Should Designers Learn To Code?


Working in the digital world, a question asked often, is whether designers should learn to code. Is it just a waste of time? Can it add value to their work? Can it make the design process easier or more effective? You can argue simply that having two skills is better than one. But is it worthwhile and what benefits does it actually have to designers and agencies?


What are the benefits of designers learning to code?


One of the biggest benefits for designers is that understanding and learning the basics behind the technology and processes used to create their designs allows innovative yet effective designing. Decisions can be made during the design process with the knowledge of what will and won't easily work. This can save time on tight, time sensitive projects without limiting the design and aesthetics.

Knowing how to take a design and create a functioning website is an important skill to know what is achievable and what might not be. In design we often want to create unique projects that push boundaries, but designs and ideas can't always be recreated in code exactly how we imagine. Code has certain limitations. Knowing a little about how our designs are built can help us be more effective and efficient designers.


Are designers who can code better value for money?


It may seem obvious that designers who can do both would be better value for money, bringing more skills to the team. Often in this ever growing, technology based world, you may think you need to learn to code. The demand for both designers and coders is always growing, separately. Agencies need digital designers and coders. Having a designer who can do both is an advantage but it's not necessary. Customer experience is hugely important so agencies want good designers and good coders.

In a smaller agency where roles are often overlapped and not as focused on specific skill sets, designers who have knowledge of code can be very valuable. Not only can designers occasionally take on code work to aid the development team, but everyone can communicate with the same language. Everyone can understand each other creating an efficient working environment.


Which designers will benefit most from learning code?


If you genuinely have an interest and are intrigued by the world of code then learning can be enjoyable as well as beneficial. Code can be tedious, long and frustrating, especially if you don't enjoy it. There is no point learning something you dislike because you think it is important for your career. If you don't have the curiosity and desire to know how code brings your designs to life, it's probably not for you. If design is your sole passion, stick with that.

Within smaller agencies, like ourselves, it can be beneficial for our designers to do both. Our designers often find themselves learning code due to the nature of our business, focusing often on website design and development. Our designers contribute to the development process using HTML code within our bespoke CMS, continually learning and expanding their knowledge. We enjoy working as a team, sharing new design ideas as well as new code capabities discovered, merging aesthetics and functionality to try out new things. The world of code is constantly evolving and new effects and features are constantly being created ready to be implemented in bespoke designs.


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