Creative Non-Computer Job
October 5, 2005 6:50 AM   Subscribe

What's a good career for a creative chap, who loves computers but doesn't want to be stuck on one all day? A position where he could use his imagination, and do some technical work, but not be a monitor monkey?
posted by parallax7d to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What about this kind of thing?
posted by ewkpates at 7:11 AM on October 5, 2005

What about being an actor?

Honestly, it seems like pretty much every creative job these days requires sitting in front of a computer for hours on end. Writer, artist, musician... You can maybe find ways to do those things without a computer, but a computer makes the job easier, and if you're just starting out, your bosses are going to want you to use a computer.
posted by delmoi at 7:14 AM on October 5, 2005

Eventualy you might be able to get into management, where you're telling other people what to program, but you'll have to put in your hours beforehand, or start your own company.
posted by delmoi at 7:15 AM on October 5, 2005

How about industrial design, graphic design, or architecture?
posted by Jon-o at 7:21 AM on October 5, 2005

Be a sales engineer for a technical company. Travel, usually very good pay, lots of interaction with customers, technical challenges, etc.

There are usually both junior and senior positions within larger companies and it's usually possible to get out if/when you get tired of the travel - usually to marketing or sales management.
posted by GuyZero at 7:21 AM on October 5, 2005

It depends on the education, this one is 1/2 blue collar: Before college I worked at a printing company doing graphic design AND press/post-press manual labor. Basically (and exactly) I would work a project from start to finish. I now understand that I was very underpaid and worked entirely too hard (my position, before and after, was taken on my multiple people) but the experience was priceless.
posted by jacobjacobs at 7:28 AM on October 5, 2005

You could become a usability designer or consultant. You would work closely with graphic designers and programmers, but much of your job would involve user testing and analysis. Accessibility is another, closely related field you might be interested in.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:35 AM on October 5, 2005

Systems Admin./Librarian?
posted by JanetLand at 10:54 AM on October 5, 2005

"Creative" means so many different things.

Being very comfortable with tech is a strong asset in a lot of fields. But you need to look in more detail at your own personality. E.g. -- Do you get energy from dealing with people, or does it leave you drained? If the former, GuyZero's suggestion might be good (i.e., you might conceptualize sales as "creative").

Stuff like usability research can be 30-60% away from the keyboard, but I expect you'd have to get a degree or be on track to get one to break in. Design these days is mostly "monitor-monkey" work, though I'm sure designers mostly don't mind it.

If you don't hate the idea of being in advertising, you could look at that. The hours can be brutal and the pay worse than you expected, but you would get to do at least some creative work. (More in some shops than in other.) And often the work involves actually interacting with clients and colleagues. I know a number of ad people who are introspective, and many who are 'extro'spective (for lack of a better term), so there's room for different personality types there. There are askmefi threads on how to break into advertising.
posted by lodurr at 11:00 AM on October 5, 2005


- freelance from home in either design or coding. you'll decide what kind of hours and workload you'll work.
- try to come up with a site/program (your creative side) that will generate some money.
posted by mirileh at 11:09 AM on October 5, 2005

IT Training might fit the bill - if you don't mind lots of travelling
posted by Lanark at 11:48 AM on October 5, 2005

In the mid-90s I worked doing architecture consulting for a large company to their clients. Basically, this meant getting involved in the initial design or the migration of huge enterprise environments. It was all problem-solving (How do we ensure High Availability? Will this perform?) which required a strong technical background in a wide variety of things (programming, databases, systems, networking etc) Plus constant learning about what new things were out there.

Anyways, some kind of architecture position like that might fit the bill. The thing is the architects who know their stuff have some coding background (I did scientific/DSP C coding right after college) but you'll be using your laptop more for Visio than for development tools. And (if you're good) its well-paid and always in demand.
posted by vacapinta at 12:16 PM on October 5, 2005

I deeply appreciate all your responses. I'm sure there are many more careers as well, anyone?
posted by parallax7d at 3:05 PM on October 5, 2005

Find a small business in an area you enjoy, and move in as their Internet guru. That's what I did. I left a boring corporate web developer job to join a needlecraft and knitting shop. I started off working in the shop exclusively - because it was different and I enjoyed it - but by the time that started to get boring, my boss was ready to devote some energy to the website. So now I spend my days tinkering with OsCommerce, filling orders, serving customers during the lunchtime rush, and generally having a lot more fun and varied day than I ever did sitting at a desk for 8 hours.
posted by web-goddess at 3:37 PM on October 5, 2005

You've also described the life of most working scientists, incidentally. Roughly half my time is spent on the computer number crunching or writing reports and papers. Lab work, and meetings are the other major components.
posted by bonehead at 8:55 AM on October 6, 2005

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