If you’re gifted with the rare combination of superior technical skills and mad creativity, then you may find yourself bored with run-of-the-mill computer/IT jobs. You may have even considered giving up on pursuing a degree in computer and information technology altogether and picking up a paintbrush instead. While there’s certainly no shame in that, you don’t have to be a starving artist if you have technical chops. Below are 20 of the most rewarding IT occupations for computer science majors with a creative streak. We’ve listed these career paths in alphabetical order.
1. 3-D Animator
In the field of art and design, being an animator is the closest thing to heaven you’ll find in a 9-5. You may even feel a bit like a god as you bring characters and illustrations to life using high-tech animation software. If you’re a creative type but need a “real job,” then the occupation of a 3-D animator may be a dream come true.
Job prospects for 3-D animators are promising, too. Not all animators create animation for movies, though this may be the first application that comes to mind. Animators may work for advertising companies, website development firms, mobile application developers, game production companies, and more.
Earning a computer and IT bachelor’s degree is the best way to enter the field of 3-D animation. If possible, you should concentrate your studies in animation or graphic design. A professional portfolio of work is also a requirement for many employers.
As a 3-D animator, you’ll not only have fun at work, but you’ll also earn a fair wage as well. According to PayScale, these IT professionals bring in nearly $55,000 a year.
2. Artificial Intelligence Specialist
If you want to use your creative acumen and technological skills to breathe life into inanimate objects, then the occupation of an artificial intelligence specialist may be your ideal career path. These professionals in the field of IT program robots and other devices to process information and respond to commands in much the same way as humans do.
The field of artificial intelligence is on the cutting edge of new technologies. That means a bachelor’s degree in computer and information sciences will likely represent the first step towards a career in AI. Most artificial intelligence specialists hold a master’s degree in IT; some have a PhD.
AI specialists not only enjoy rewarding and intellectually stimulating work, but they’re also extremely well paid. PayScale reports that these types of IT professionals earn over $122,000 per year on average.
3. Back-End Developer
A back-end developer is a specific type of web developer that works on the behind-the-scenes aspects of a website. Unlike front-end developers who work on the visual presentation of a website, back-end developers focus more on the site’s inner workings. This requires a different sort of creativity, as backend developers must write intricate instructions—or code—to instruct the website to perform certain tasks.
Backend developers can benefit from academic training in the field of web development. Often, this means they’ll hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer programming, or web design. Some employers may also require successful applicants to hold professional certifications proving fluency in certain programming languages.
Back-end developers make a respectable wage. PayScale reports their average salary to be nearly $55,000.
4. Bioinformatics Software Developer
To people outside of the field, the occupation of a bioinformatics software developer may sound otherworldly. At the very least, you may suspect it’s akin to something from a sci-fi movie as opposed to an actual job. Still, this advanced field is growing, and the need for creative technical professionals to fill the roles of these special types of software developers is reaching an all-time high.
Bioinformatics software developers design and develop software programs that store, organize, and analyze human biological information, including data at the cellular level. Since this is a new technology, bioinformatics software developers must use creative problem-solving skills combined with knowledge of computer and information technology to perform their duties effectively.
A computer and IT bachelor’s degree is recommended for entry-level positions in bioinformatics software development. Some schools also offer relevant specializations in areas like Bioinformatics or Bioinformatics Engineering.
You can expect to be fairly well-compensated as a bioinformatics software developer. PayScale cites the average annual wage for these types of developers to be nearly $78,000.
5. Computer Science Professor
At first glance, the title of computer science professor may not seem like the most creative position in the IT field. If you look closely at the duties of these types of postsecondary instructors, you’ll see that there is room (and even demand) for high-level creative skills. Computer science professors must use these skills to develop an engaging and effective curriculum that will facilitate student learning. Moreover, these college and university faculty members are often active in scholarly research in their respective fields. This means that in addition to teaching, computer science professors are making discoveries and developing innovations in the field of information technology.
To become a computer science professor, you’ll need a credential beyond the bachelor’s in computer and information technology. If you want to teach full-time or at a community college, then a master’s degree in IT will be sufficient. Tenured college and university professors will need a doctoral IT degree.
Positions for computer science professors are well-paid. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the average annual salary for these IT professionals to be just over $85,000.
6. Data Scientist
Think the job of a data scientist sounds as fascinating as watching paint dry? Think again! Data scientists are highly creative IT professionals who are able to detect patterns and make sense of large amounts of data. Doing so empowers them to achieve insight and solve problems for a variety of different industries and employers. As a result, companies and organizations are able to make better-informed decisions and offer higher quality products and services to consumers.
While a bachelor of computer and information technology may be sufficient for some entry-level data science jobs, most employers will require an advanced degree such as a master’s in data science or a related field.
The field of data science is a potentially lucrative one. According to PayScale, data scientists working in the field of information technology make well over $86,000 per year.
7. Digital Copywriter
Writers are widely accepted as some of the most creative professionals in the workforce, but digital copywriters need more than just a penchant for prose. These types of writers must have expertise in the computer and information technology field as well.
A degree in computer science or IT-related field may be helpful for digital copywriters as they produce content for individual websites and large IT firms. This training will provide them with the foundational knowledge they need to educate consumers and other website visitors as they learn about concepts and products in the IT niche.
Digital copywriters are not the highest paid IT professionals, but they do make a fair wage. PayScale reports the average annual salary for these types of copywriters to be right around $52,500.
8. Digital Marketer
Marketing is a field that is widely recognized for its creative applications. Digital marketing is a sub-field of marketing that combines both creative and technical skills in the computer and IT realm. Digital marketers help companies achieve their online marketing goals by using their knowledge of search engines, algorithms, and content marketing, for instance. These professionals may be self-employed or work for start-ups or large corporations.
A bachelor’s degree is the preferred academic training for a position as a digital marketer. While some degree programs exist in the specialized field of digital or Internet marketing, a credential in computer science or marketing may also be sufficient.
Digital marketers tend to be well-compensated professionals in the field of information technology. PayScale cites an average annual wage of nearly $70,000 for specialists in digital/web marketing.
9. Ethical Hacker
Ethical hackers use their computer and information technology skills combined with their capacity for creative thinking to expose a company’s vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. Also called white-hat hackers, ethical hackers must think like the bad guys who want to infiltrate or corrupt a company’s or organization’s private data.
An undergraduate degree in computer science or IT is a good place to start if you want to pursue a career as an ethical hacker. Employers usually want to see some experience in the field as well, preferably in an information security role. Professional licensure as a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) will also give you a leg up on the competition.
Ethical hackers are quite well-paid. PayScale reports the average annual wage for these creative IT professionals to be just over $80,000.
10. Front-End Developer
A front-end developer is a special type of web developer that deals with the visual presentation of a website. Unlike back-end developers, front-end developers concern themselves with the elements of a website that a visitor can see when arriving on the site. This includes layout, text, graphics, and navigation, for instance.
The qualifications for a front-end developer are similar to that of any other type of web developer. That is, a degree in computer science, programming, or web design is preferred. However, some companies prefer their front-end developers to have some training in graphic design as well.
Front end developers are highly paid IT professionals. According to PayScale, these types of web developers earn just under $74,000 annually.
11. Full-Stack Developer
Perhaps one of the most skilled and creative professionals in the field of computer and information technology is the full-stack developer. As their titles imply, these professionals do it all, at least in terms of web development. That is, they work on both the front-end and back-end of a website. Like front-end developers, full-stack developers also need graphic design skills as they work on the user-facing aspect of a site. However, they also rely on highly technical computer programming skills when working on the back-end of the website.
Even more so than front-end developers, full-stack developers need strong academic training in computer science or a related field like software development or computer programming. Many employers will also request a portfolio of successful work before hiring an applicant.
Because they carry so much responsibility, full-stack developers are generously compensated for their work. PayScale reports the average salary for these creative IT professionals to be just over $75,000.
12. Game Designer
Some of the most creative professionals in the IT field may not play games for a living, but their duties aren’t far off. Game designers work alongside developers and other information technology professionals to create games for consoles, computers, and mobile devices. They may have many different responsibilities in the game design process, including developing characters, writing scripts, animating, managing projects, and more.
A bachelor’s degree in computer science or another broad IT-related field has been the standard educational preparation for a game designer, but this is changing. As the field grows, many colleges and universities are offering degree programs specific to the niche of game design.
Game designers not only hold enviable positions; they’re also handsomely compensated. These highly creative computer and IT professionals make just over $65,000 per year, according to PayScale.
13. Graphic Designer
An obvious choice for a creative job in computer/information technology, the occupation of a graphic designer requires both technical know-how and a flair for the visual arts. These professionals rely on advanced photo editing and layout software to create designs and images used in a variety of contexts such as on websites, magazine covers, book jackets, and merchandise, for example.
A bachelor’s degree program is the recommended educational training for a career in graphic arts. Typically, a degree program specific to graphic design is preferred. Some employers will give special attention to graduates of programs accredited by The National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
Though not the most lucrative career in information technology one can pursue, a job in graphic design is usually associated with a decent wage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professional graphic designers made just over $52,000 per year on average in 2019.
14. Information Technology Consultant
Though it may not be the first position that comes to mind when you ponder creative careers for degrees in computer science and IT, the job of an information technology consultant does fit the bill. These IT professionals must rely on their knowledge in the field of computer science as well as their ability to think outside of the box in order to devise creative solutions and strategies for their corporate clients. Above all, IT consultants must discover or create ways to ensure a business thrives using innovative technical concepts and approaches. Since technology is always changing, information technology consultants are continuously learning and developing their skillsets to remain relevant in their field.
Information technology consultants need a bachelor’s in computer science/information technology in order to practice in the field. Some experience in the field is often required as well. As an IT consultant, you will have the opportunity to work for yourself as an independent contractor or sign on with a company in need of information technology consultancy.
IT consultants are among some of the most well-paid computer and information technology professionals with a bachelor’s credential in the field. According to PayScale, the average salary for consultants in the IT field is over $83,500.
15. Information Technology Project Manager
Information technology project managers must have excellent creative problem-solving skills in order to manage large-scale IT projects. Often, these senior-level professionals lead teams from various IT departments in order to carry a project from conception to execution. This requires comprehensive planning as well as the ability to foresee any potential obstacles that could delay or derail the project.
To get hired as an IT project manager, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a computer/IT field, but that may not be sufficient for some employers. To increase your chances of secure employment in this field, you may want to take some additional courses in management. Leadership experience in an IT role is sometimes preferred as well.
Information technology project managers shoulder a lot of responsibility on a day-to-day basis, but they are paid quite well for carrying these burdens. PayScale reports the average annual salary for IT project managers to be nearly $89,000.
16. Mobile Application Developer
It’s true—there is an app for everything these days, but there wouldn’t be without certain professionals in the field of computer and information technology referred to as mobile application developers. These creative technical professionals have both creative vision and high-level software development skills to develop various applications for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. These mobile applications may be developed as entertainment or serve important purposes in all types of industries, including government, education, eCommerce, and even healthcare.
A bachelor’s degree in computer and IT provides a good foundation for a successful career in mobile app development. Some employers may also require or prefer professional licenses or certificates in certain programming languages, for example.
Software development is a fast-growing field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so prospects for mobile app developers should be promising in the coming years. These creative IT professionals are well compensated, too; PayScale reports their average salary to be just over $73,000.
17. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist
Search engine optimization—or SEO—specialists play a highly specialized role in the information technology field. It’s the goal of these IT professionals to help companies position their websites for maximum visibility by consumers using search engines. The creative aspect of this role lies in the discovery and implementation of innovative strategies to increase the ranking of websites on search engine results pages.
The academic background of an SEO specialist may include training in both computer science/IT and marketing. Some postsecondary schools offer specific degree programs in digital marketing and/or search engine optimization.
Though not the highest-paid IT professional on our list, search engine optimization specialists make a fairly decent wage. PayScale reports their average annual salary to be right around $55,500.
18. Software Developer
As highly creative IT professionals, software developers anticipate consumer needs and develop computer programs that address those needs. Their numerous tasks include designing software applications, troubleshooting the software, and providing instructions for programmers who write the code for the software.
To become a software developer, you’ll need a degree in an IT field such as computer science or software engineering. Some employers may also require or prefer experience in computer programming as well as specific programming languages.
Software developers are very well-paid for their work in the information technology industry. According to PayScale, these professionals make over $105,000 per year.
19. Software Product Designer
Product designers work in many different industries. In the tech field, these creative professionals are often referred to as software product designers. Their responsibilities include developing and improving the visual design of a software product so that consumers find it appealing enough to purchase it. Software product designers may also have a hand in developing the actual software product or making enhancements to the final product.
Though successful software product designers need graphic design experience to perform their jobs well, they also need an academic background in computer and information technology. This training will provide them with the foundational knowledge to represent the technical software accurately and to make improvements as necessary.
Software product design is a lucrative sub-field of IT. Professionals in this occupational role make over $82,000 a year, per PayScale.
20. User Experience Designer
If you’ve ever had a frustrating time finding what you need on an eCommerce app or came away with a bad taste in your mouth after visiting a company’s website, then you know the need for a good user experience designer. A user experience designer is a “big picture” type of creative professional who plays an important role in the information technology field. Sometimes called UX designers, these IT professionals are responsible for ensuring consumers have a positive and intuitive experience when navigating a company’s website or mobile app.
Though a bachelor’s degree in IT or computer science provides a good foundation for success in the user experience design field, some employers prefer academic training in marketing, graphic design, or even psychology.
User experience designers are well-compensated for their efforts on behalf of companies in the IT sector. According to PayScale, these professionals make just over $74,000 annually.
Contrary to popular belief, creativity is a soft skill that does not go unnoticed in the field of information technology. If you have what it takes to succeed in one of these innovative technical roles, you’ll be rewarded with both a job you love and one that actually pays the bills as well!
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