Although originally coined by the art world, the term 'multimedia' has come to be used to describe various aspects of modern living. Any medium that incorporates text, audio, still images, video, animation or some form of interactivity can be classified as multimedia.
Multimedia has come into its own as technology has advanced due to it usually being recorded and accessed through electronic and computer devices such as online web browsers, promotion kiosks, televisions and even motion detectors connected to screens. Multimedia is distinctly different from fine art because of the broad scope and its many commercial applications. When trying to choose the appropriate multimedia course for yourself you need to consider these many applications.
Media and advertising careers utilise many different types of multimedia professionals. You could choose to approach your multimedia courses mainly from a technical, analytical or creative angle although most multimedia jobs will require aspects of all three mindsets. For example a mainly technical person may wish to specialise in a technically in-depth course dealing with Adobe Flash or an advanced Apple Logic course. Someone with strong analytical skills might find they are well suited for a career in forensic video and audio fields or participating in research based multimedia courses/ extracurricular activities. A highly creative individual may be involved in concept development areas such as graphic design, storyboarding for advertisements or game art design.
Knowing your strengths will help you narrow down a multimedia course based on an overall focus but you will need to consider which mediums you would be interested in working with: video, image, sound, animation or motion technologies. Choose a main focus and consider any peripheral skills you may be able to learn in the duration of your course.
Do some research into the different industries available and get a brief outline together of the sorts of multimedia careers or mediums you would like to work with. As broad examples:
• Gaming industry (video, online and PC);
• Advertising industry (print, display, television and other);
• Film industry (films and videos production);
• Music industry (live events and production);
• Press industry (news coverage and media support)
• Engineering industry (3D modelling and computer simulations)
• Data Management (archiving and classification)
• Education industry (e-learning and training guides)
Brainstorm specific career roles and do some research into the kind of jobs in demand. At this stage it is important to consider the type of environment you would thrive in. For example: do you want to travel or prefer to work in a fixed studio location? How well do you handle time pressure and how much creative freedom do you need?
The two most important elements of a highly successful multimedia career - regardless of industry - are a combination of practical experience and specialisation. At the very least it is an advantage choose a multimedia course which will either provide you with an internship or allow you to enter the job market with some sort of portfolio to demonstrate what you have learnt in the duration of your training. Some specialisations can be learned 'on-the-job' but quite often a professional will need to attend intensive part-time multimedia courses which complement and build on your main skill-set.