Why Web Designers Need To Learn Code

About a week ago, I finished up a few freelance projects, and around this time, a friend e-mailed me  about an opportunity he thought I’d be interested in. The posting was for a freelance designer for a startup. Remote work, which I love since I prefer my home office until my NY move. I confidently applied, as my style seemed to fit the brand.

I got a response, saying that my portfolio is excellent, but they’re leaning towards someone with a stronger focus on coding. This was a totally understandable response, but a little hit to my ego. I can code HTML + CSS with the best of them, and I know Javascript. These are the three main languages of front-end. Unfortunately, you can’t always pick and choose what type of coding, platform, or framework your client will prefer. Some have a type picked out before they even have a design in mind or logo completed. This is where front-end web design gets mixed with back-end web design.
Web Designer vs Developer

As a web designer, your job should technically simply be to design things, then have a back-end developer come and finish up the job with coding it. However, in today’s world, employers and clients, would of course prefer one person that can do a little bit of both. This is why web designers need to learn code. Although you may not have to go deep into these back-end sources, you wouldn’t even know how to approach things as a designer if your client requests Ruby On Rails and you know nothing about the framework or its capabilities.

I’ve learned and worked with Ruby, Python, and Github on a project-by-project basis, but it bothers me that I don’t have them 100% mastered and strongly represented in my portfolio.

With this said, I’ll be expanding my portfolio to include more coding and application designs and functions.  I look forward to exploring sources like CodeAcademy, Treehouse, Udacity, various books, and more (investments). So far I’m loving Code Academy (free) and well be investing in the others (monthly payments) after. I’ll be sharing new projects and progress here, so stay tuned!

Are you a web designer? Do you feel you’ll always stick to just the design, or will you dive into coding too one day?

*featured image: nightstand by Manuel Barrera

- xoxo, Lindsey



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