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Confer these skills to prepare your art and design students for the workforce

June 2, 2022, By Paris Colbert, Research Analyst

The public has long questioned the value of art and design programs. These economic impacts of COVID-19, which left many creative professionals scrambling to find work, only exacerbated these concerns. But employer demand for art professionals has grown 4.43% on average across the last six months as the labor market recovers. And employment opportunities for art and design-related occupations are expected to increase by 4% from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With job opportunities for these professionals on the rise again, what skills should your art and design programs confer to help students meet market demand? We examined job postings for art and design grads to find out.

Art and design professionals need technology and business skills to meet employer demand

Our analysis of nationwide labor market data underscores that art and design professionals need tech and business skills—in addition to the fine arts and other creative skills most commonly associated with these programs.

In-demand Tech and Business Skills for Art and Design Professionals

Technology Skills

  • Adobe Suite
  • Prototyping
  • New Product Development
  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  • AutoCAD
  • User Interface
  • Web Design
  • Agile Methodology
  • JavaScript

Business Skills

  • Auditing
  • Accounting
  • Marketing Techniques
  • Invoicing

Tech skills allow creative professionals to work in growing fields that blend tech and art such as animation, game design, and user experience design. The most posted job titles for art professionals with technology skills include Visual Graphic Designers, Commercial and Industrial Designers, Special Effects Artist, Technical Illustrators, 3D Artists, and Interior Designers.

To learn more about the skills in-demand in your region, request a custom Market Insights Report. Our 360-program assessment will identify opportunities to update your existing program’s curriculum and positioning by analyzing employer demand in the field and evaluating competitor programs.


Business and entrepreneurial skills are also critical for creative professionals who may want to take on roles in fields such as art administration, creative direction, or marketing—or who seek to freelance or otherwise manage their own businesses. Top titles for art professionals in business include Art Directors, Creative Service Managers, Studio Managers, Director of Creative Services, Brand Creative Directors, and Product Managers.


Use Dual Degree Options or Cross-Listed Electives to Confer Tech and Business Skills

Use existing resources to update program curriculum and lower the cost of implementing new coursework for art and design students. One way to accomplish this is to allow students to combine their art and design degree with a STEM major.

Spotlight: Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University offers integrated art and technology programs. Students can take classes within the art and design department as well as the engineering department to develop interdisciplinary skills toward a combined degree. Degrees conferred include a Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA) and a Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA).

Spotlight: Lesley University

Lesley University allows students to take classes across departments in order to gain a “creative combination” degree. This opportunity for degree customization allows students to combine arts programs with technology or business majors. Examples of possible combinations and outcomes include fine arts and business management (creative director), graphic design and political science (urban planner), and animation and creative writing (cartoonist).

Spotlight: New York University

Students in the Masters of Visual Arts Administration program at New York University are required to complete at least three courses in the School of Business.

Spotlight: American University

Similarly, American University allows MA Film and Media Arts students to take marketing and finance classes to learn advertising strategies and how to manage funds.

Another approach to integrating technology and business skills is to allow students to complete courses toward their degree in another department.

With your curriculum optimized to attract students, experiment with ways to communicate program value. The more information you can provide about the job opportunities available to students—regardless of discipline—the more attractive your program becomes to prospective students with a multitude of career interests.

Paris Colbert

Paris Colbert

Research Analyst

Read Bio

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