Creative Technology Careers: Pathways and Opportunities

Explore what you will learn in SMU's Master of Arts in Creative Technology program and some of the career opportunities that graduates may prepare for.

SMU’s M.A. in Creative Technology program prepares students for careers in areas such as animation, software development, creative coding, web development, and more.

Creative technology attracts students who want to work with cutting-edge digital tools to create innovative and engaging digital products and experiences. It’s a field that values diversity, experimentation and innovation and offers professionals career opportunities in a variety of roles.

Creative tech professionals aspire to use the best technology available in areas that include web development, user experience design, virtual and augmented reality, animation, gaming, and more. The sheer number of jobs in the industry make it possible for people to build a career that aligns with their interests and skills.

What Is Creative Technology?

Creative technology involves leveraging technology to enhance and augment traditional forms of creative expression or to create new forms of digital art. Organizations also hire experts in this interdisciplinary field who can combine creativity and technology to produce innovative products, services and experiences.

In addition to using technology to enable and enhance creative expression, practitioners in the creative technology field use technology to solve complex problems in new and imaginative ways.

Creative technology first rose to prominence with the emergence of digital tools such as motion sensors, VR headsets and smart technologies. These technologies support the immersive and interactive content that continues to improve with the evolution of smarter digital tools and larger processing power. 

Examples of creative technology include virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing, connected devices (the Internet of Things) and wearable technology.

What You’ll Learn in the M.A. in Creative Technology Program

SMU’s Master of Arts in Creative Technology program prepares students for careers in this rapidly tech-based field. Students learn how to create engaging and interactive experiences for users, and they have access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

Courses in the first year of the 30-credit hour program begin with Introduction to Creative Coding, in which students learn the fundamentals of coding and computational thinking while exploring computation as a powerful generative medium. In Principles of Digital Design, students learn how to apply principles of design theory to screen-based and other technical applications and systems.

Students also take courses in:

  • 3D Modeling/Animation
  • Creative Coding for the Web (including an introduction to front-end, back-end and full-stack development)
  • Creative Coding for Application Development
  • Interactive and Experiential Design
  • Artificial Intelligence in the Metaverse
  • Mobile Computing and Augmented Reality
  • Data Expression 

The online program emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and encourages students to work together to develop new and innovative projects. Students are also encouraged to participate in internships and other real-world experiences that can help them build their skills and gain practical experience. The program also provides a solid foundation for students who wish to pursue further study in areas such as digital media, game design or computer science.

SMU also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Computing that prepares students with a solid foundation in computer science and digital media. They develop the creative and critical thinking skills needed to work in creative technology. Graduates of this program have gone on to work for companies such as Pixar, DreamWorks, and Electronic Arts, among others.

Potential Careers in Creative Technology

Many careers in creative technology are projected to grow at a faster rate than the average growth rate for all other jobs in the country over the next decade (about 5%). For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 23% increase in the number of web developers and digital designers by 2031, with more than 45,000 people taking new jobs in the field.

Web developers and digital designers are just some of many jobs that graduates from an M.A. in Creative Technology program may be qualified to hold. Between new job creation and retirements, the BLS expects about 21,800 job openings per year for web developers and digital designers over the next decade.

Other career opportunities include:

UI/UX Designer

A UI/UX designer (user interface/user experience) creates everything with the user’s perspective in mind while also ensuring a product meets company goals. They typically work as part of a product development team. They may conduct research and analyze user needs and behaviors to inform design decisions, create prototypes and mockups of digital interfaces, conduct usability testing and gather feedback from users to refine designs, and collaborate with developers and product managers to ensure designs align with product goals and technical constraints. They also design visual cues that guide viewers through digital interfaces.

Creative Director

The position of creative director is usually part of an organization’s advertising department. With an increased focus on digital marketing, it’s a position increasingly held by those with experience in creative technology. They combine this knowledge with the ability to handle traditional creative director roles, including planning marketing campaigns and overseeing how best to deploy company assets in advertising efforts.

Software Developer

The title of software developer relates to different jobs in different industries. At the core of each, however, is the knowledge and skills needed to build sophisticated software programs using high-quality code that meets the needs of the end-users and business requirements. They develop new applications for use on a variety of different hardware, including laptops and mobile devices, while also continuously updating and improving previously developed products and services.

Game Designer/Coder

Game designers focus their skills on the creation of video games. It’s a line of work that involves many different areas, including creation of the visuals in each area or level of the game, developing story ideas, creating characters, and writing the code that designs all the details of what users encounter as they move through a game.

Special Effects Artists

This is an area that includes a wide variety of jobs. In each, special effects artists design special effects or animations using film, video, computers, or other electronic tools and media. These designs can be used for products, such as computer games, movies, music videos, and commercials, according to O*Net Online. Job titles in the field include 3D Animator or 3D Artist, Digital Artist, Graphic Artist, Illustrator, Motion Graphics Artist and Multimedia Producer.

What Other Positions Can I Work In?

There are a host of other jobs where professionals benefit from having expertise in creative technology. They include social media manager, graphic designer, digital marketer, brand manager, digital designer, front-end developer and more.

Earning a master’s degree in creative technology can help prepare graduates for a variety of roles (now or in the future) within the creative or technical fields. For those who aspire to increase their competitive advantage in an increasingly tech-driven world, the Master of Arts in Creative Technology can help you prepare for the rapidly evolving needs of the industry.