7 careers you can have with a design certificate, ranked by income

Nov 1 2019, 5:04 pm

BC’s tech industry isn’t going anywhere soon; in fact, it’s just getting started. A 2018 report on the performance of Canada’s tech sector revealed that BC’s tech economy is a “clear leader” — a statement that can be felt in the hustle and bustle of Gastown’s cobblestone streets or the flooding of youth to Kelowna’s tech sector.

Whether you’re working in the industry or have friends who are crushing their goals and moving up the ranks, you know there’s a high potential for growth in tech. Plus, there may also be some extra perks like remote work opportunities, flexible schedules, and high salaries.

Already, the BC Tech Association has compiled a list of the top industry jobs that will be in high demand until 2021 — including graphic designers, UX/UI artists, and VX artists. Of course, having a design degree can give you an advantage in the sector, and help equip you with a combination of both practical and theoretical skills in your area of specialty.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of seven careers you can have with an education in design, ranked by income.

New media project manager

Mia Baker/Unsplash

  • Average salary: $83,000

Working with digital products, new media project managers are often employed by online publications and marketing agencies. They are responsible for handling projects, managing budgets and timeframes, and coordinating with relevant team members working on each task. In Vancouver, the average salary for a digital project manager is $83,000.

UX designer

Hal Gatewood/Unsplash

  • Average salary: $70,000

Before a product reaches you, it goes through the full scope of User Experience (UX) design. UX designers look at everything from branding and design, to function and usability of a device, and to get the best results, they conduct research, use AI technologies, and also create prototypes to test the user experience. In Vancouver, the average salary for a UX designer is $70,000.

Interaction designer


  • Average salary: $67,000 

A component within the overall user experience, interaction design looks at things like the time, words, behaviour, visuals, sounds, and space between users and products. Interaction designers test concepts for brands to see how said technologies will impact us. The average salary for an interaction designer in Vancouver is $67,000, as reported by Glassdoor.

Mobile application developer


  • Average salary: $65,000 

How many apps have you got on your smartphone right now? No judgement if DoorDash is the first thing that comes to mind! Each app you use has been brought to life by an app developer. They help take businesses from the web to mobile platforms for Android and iOS. Mobile application developers earn an average salary of $65,000 in Vancouver.

UI designer

NordWood Themes/Unsplash

  • Average salary: $63,000 

User Interface (UI) designers work closely with UX experts to design the screens or web pages that we visually interact with. Their goal is to ensure a smooth user product experience that syncs up with the UX vision, whether it’s for an app, computer, or even a digital smart home appliance. UI designers earn an average salary of $63,000 in Vancouver, according to Glassdoor.

Web developer

Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

  • Average salary: $61,000

Web developers are responsible for how a website looks, which ultimately impacts our experience and the amount of time we spend on each page. Ever notice how easy it is to spend a lot of time on shopping sites or scrolling Facebook? This is why — these designers write using HTML or JavaScript to create a seamless website layout. The average salary for a web developer in Vancouver is $61,000.

Web designer

Corinne Kutz/Unsplash

  • Average salary: $54,000 

Once a website is built, web designers step in to look after the design of each individual page for the site. Web designers are generally skilled in both the technical and creative side of things and have a great deal of knowledge on how to improve the aesthetics of a website in terms of colour, layout, and function. This kind of designer can earn an average of $54,000 per year in Vancouver.

How to become a designer

The beauty of the tech industry is that it’s constantly evolving, and it’s never too late to become a designer — you can do it at any point in your career! Emily Carr University of Art + Design offers a number of pathways for anyone interested in transitioning to a career in design.

The first program is brand new, a Visual Communication Design Certificate which kicks off in January 2020 and introduces students to communication design, web design, branding and data visualization, and allows them to choose an area of concentration. You can study part-time, so if you’re working 40 hours already, this could be exactly what you’re looking for.

On the other hand, there’s a six-month intensive, full-time Interaction Design Certificate program you can register for which brings technical skills training and design principles together seamlessly. At the end of the program, students will have a portfolio of work they have created, as well as industry connections and unparalleled experience.

If you’ve already got an undergraduate degree under your belt and are looking to upgrade or shift gears, ECU also offers multiple pathways towards a Master’s Degree in Design.

For more information and to find the right program for you, visit Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

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