By:  STEM Contributor
March 2nd, 2015

CS + Design

Creative Coders

By Lynnette Hoffman

Computer science meets design on a fiery frontier of invention, creation and expression.

Computers are reinventing and enhancing the way in which we express ourselves in almost every creative arena.

“Just as a painter must learn how to use the technology of paint and brush to create a painting, a computer artist must learn how to use software to express creative ideas,” says Jon McCormack, an electronic media artist and computer science researcher at Monash University.

To do so, he says, you need to learn “algorithmic thinking” – taking a physical process that exists in the world and turning it into something a computer can do.

Jon and his colleagues made music composition software called Nodal that lets you create complex musical pieces on your computer. You can use Nodal to edit on the fly and explore new musical ideas.

The digital medium

The combination of technical and creative expertise that you gain by studying the arts with computer science is in demand in industries such as new media and communications, film and TV, games, and information technology.

You could be creating apps, computer-generated imagery, artificial intelligence and more.

If you’re an artist, computer science skills can broaden your career options.

Niki Yoblonski, an Australian digital artist at Pixomondo in Los Angeles, says 3D artists use code to build realistic imagery.

“For example, an effects artist might use maths to generate an effect to simulate how water flows or how it interacts when hitting a surface.”

Niki, who creates visual effects for Hollywood films including The Avengers and Iron Man 3, studied film and media art at university but says most of her fellow artists went to schools that specifically teach digital effects.

Tien Pham, a successful 2D and 3D animator, had worked on corporate videos, TV commercials and architectural previsualisations before deciding to study computer science and game creation at Swinburne University in Melbourne.

“Having a wide set of skills is useful. Being creative as well as technically skilled can be helpful in finding work – especially freelance work,” he says.

“Doing a course where you work on creative material and gain solid software development skills suited my interests.”

Get into CS + create!

Check out some of your study and work options…


Animators, 3D modellers, games designers and testers, digital artists, audio engineers, interface designers, software engineers + more!


Arts (Games & Interactivity)/Computer Science, Swinburne University

Information Technology (Games & Graphics Programming), RMIT University

Information Technology (Games Design & Development), Macquarie University

Digital Arts, ANU

Games & Interactive Entertainment, QUT

STEM Contributor

Author: STEM Contributor

This article was written by a STEM Contributor for Careers with STEM. To learn more, please visit our contact page.