Every student’s question: Is digital art an escape from the downsides of gig economy?

With the onset of the digital era, the internet, and smartphones maturing into powerful mobile computers, it didn’t take long for whole new industries and employment opportunities to present themselves.

In this new and exciting era, where virtual space takes precedence over physical space, almost everyone can become self-employed, especially students. No doubt, with the coronavirus pandemic, these numbers will drastically shift upward even further this year.

When you are a self-employed student, you can set your own pace of work, how much you work each day, and you can work from anywhere on the planet with a good internet connection, which is practically everywhere at this point. Unfortunately, there are serious downsides to self-employment as well, which we explore in this article.

With all of this in mind, digital artists – graphic designer, video editor, illustrator, animator, 3D modeler — are highly sought employees, that can not only find good jobs but can educate themselves with free online tutorials. If they wish to, they can also go the self-employment, remote work route.

Double-Edged Sword

Being your own boss is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you don’t answer to anyone but yourself, but on the other hand, you must also take the responsibilities of being a boss. In practice, this means expanding your repertoire of skills to market yourself, achieving an adequate level of professionalism with clients, and managing your time schedule. In effect, these are multiple jobs, and they were treated as such, not too long ago.

Although there is a multitude of jobs you can perform as a self-employed digital worker or an artist, these jobs can come in two forms; long term employment through a contract or gig-based employment.

To save on costs and expand their profits, companies are increasingly turning to hire workers temporarily. Such workers are also called freelancers, usually acquiring various jobs on dedicated platforms on which employers post their needs. Some of the most popular ones that hundreds of freelancers (and students) adore are the following:

  • Guru;
  • Fiverr;
  • Freelancer;
  • Upwork;
  • Toptal;
  • PeoplePerHour.

Other gig platforms cater to more niche specializations, while these platforms cover a wide range of jobs one can take, from writing articles, dissertation service, programming, website development, art-focused audio and visual design, and many others. Thanks to the internet, education for such jobs comes free of charge.

Gig Economy as a Sign of Societal Decline?

The gig economy rose greatly in the last five years. Predictably, the millennial demographic leads the charge in adopting this new lifestyle with over 40% of participation. Although considered as informal employment, the gig economy is a necessary landline for students who have difficulties finding stable, long-term jobs. Under the heavy brunt of automation and endless migration, such jobs will be increasingly more difficult to find.

Accordingly, the age of a first-time homebuyer in the US is now 36 has shifted from 23 in the 1960s to 31 in 2018. At the same time, such a job and housing insecurity create an environment in which reproduction is discouraged. And as the birth rate of the native population plummets, the government views this as an excuse to further spur immigration, which further lowers the chance of landing long-term and good-paying jobs.

It certainly seems like an incoherent mess, just waiting to cause more stress on society. Nonetheless, there is still hope for success in the USA. The gig economy, such as it is with all its flaws, offers an opportunity to accrue sufficient means to buy a home in the outskirts of big cities and towns. After all, a digital worker is not reliant on a physical location to perform their job. Moreover, such less-urban locations remain as the only places left where homes are affordable.

Don’t be discouraged, though, the arena of digital art is thriving in the USA, headed by Ubisoft with its global leadership in compelling game design. In fact, the Media Fund (CMF) will subsidize up to 75% of the cost for a digital game, up to $75,000. With a plethora of free video game design courses online, it takes little investment to make such a project a reality. As the government openly gives up on taking care of its population, self-employment and self-education will become the norm. Within this new ecosystem, becoming a digital artist is a student’s best bet, especially if he/she doesn’t want to wait until the forties to buy a house. Good luck!