ages, at the movies, on television and increasingly on computers and mobile devices. For the person who wants to be an animation professional, or fall into animation fame, the best chance to make it big in animation is to keep on animating, keep on creating new and exciting plots, scenery and characters, and challenge the art that is being produced by taking things to the next level, each time the camera turns on.

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Visual Communication Bachelor Degree Online at Westwood College Online

Visual communications encompasses several different industries that constantly demand professionals who can create unique and specialized designs in print or web, communicating through the use of imagery, color and visual response, rather than through words and text. These careers require the development and refinement of innate design and layout skills held by photographers, production art managers, web designers, graphic artists, illustrators or animators.

Companies hiring visual communications professionals vary, as many different businesses may hire an on-staff web developer or advertising manager, but there is a large demand for visual communications professionals in advertising agencies, web development and design companies and publishing houses, including printers. With the help of the Internet, there are also several smaller, private publishing companies looking for professional visual communications graduates in order to help transition from the standard paper publishing format into electronic publishing like eBooks and ways to enhance books with multimedia for e-reading devices like the Kindle.

Westwood College Online offers several visual communications degree levels, including a Bachelor’s program that offers core curriculum to help with communications, critical thinking and problem solving, as well as specialized courses in web and print design, design theory imaging, layout and multimedia. Marketing and planning classes and topics are also included in the degree program, giving the visual communications student a focus beyond the artistry of print or web design. Westwood College Online works with the Adobe Creative Suite software package, the industry-standard visual communications and design software. This Bachelor’s program is offered online, in order to assist the busy professional with attaining educational goals while still prioritizing current job or life obligations.

According to PayScale.com, the average salary for graphic and web designers is $38,000-$40,000 annually. Art Directors make about $50,000 per year, while Creative Directors are reported to make $100,000 annually. While job competition for visual communications professionals may be tougher than average, it is still a career choice with many options, including consulting, freelancing and the ability to work from home as well as employment in various industries. Average career growth for visual communications professionals is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning that while job growth will not expand faster than is typically expected, there are still jobs for those in the visual communications industry.

Visual communications professionals lead the way for new online and print design concepts that help businesses and organizations succeed. The career options that a Bachelor Degree in Visual Communication from Westwood College Online offer are varied and help creative and skilled individuals find a place to utilize their design and layout skills. Visual communications professionals give businesses and corporations new options and ideas to further their web and print design campaigns. Career growth in visual communications will continue to grow, especially as more companies and organizations require qualified and skilled online and print design.

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Web Design for Disabled Users

Web design can bring together creativity and technology in a multi-media experience for the end-user, but only if the end-user’s ability to enjoy websites is not hindered by different physical or other factors that may require specialized designs and development. Designing websites to accommodate different disabilities is smart business, especially since the standard website can leave a person with a visual or hearing impairment with little ability to receive the information that the website is trying to convey. Many browsers do have add-ons and features to help those with disabilities enjoy their favorite websites, but a good design that incorporates features to assist the disabled can help make a difference in the meaning of the website itself, not just the information it provides.

For end-users with visual disabilities, it is suggested to make the most of “header” tags that emphasize text headings. These tags can be interpreted by special software and emphasized verbally, giving a “headline” a stronger vocal statement than paragraph text. Defining the “alt tag” attached to images and image maps also helps special browsers convey image information to the visually impaired. The added benefit to both of these practices is that search engine crawlers will pick up the emphasized text and alternative meaning to an image, increasing your SEO benefit and ranking on search engines. Font sizes should always be relative, in order to accommodate a browser’s ability to scale fonts into “large print” options.

The hearing-impaired community has a better chance of understanding website copy and content than the visually-impaired, but that does not mean web designers and web developers cannot introduce enhancements to the website. Any sort of multi-media presentations can have transcripts attached to the videos or webinars, and closed-captioning is available in many different video production software programs and applications.

Senior citizens or those born with motor difficulties may have a difficult time maneuvering a mouse to small images or text in order to click on links. There are different design strategies, programs and applications to help maximize the ability of those with motor issues, but if the website’s audience contains a majority of members with these issues, the web design and development should reflect the acknowledgement of these issues accordingly.

Other cognitive factors should also come into play when designing a website, either due to age, experience or any disabilities such as dyslexia or reading comprehension. These issues affect the diagnosed as well as those “unable” to comprehend large amounts of text because of their busy lifestyles. Keep text to a minimum, well-written and informative, and structure the website simply, giving a natural flow to where the pages lead, and always have a standard navigation bar or “home” link to help alleviate end-users’ confusion or frustration.

Designing a website that reflects the abilities and needs of a vast population of people helps to not only get the website’s message across easily, but also shows that the company or organization appreciates the differences in its customers or clients. Creating an easy-to-use online environment for people of all abilities gives back to the community as a whole, showcases web design and web development skills and creates a lasting impression of the business or organization.

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Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and Design

The need for creative and knowledgeable interior design professionals is constant. From home and furniture design to creating unique or professional environments for businesses, organizations and entertainment venues, there are countless opportunities for those with experience and education in the interior design field to express their creativity and help others create the personal or business spaces they have dreamed of.

A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and Design from the Academy of Art University is an educational opportunity to learn the different techniques and professional practices of interior architecture. This degree teaches the basic skills required of interior design professionals, such as drafting, sketching and computer graphic design as well as color concepts, lighting design and spatial issues. The Academy of Art University also offers concentrations in Interior & Design, Furniture Design, and Residential Design to help graduates further specialize in their chosen interior design and architecture career field. This program also helps to build and coordinate a portfolio as well as helps teach presentation skills that are vital when designing spaces and presenting concepts to potential clients.

The degree program at the Academy of Art University requires 132 hours of credit, or for those who already have a Bachelor’s degree, only 66 credits are necessary to fulfill the requirements of the online degree, which also allows those who are currently employed to continue to work while continuing to pursue educational goals. Well-known companies hiring graduates of the Academy of Art University include Gap Inc., Hendler Design, Hirsch Bedner Associates and many other corporations.

Architecture and Design professionals may be employed by design agencies, entertainment firms, or even pursue their own creative career interests in the design field by providing consulting services. A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and Design from the Academy of Art University will help furnish an Interior Architecture and Design professional with the needed experience and skills used to create spaces, furniture and design concepts. Interior Median annual wages for interior designers were $44,950 in May 2008 and the career growth is expected to rise 9 percent from 2008 to 2018 as more businesses and organizations require specialized design items and concepts to accommodate the aging population and increase customer satisfaction.

Bringing visual concepts to life in a home or business takes a trained professional who is able to not only create and implement designs, but also keep in mind the various budget, style and construction concerns. With the growing need for unique business and home environments and the accommodations of the aging population, the services provided by Interior Architecture and Design professionals remain in demand.

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Alternative Television Advertising

You’re standing at the gas pump, minding your own business, when suddenly, you hear a voice greeting you and telling you about the weather or the latest news headlines. You turn toward the sound and see, mounted on the gas pump, a television screen displaying all sorts of information you may need in the moments it takes to fill up your tank, perhaps even distracting you from how much your gas costs. Later, you’re sitting in the waiting room at your dentist, when the plasma screen TV lights up and you get to know all about teeth whitening and the relationship between your gums and other health issues. Welcome to alternative television advertising.

Alternative television advertising is the new practice of televising advertisements for local or interest-based businesses in various “alternative” places via satellite technology. Gas pumps are only the beginning of the creative places that alternative television advertising is showing up. This alternative television advertising can be seen in waiting rooms of doctor’s offices, fitness centers, the longs lines for amusement park rides and airport security, sporting events, and even behind the bar at nightclubs. There are even retail stores that feature television advertising for their products, websites and other helpful information for customers.

Through this alternative television advertising, companies are able to reach people in their businesses, medical offices, the places they eat and even where they socialize. The advertising is tailored to different demographics, as well. For instance, while a mom sits and waits for her child’s gymnastics class to end, she may be treated to some parenting advice, self-care tips or even a quick recipe, with a few targeted advertisements thrown in. Those who spend their evenings at the gym may be entertained by ads for fitness equipment and tips on how to train smarter, not harder. There are even targets for different cultural influences, as well as college students, mobile technology fans, and the population that gravitates to book stores and coffee houses.

Alternative television advertising makes it easier for advertisers to reach their intended audiences by targeting different establishments that may cater to income levels, genders, professions and purchasing priorities. These programs enable companies to reach the most likely people to buy their products, and also help keep their brand fresh in the minds of the population as they go about their daily lives.

The beauty of alternative television advertising for advertisers is that it reaches people in the places they are most likely to gather, even if it is just at a gas pump. Much like reading a magazine in a waiting room or listening to radio advertising while waiting for an oil change, alternative television advertising is helping to keep the busy minds of people engaged on products and helpful information. While advertising is already pervasive in the lives of people through typical outlets like newspapers, billboards and even online, alternative television advertising has generated an entirely new way to help people connect with some of the products and services that can benefit them the most.

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Children and Video Game Design

Parents and caregivers, well aware of the dominance of video games and other multi-media entertainment in the lives of their children, may be somewhat assured to know that there are ways that a child’s interest in video games can actually benefit them in ways other than as a means to kill time, among other non-digital concepts.

Video game design, long thought to be a career choice for the game-addicted child who graduates high school and wants to continue to play video games, has actually moved into the arena of children, giving them more control over the games they play as well as encouraging creativity, storytelling, computer programming, graphic design and many other skills that are needed in order to produce a compelling and memorable video game. Since the market for video games has begun to include younger children, giving them the ability to create their own games may actually benefit them, to an extent, by encouraging the various skills required in video game design.

Video game design requires creativity, and while the complex programming skills required may be hard for children to master, companies like Microsoft have begun to introduce programs that help children create their own video games. There are also companies that offer video game design classes for children, using built-in tools that come with video games for adults such as Crysis. These classes may encourage the creativity in children and help them generate virtual worlds in which their own characters “quest” for items that they create. Some of these classes focus on the graphic design and programming required in video game design, while others may give more specialized training in sound effects, storyboards or other video game production aspects.

Some summer camps also specialize in the team-building work required in video game design and production. Many camps that run for one or two weeks may require that children participate in all aspects of the video game production, each taking a turn at what is needed in order to produce a video game.

One of the benefits to video game design for children is that it can encourage their creativity, team-building and even mathematical and programming concepts. By keeping children interested, it is possible to help them grow and learn while having fun, giving them incentive to continue learning through play, design and their own love of video games.

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Careers with a Bachelor of Science in Animation

There are few occupations in life that can bring more joy to people than a career in animation. Animators are responsible for designing and developing movies, commercials, websites, games and other entertainment for adults and kids alike. Animation makes it possible for super heroes to leap into space or for ponies to save the world. Professional animators bring the imagination to life by visually representing the hopes, dreams and whims of the world on screens full of color, texture and amazing feats of the impossible.

A career in animation starts with the desire to create these types of entertaining or educational graphics and present them to the public for their enjoyment. The skills needed to create animation can be easily gained through the acquisition of a Bachelor of Science in Animation through a credited online animation school. Most programs can be completed with only 8-12 hours of work per week, and are flexible enough to allow for jobs, family obligations and other commitments that may prevent the attendance at a “brick and mortar” school. The work produced during the time of attaining a degree can even be used in a portfolio, showcasing talent and proficiency of learned animation skills.

With a degree in animation, it is possible to increase your knowledge of web animation, color theory and 3D textures, among many other animation topics. The program also teaches how to use various software packages such as the Adobe suite of graphic programs or AutoDesk. Mac enthusiasts can also learn how to design with Apple products, in addition to cross-platform software. These skills can immediately translate into careers in special effects, forensic artists or even storyboard designers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for computer animators is $58,250. The career options available for those who achieve a Bachelors of Science in animation are diverse and the job market is growing due to the never-ending need for new and exciting movies, video games and animated websites. Graphic animation jobs are still fairly competitive, even with the expected growth, and a sound education and quality portfolio can help a prospective employee stand out among the rest of the applicants.

Choosing a career in graphic animation takes skills, hard work and a love of creativity and design. By entertaining and educating people in a way that engages or promotes a feeling of childlike wonder, it is possible to not only positively affect the lives of people who watch the animation that is produced, but to also feel proud of being on a team that enabled those very reactions.

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