We Don’t Need More Designers Who Can Code(medium.com)

over 8 years ago from Saneef Ansari, Consultant Designer & Developer

  • Paul BestPaul Best, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    A designer "who can code" and the kind of developer you've described fill totally different roles....they can, and often should, co-exist on the same team. Anyone with a small amount of self-awareness should recognize the difference and the boundaries of their own skills.

    Let's call this designer one with "UI coding skills". His/her skills stop at the template. Perhaps they are well-versed in Wordpress PHP, Jekyll, etc. This is great for their portfolio site, small projects, or anything with limited functionality. This person will never be able to build the kind of stack you're describing. However, they are still very valuable to a product built on the stack you're describing.

    The problem is not that designers are learning "UI coding skills". The problem is that people conflate this with a role better described as an "engineer", and then discuss them as if they're zero-sum.

    I hope the outcome of this discussion is not to discourage designers from learning "UI coding skills", but rather to educate the decision-makers who are crafting teams about the different skillsets and personalities required for success.

    4 points
    • Mike Wilson, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

      I appreciate you clarifying and I agree with you completely. Those light coding skills are definitely a huge help to any team, even if it's only a general understanding of code. And for the record I have no problem with designers writing strictly HTML/CSS.

      My beef is that a lot of people don't understand what you just described, that HTML/CSS is only a portion of the front-end, even people in the comments below. And this trickles down to hiring managers. They think because all these people call themselves "designer/front-end dev" on their linkedin, suddenly they don't need to be hiring dedicated front-end guys for those roles (or really, engineers). I've freelanced at too many small to mid-size companies with jack-of-all-trades types that the article describes doing mediocre work because they are given too many responsibilities. Unless it's a <5 person start-up, Leave the JS logic to an engineer.

      3 points
      • Paul BestPaul Best, over 8 years ago

        This makes a lot of sense! The idea of being at a mid-size company where I'm expected to handle all logic and UI makes my skin crawl. People like me know just enough to be dangerous when it comes to that sorta stuff.

        Logic is fucking hard, I'd rather have someone on my team who's whole job is creating a really nice API. I wouldn't want to get much deeper than maybe binding that data to the UI

        0 points