Top 5 Creative Jobs That Pay The Most - mages

If you’ve always considered yourself a creative person but have been told time and time again to get a “real job”, this might be exactly what you need.

If that resonated with you, then you might have struggled with the notion that creative careers don’t pay well. That being creative or thinking out of the box is great but it can never be enough to earn a decent living.

The idea that artists and creative thinkers wrestle all their lives to make ends meet is centuries old. But the 21st century is bustling with new career avenues to explore and it has plenty of room for high-paying creative professions.

You just have to be good at what you do and be passionate enough to put in the right effort. You need to be able to use your creativity to provide value to people and businesses.

And most importantly, you need to know where to look.

Here’s our list of top 5 creative professions that pay a lot and defy this age-old stereotype!

Game Designers and Programmers

There was a time when video games were exceptionally rudimentary.

In the name of a video game, all you’d get is a shooter represented on the screen by a few pixels. You’d move that shooter around and fire white dots at other clusters of pixels representing enemies.

That time is long gone now.

With the advent of technology and the enormous spike in resources, the video game design industry has blossomed into a full-grown, high-paying and a creatively rewarding industry.

On average, video game designers easily command over $60,000 a year, as per Payscale.

And there’s no doubt in the amount of creativity and skills it demands. As a designer for one of the most interactive mediums, you’re responsible for conceptualizing the game and deciding on its direction. You solve problems such as balancing difficulty, creating fun elements, and evoking emotions in the player. You could also work on narrative, monetization, and quality assurance.

You work at companies or studios with artists and programmers and figure out the details on gameplay, layout, characters, scenarios and other elements critical to video games.

Game Programmers also command over $60,000 a year. Programmers are also in-demand in multiple industries, such as enterprise software development and artificial intelligence.

Game Programmers work on bringing the designer’s vision to life through coding. The technology and mechanics that make up the game are all part of the programmer’s work. This involves an understanding of programming languages, algorithms, logic, maths, and game engines.

You can learn more about what a programmer does in our blog post about the most important subjects a game programmer should learn.

Given the continual rise in the popularity of video games, this is certainly one creatively rewarding profession in demand that pays significantly well.

Multimedia Artists and Animators

What would a world without beauties and beasts, frogs and princesses and talking toys be like? Or without the special sequences and effects in movies that render them magical?

Life would be dull and colourless. Wouldn’t it?

Thanks to multimedia artists and animators, our world and lives are full of colour, fun, hopes and dreams. They don’t just work for movies though, they work for video games, music videos, commercials and other forms of media.

According to Payscale, the average income of multimedia artists and animators is about $54,019 in a year.

As a multimedia artist and animator, you create special effects and animations using sophisticated tools of technology. You draw realistic illustrations through manipulation of light, colour, texture and so on. You bring your artistic vision to life using computer programs. And you help games and films be visually stunning and memorable. This is definitely one of the most lucrative and fulfilling jobs for creative professionals.

Film and Video Editors

Films and videos are amongst the most impactful media in the world. Nothing gets through to people as well as movies and videos.

Payscale pegs film and video editors’ average annual salaries at $45,596.

As a film and video editor, your creative and digital technology skills are put to test. You’re majorly responsible for putting together raw footage into a finished and final product. You work in close collaboration with producers, directors and other film staff to get the hang of a film’s or video’s end goals.

Your role is to use your skills to determine what works and doesn’t work with a particular storyline or message. This will include things like audio and video engineering, commentaries, choosing music and so on.

UX Designers

In an era where design and technology are gradually getting closer, it’s hard to miss out on a profession that beautifully blends both.

UX designers are able to earn $73,324 annually, on average, as per Payscale.

As a UX designer, you’re basically responsible for customising the architecture of a product to enable a certain kind of experience for users. You interact with other stakeholders of a project to explore and define customer avatars that are critical to the development of your product.

You bank on your technical and creative skills to solve problems that might interfere with how a user navigates your product. You determine the users’ needs and expectations to give them the best possible experience.

Graphic Designers

Art makes life subliminal. It’s not just about adding colours and pictures to make life pretty. What art renders for us goes beyond mere illustrations.

Art breathes life into ideas.

In the 21st century, it plays a huge role in thousands of industries, ranging from marketing to films. All thanks to graphic designers.

According to Payscale, graphic designers can command up to $43,293 on average.

Your role as a graphic designer gives you the privilege of communicating ideas through visual concepts. Your work has applications across platforms such as magazines, web design, brochures, advertisements, billboards, logos and even things as mundane as corporate reports.

You could create things using the conventional pen (or pencil) and paper or choose software programmes like Photoshop or Illustrator to bring your vision to life. What you create is meant to ensnare audiences.


Whoever told you creative jobs can’t be lucrative, must not have had enough creativity to land a great one.

The fact is, there are companies out there who appreciate your creativity and are willing to pay you a fair wage for your creative skills. However, all these creative jobs require a lot of skill and training.

We previously discussed whether “born talent” was more important than hard work for artists – check it out here.

Creative people often have the drive to “go out and do their own thing”. Becoming an independent artist or developer is definitely a dream you can achieve. Watch out for a post about how the Indie Game Development scene first started a decade ago.

Especially with the many advancements in technology and design, it has become easier to do what you love and thus, love what you do.

Want to learn how you can make a living out of video game art? Check out this post to figure it out!

If you’re scared about not being able to channel your creative energies into something lucrative, check out MAGES’ programmes and courses and kickstart your career in the creative industries!


Need guidance or course recommendations? Let us help!

    Mages Whatsup