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Technically creative STEM careers

Creative STEM careers

Equal parts artistic and digitally-savvy? Create yourself an arts-focused tech role

With the Australian Government committed to having 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030, you can bet there’s a palette full of creative tech careers up for grabs in everything from fashion and gaming to education, retail, banking and music production. 

Next-gen creatives are gearing up with skills like coding, AI, app development, user experience (UX) design and virtual reality (VR). Even in straight-up tech roles, creativity is as much an asset as advanced IT skills. 

And it’s the same deal in Aotearoa New Zealand too, with local skills shortages making computer science professionals some of the most highly paid – and sought after – in the country.

“Just because you’re good at one subject, doesn’t mean that’s it,” stresses NZ-based teacher- turned innovation specialist Jessie Robieson, who believes there should be an ‘A’ for art in STEM! “We wouldn’t have something as cool as molecular gastronomy, for example, if no-one had made the link between cooking and science!”  

Full STEAM ahead 

Creative tech careers are embracing grads that can flex both sides of their brains – and for double the job opportunities. 

“So many teachers don’t see the interconnectivity [between different subjects],” Jessie says. “But there are so many careers out there with a mix of many!” 

In fashion, brands are employing designers who double as machine learning engineers. In animation, coding and VR are becoming just as important as slick sketching skills. 

Even banks are looking for creative tech minds, with the teams behind their digital releases and apps skilled up in user interface (UI) design and product development. Scroll through CommBank’s list of current job vacancies for proof. 

RELATED: Quiz: Can you guess these STEM + creativity careers?

Not-quite art school 

The best thing about creative tech careers is that study pathways are a blank canvas! Pick your specialisation (IT support! UX design! Software engineering! AI! VR!) or enrol in a Bachelor of Computer Science and find your way from there. 

Free resources like Codestar can give you a headstart while you’re still in high school – and if meeting like-minded mates is your thing, hackathons will allow you to use your creativity and STEM skills in a fun, collaborative way. 

And again, if you’re worried about landing a job – don’t be! Everyone from The Iconic to Animal Logic, Atlassian, CommBank, Canva and Universal Music are seeking out tech grads for their creative teams.

Yep, your tech career can be a work of art.

Blank canvas 

Alejandro Davila is a virtual reality storyteller

Chances are there’s a tech career to match your creative passion. 

  • Art: User interface (UI) designer 
  • Music: Audio engineer
  • Fashion: eCommerce manager 
  • Film: Virtual reality storyteller 
  • Gaming: 3D animator
  • Writing: Digital editor 

Technology + creativity: Natalie Aslan uses digital tools like online pattern making to improve her design practice. Subscribe to the Careers with STEM YouTube channel for more insights.

RELATED: Find your STEM + creativity career

Career profile: Lee Timutimu, digital storyteller 

Lee Timutimu - image_Zahn Trotter
Lee Timutumu. Image: Zahn Trotter

Lee Timutimu tells cultural stories with cutting-edge tech.

Lee and tech go way back. The VET grad has worked in IT support for over 20 years, servicing the public and private sectors in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Equal parts into computers, design and the creative art of storytelling, Lee has jumped from IT engineer to analyst to film maker. Most recently, he combined all his talents to found Arataki Systems, a Māori-owned tech solutions company. 

“I’m incredibly passionate about Māori storytelling and the importance it holds for our future generations in terms of the transfer of knowledge, the continuation of our narratives and the retention and maintenance of our culture,” he says.

Lee’s latest project allows users to access authentic cultural content around NZ via a proximity-based app. And as a believer in diversity in tech, all the mahi (work) he does at Te Matarau – The Māori Tech Association is dedicated to increasing wider cultural representation in local STEM sectors. 

Lee’s study and career pathway

  • Diploma in 3D computer animation, Media Design School
  • Service desk manager, StreamCom
  • IT support engineer, AVC group
  • Director, Morph Creative
  • CEO and founder, Arataki Systems
  • CEO, Te Matarau – the Māori Tech Association

Start your career here

Tech + creativity study

Tech + creativity jobs

  • 3D animator: A$40K–A$83K / NZ$48K–$94K
  • UX designer: A$54K–A$111K / NZ$49K–NZ$114K
  • Web designer: A$43K–A$93K / NZ$42K–NZ$123K

This story first appeared in Careers with STEM: Technology 2023.


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