If you possess most of these skills, then it’s possible for you to do really well in both disciplines. Some of the most interesting and useful websites and applications are created by hybrid designers and developers, after all. They’re the so-called “unicorns” of the web, a rare breed of professionals who understand both visual and technical web principles, who have a firm grasp on the different programming languages and know how to translate them into appealing and valuable websites.
Read more: Is Web Development a Good Career?
For this reason, designers who can code and developers who can design are some of the most sought-after talents in the industry today. Here are the advantages of wearing both hats:
Advantages of Being Both a Web Designer and Developer
1. A Major Asset in Any Team
These hybrid professionals are valuable team members who can contribute more to a company’s overall growth while saving them time and resources otherwise spent on hiring and training another employee. Owing to their dual knowledge and skills, they also tend to attract higher compensation.
Web designers who can also code are increasingly becoming the top hire for companies who want to lead the UX/UI movement. A quick online search on job sites will show you that “UX/UI Developer”, “Creative Technologist”, or “Product Developer” are already recognised labels. Job titles aside, versatile designer-developers bring immense value to the team, which is why companies are always on the lookout for these rare professionals.
Read more: What to Look For in a Web Designer?
2. Efficient and Smooth Workflow
Companies see designer-developer hybrids as multi-skilled professionals capable of taking on a website project from vision to launch. They already know the possibilities of building and designing websites. At a time when having an efficient and smooth workflow has never been more important, designer-developer hybrids can help speed up the concept-to-implementation process.
3. Ultimate Flexibility
If you can code and design websites at the same time, you have more freedom to choose projects and work opportunities. You can also choose the type of work environment you want. Possessing both skills can pave the way for you to accept a 9 to 5 job, but you can also make yourself available for freelance gigs. You can become a full-time freelance developer and designer and work wherever, whenever. You can even build your own web design and development agency!
A Word of Caution: Avoid Being a Jack of All Trades, Master of None
It’s very challenging to become the best in both fields, but not impossible. You need to have the commitment to learn the ins and outs of both specialisations. You also need to have the discipline to apply and practise what you learned on a regular basis. Having both determination and discipline will minimise your risk of becoming stellar at one field and just average at the other one.
Tips on How to Become a Designer-Developer Hybrid
If you are a web designer who wants to learn how to code or you’re a web developer who wants to work on your web design skills, you may be wondering how you can transform yourself from being a master of one into a well-rounded and versatile professional. Follow our tips and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a hybrid.
- Invest in learning. If you are a college-bound student, consider taking up a bachelor’s degree in computer science or any other related course. If you want to improve your coding and designing skills, enrol in short courses offered via distance learning platforms such as Pluralsight, Codecademy, Udemy, and Coursera.
- Use the right set of tools. When you’re learning a new skill set, you will have to work with new tools to practice. If you’re a web designer, say hello to different Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) applications and source-code repositories. This is where developers usually go to create, modify, distribute, or reuse a software’s source code. Ask other web developers for information on what tools they would recommend for the frameworks and programming languages you’re trying to learn. For existing developers, you might need to take a break from FOSS for a while and spend a lot of time with designing tools and software applications like Adobe, InVision Studio, Sketch, Marvel, Affinity Designer, or MockFlow.
- Find your tribe. There are numerous online communities that you can turn to for comment and advice about your work. These communities are a great source of support and learning, particularly for beginner-level designers and developers.
- Look out for opportunities to showcase your new skills. As you build your portfolio, consider taking on small web design and development projects for your family and friends. As you gain more experience in performing both roles, your confidence in your new skills will increase.
You can definitely become a web designer and developer. Just keep in mind that it will take time for you to become an expert in both fields.
Learning new and highly prized skills like web design and web development will pay off in the end. Whether you choose to take the formal education route or to study one course at a time via distance learning sites (most of which offer their courses for free), be patient with yourself and persistent. Have the discipline to show up at your classes and apply what you have learned. Join online communities that you can ask for advice or feedback about your work, and then build your network from there.
A growing number of companies want to lead the UX/UI movement. This is why designer-developer hybrids are in high demand in the labour market. Striving to become one is a very worthwhile endeavour that will reward you with greater freedom and higher compensation in the long run.