How to Know You’re a Web Developer or Web Designer

Web Designer

How to Know You’re a Web Developer or Web Designer

Nowadays, novice website builders are often asked whether they want to pursue a career in development or design. I’m sure there are a lot of quizzes out there to help those with this conundrum decide, but much like flipping a coin, this method probably doesn’t account for one’s long-term happiness or goals. Deciding which path is right for you is an individual process. What might take someone years of trial and error to find out could take another an instant. Both are okay. But if you still want some insight into what each job entails, you’ve come to the right place.

Web Developers…

If we get down to the bare bones of it, web developers are in charge of building websites’ structures. This means lots of coding and relentless attention to detail. If you want to be a developer, you’re gonna need to be versed in HTML, CSS, Typescript, and JavaScript at the very least. However, using more advanced building tools such as GIT, Bower, and Gulp, as well as eCommerce systems, WordPress, and server scripting programs like Express and Apache, are also strongly advised.

Anyone with the proper training and motivation can be a developer. However, you might find the learning process more enjoyable if you’re a meticulous and logical thinker. Someone who loves mapping things out and cares about the “how”’s and “where-am-I-going-from-here”’s is probably going to adore this job. This is why those with STEM backgrounds (science, tech, engineering, and math) tend to excel as developers too.

It would be unfair to say people who choose this path aren’t creative or are inflexible. These days, it’s actually an asset for developers to have a general understanding of design. It’s just that, when it comes to preference, they would rather take on the world from a rational frame of mind.

Web Designers…

Unlike their developer cousins, web designers are more apt to work on the front ends of websites, focusing on how they appear and how interactive they are. Although their work is generally based on intuition, imagination, and artistic talent, they use similar programs to developers, including design frameworks like Bootstrap and MDL and app frameworks like Angular 2, React, and Underscore, among others. They should also at least have a fundamental understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript coding. Finally, web designers are also expected to have a strong grasp of Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and be familiar with typography, branding, creating responsive designs.

There is a common perception that one needs innate talent to be a designer of any sort. In other words, that these skills need to come from within and cannot be taught. This isn’t entirely true. Just like web developers, web designers can learn their needed skillset by taking courses, be they in-school or online. If you haven’t touched a tablet or drawn anything since you were five, it’s okay. You can still become a web designer, you just need to want it enough and go after it.

Those who pursue this craft tend to be right-brained. Loosely, this means these individuals tend to have a generalized perspective of worldly affairs and think creatively on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean designers aren’t also logical, critical analyzers. They just tend to lean on free-thinking attributes and their intuition more often than their counterparts. But again, this is a pretty broad perception which doesn’t account for all people.

But wait…

Based on what you read above, you might have caught on to the secret. Keep it hush-hush but yes, a person can be a web developer and designer. I know. I totally just blew your mind. Truth be told, developer/designer hybrids – colloquially known as unicorns – are in demand like crazy. The question is whether you want to learn both skillsets in the same capacity, since each requires extensive knowledge and practice to master. If you are just starting out, you’re at an advantage because you can pretty much adopt both at the same pace. Even if you find yourself leaning toward one as you proceed, having a background in both will give you a leg up from someone who specialized in one and started learning the other later in life.

Web development and design are awesome career choices for tech-loving, modern-day problem solvers. Whether you prefer to approach life creatively or from a practical standpoint, there is a path for you in the world of web building. It’s simply up to you which one you want to take.

Alexandra Latremouille
alex@imaginativegroup.com
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