Episode 025

025: Should designers learn to code?

Creating a website involves two main skills: design and development. In this episode we tackle the hot debate of designers and code; Should web designers be able to build the things they design, and is it okay if they can’t? We share our personal experiences with this issue and discuss assumptions people make about our abilities when we use the term ‘web designer’.

“If you understand the basics of code and how it works, you can design knowing how it's going to be built in the end and understand what it's going to take for the developer to bring it to life”

— Charli

Key takeaways

The design side and development side of a website are two separate skills and while some people enjoy doing both and offering the full package, it’s not necessary to do both to be a good designer. The more you focus on one specific skill, the better you will be at it.


While you don’t have to be able to write production-ready code, having a good basic understanding of it helps you speak the same language as the developer you work with, and helps you understand the limitations and possibilities in building your design.


You should learn the skills you’re interested in. Not every web designer needs to be able to code their own sites, and unless you want a job where you do both design and development you may be better off using your time to learn other things.

Show timestamps

0:38 – Intro and catch up

4:20 – Can we code?

5:50 – Should we know how to code completely, or is having a basic understanding okay?

6:30 – What you need to learn is up to the individual and their situation

7:40 – Coding and career opportunities

9:30 – Understanding code to work better with developers and better understand the project scope

12:40 – Speaking the same language

15:17 – Listener poll

16:50 – Coding as a part of the design process

21:20 – Unicorns

24:20 – As web designers we don’t have to rely on code to explore code ideas

27:20 – Assuming designers can code and vice versa

33:50 – Development and design are two separate tasks

38:40 – Sometimes understanding the parameters can limit your creativity

 

Show links

Show credits

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Our theme tune was created by Camiel van Schoonhoven