Stretch Your Creativity: How to Get into IT with a Fine Arts Degree

There are tons of rewarding IT jobs that involve helping people and problem solving – two things you may already be doing in an administrative role. Learn how to change careers from administration to IT – it may be easier than you think.


Your fine arts degree can help you get into IT. Don't want to read the whole article? Here are a few highlights:

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Stretch Your Creativity: How to Get into IT with a Fine Arts Degree

Whether you're a musician, poet, painter or dancer, your creativity is what fuels you. If you have a degree in fine arts, you may secretly wonder what opportunities are available for you outside your given area. (Don't worry, we won't tell your former professors or fellow artists!)

Despite what your parents and high school guidance counselor told you, a degree in fine arts can be more marketable than you may think. Sure, careers within the arts may be few and far between, and have stiff competition at times, but it doesn't have to pigeon-hole you for the rest of your employable life. While jobs like poetry professor, gallery curator, illustrator or art teacher may be difficult to come by, IT is exploding right now, and careers in information technology need creative people.

What Career in IT Is Right for Me?

If you've ever looked at a website and thought “That is a hot mess,” then perhaps a career in web design and development is ahead of you. Using your artistic abilities and creativity in a web designer role can be a springboard for other creative IT jobs, like web developer or software engineer.

Other technology jobs that directly match your fine arts degree include content writer, social media manager, or graphic designer. The IT world isn't just dark rooms and coding; there's creativity happening everywhere, and many IT jobs are in demand.

And don't discount traditional IT roles – you may be surprised how your out-of-the-box thinking and project management skills can apply across the board. You can take on a full- or part-time IT job that provides the time and money to fuel your creative passions on the side. By having a steady gig to pay the bills, you may be able to create more of what you love while still being the creative force that you are.

Here are just a few IT jobs that may appeal to your creative side.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers create the visual brand for a company, including logos, web images and email banners.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Use design software to create images for a company's digital collateral, such as websites, email campaigns, digital content and more
  • Collaborate with marketing, web development, content strategists and more to bring their vision to life
  • Suggest improvements and modify formats to ensure standards are met
  • Scale, crop, reposition and adjust designs so they work well with the rest of the content

Web Designer

Web designers create the vision for websites, melding the goal of the content and the technical capabilities of the site.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Manage website design and redesign projects to ensure all needs are met.
  • Collaborate with content team to design a webpage that meets the goals of the website.
  • Determine the site’s technical requirements and ensure the vision is technically feasible.
  • Work closely with web developers to ensure the final product matches the creative vision.

Content Writer

Content writers craft digital copy, such as for a website, infographic, email campaign or blog.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Write original copy and develop ideas around chosen themes
  • Revise based on feedback from editors, business owners and other stakeholders
  • Gain a thorough understanding of both the business and the audience so the copy is relevant and modern
  • Develop and/or follow company style for word choice, tone, etc.

Social Media Manager

Social media managers oversee a company's presence on social media.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Create and publish relevant, quality and original content
  • Discover and advertise things about their company that the public would want to know, like events, new products and more
  • Balance scheduled, evergreen content with live broadcasts and timely posts
  • Work closely with web development and content marketing to promote their work

Content Strategist

Content strategists plan, manage and create digital content around a brand, including websites, blogs, infographics and videos.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Lead the editorial strategy for digital content to tell a cohesive, compelling story to the target audience
  • Manage a content calendar to ensure the creation of consistent, balanced content
  • Incorporate keywords to drive more traffic to the website
  • Understand elements of writing, design and web development
  • Collaborate with writers, editors, graphic designers, web developers and more to produce collateral

Artistic Skills in IT

As someone with an MFA or BFA, you may be used to deadlines and constructive criticism. Your teachers and classmates probably complimented you on what you did well and told you what could be done better. This sort of mindset is important in IT. Creative people are generally detail oriented but are also skilled at seeing the holistic “big picture” of ideas.

For example, it takes time and perseverance to develop a website from scratch. Following are just a few of the many different elements to consider:

  • Intended audience
  • Ease of use
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Style and voice
  • Visual elements, brand, color and graphics

More than one person could be working on a project like this, or it could be just one person. However, the work is done, it takes time and patience to bring everything together. As an artist, you may already know that the best creations – whether a dance, poem, painting or sketch – take patience and vision. A creative person has just as much to offer in IT as someone with a background in science or math.

In your creative endeavors, you may also have experience managing large projects – identifying all the tasks that need to get done and the people who need to be involved. If you have project management experience and keen attention to detail, a career as an IT project manager could be a great fit for you.

Designing a New Career in IT

It's easier than you'd think to get started in IT. A new career in IT may or may not be a total career change for you, depending on which career and field you enter. Our free career quiz – How Do Your Skills Transfer to IT? – can help you find the one that's right for you.

When you have your area of interest narrowed down, consider talking to someone in the field about their experiences and get their IT career advice. Look into ways to expand your experience; helping friends and family or nonprofits are a good way to start building your portfolio, as is creating content from your home computer.

Taking a few classes and training courses will help you reach your goals and won't break the bank. After all, you already have a degree that shows you have creative skills – now you just need to prove your technical skills. Certifications can be a great way to break into your preferred field.

And finally, when you are out there on the job market, be confident and sell your creative background with pride. Showcase your portfolio, whether it's website design or development, copywriting, social media or blogging. Your artistic background sets you apart; make sure your future employers know that your creativity is a plus to their business and clients.

What Now?

Take our free career quiz to find out what career in the tech field will stoke your creativity and make the best use of your talents. The quiz is simple and informative and will get you going in the right direction for your potential new career in IT.