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UX/UI Designer V.S Web Developer

To all professionals reading this post, thank you for your precious time!

I just started my journey in coding (HTML/CSS/Javascript) three months ago, I love it and I experience the so-called 'flow' state when I'm coding. (definitely a great sign!)
I was wondering if you could share some career advice or your experiences in the tech industry?
Why did you choose to become a web developer rather than a UX designer or UI designer? (or vice versa)

Thank you so much!

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#webdev
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#html
#css
#js
#designer
#career
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#mentorship
#women-in-tech
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Katy’s Answer

I'm a UX Designer based in San Francisco. I studied Art and Computer Science in college and started my journey with HTML/CSS/Javascript, but ultimately decided I was more excited about design than coding. Personally, I've experienced 'flow state' in both, but I really enjoyed spending time thinking about user problems and dreaming up how to visualize solutions to address those problems. When I was coding, I spent more time coming up with the best way to implement the solution. Also fun, but I tend to gravitate to the former.

Katy recommends the following next steps:

Best way to get into either field is through practice. Dream up a few projects for yourself and you'll continue to discover which role excites you most.
Meet more people. It's great that you're getting advice on this platform. You'll only continue to learn more when you hear from more perspectives.

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Jake’s Answer

I am a UX designer with an interest in coding. To me, the main difference is when you're designing, there's not really a prescribed solution to the problems you are trying to solve. Sure there are trends and best practices, but it is up to you to come up with an effective solution. From my (granted, limited) experience with coding, it's more of searching for an answer that already exists; you just have to find the best way to do things, usually from what others have already done. This isn't to say developers can't be innovative and solve problems in new ways, it just seems that the innovation stage of design is much easier to reach and, to me, more exciting.

I think it really comes down to whether you'd be happy building other people's designs, or are you like me, and you'd rather design the things yourself. I don't mean to put one above the other, both are incredibly important of course!

Jake recommends the following next steps:

Find developers and designers to job shadow
Look for internships with a company that has designers and developers working closely together
Consider becoming a "designer/developer unicorn" who has skills on both side!
Take on side projects to explore each path

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Hunter’s Answer

Software Engineer here. I started out doing both the design and implementation while working on school and personal projects in college. However once i started my professional career i quickly realized that:

1. I enjoyed actually coding and implementing things better
2. There are a lot of people that have WAY better taste than me

I really like puzzles and when i get a new mockup from our designer i kinda see it as the picture on the outside of a puzzle box. I then go and find how it should fit all together with code (html, css, js). Which to me, is a lot more fun.

So one way to look at it would be: Do you want to paint the puzzles or solve the puzzles?

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Eric’s Answer

It depends on what impact on the products that you're working on.

Designers will be expected to think a lot more about the real-world user experience for the product, while developers will have to spend a vast majority of the time actually doing the implementation. You can think of designers as the architects of the product, while the developer is the builder.

Developers have some influence, but their main responsibility is to take the design from a sketch into reality.

Eric recommends the following next steps:

Take a look at the answers on this quora question! https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-a-web-developer-and-a-web-designer
Talk to specific designers and developers that you know to get a rounded view
For design, take a look at https://dribbble.com/ for inspiration
For engineering, build a small project using tools like https://reactjs.org/docs/create-a-new-react-app.html

Thank you soooo much!!Eric C L.

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Julia’s Answer

Some great answers here! I came to UX from a different field (not engineering) because I gravitated towards wanting to work with people, understand their problems and make life easier for them. Once I realized that this was my passion, the next step was easy. So I would echo everyone that said it depends on where your personal sweet spot is. The nice part is that whichever you choose, there will always be an appreciations for a 'T-shaped' skillset. A developer who understands UX is just as great as a UX person who can prototype or know how things will get build eventually. And since nothing is life is stagnant, there is also no law that says that whichever way you choose is a forever decision.

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Mira’s Answer

I am a UI/UX designer who also loves the coding side of web development. You do not have to decide between either.

I recommend staying a designer and continuing to grow your coding skills. You will become an invaluable asset to any development team because you "get it" when you design something. You will know how to quickly adjust a design if it's technically difficult to implement without sacrificing the design. I've had to suffer through developers trying to solve design problems in less-than-aesthetically-pleasing ways because the designer asked for something outrageous. It's also extremely satisfying to be the designer that developers love to work with because not only can you design something beautiful, it's easy to implement too!

There is also the balance of pushing the limits of the design too. Having the knowledge of how it gets implemented will only help you figure out where to push development for the sake of design.

Then for finding roles, you should definitely push that you have ABC skills of a designer plus XYZ skills of a developer, making you worth more than a normal UI/UX Designer. Push for more money than your fellow designers because you do have other skills they won't have.

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Hyesun’s Answer

Hello, I'm a software developer intern. Firstly, congrats on your first step in web development!
I also thought about becoming a UI/UX designer, but I am currently experiencing with software development. There's a course in my school that is related to UI/UX design, and I could learn how UI/UX is applied to actual products. I liked to know about that, but I noticed that that is not my thing. UI/UX design has a little bit vague to me. For sure, it could be controversial, but at least for me, software development has a very clear concept.
I recommend you to take some UI/UX course and try a small project to know whether you'd like or not.
Kudos for your career! :)

Hyesun recommends the following next steps:

Take at least one online UI/UX design course
Take an in-depth information interview with develop and UI/UX designer

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Simona’s Answer

Web developer (software engineer) would give you a broader scope of professional choices. UX designers are also in demand but there are also more people doing it. The number of women in tech is rising but the field is still dominated by men, this mean that there is still a lot of room for growth for women.


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Mohammad Rameez’s Answer

To be a designer or a developer completly depends on personal choice. Both designers and developers solve problems. But the way of thinking for both is different. But until you try you will not understand what are you more interested in.

My suggestion would be to try designing while you code. In this way you will understand what are you more interested in. As per my experience the wider your experiences are better chances for you to survive in this industry.

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Kirthan’s Answer

I am a Product Designer based out of Austin. I started my career as a software developer and transitioned to the design field. Having been on both sides, I can say that when I was a developer I liked executing & building products/ launching them, I spent a lot of time finding out ways to implement solutions; over the years I found that my interests shifted towards identifying and solving the most important problems. I feel like I create a bigger impact this way and I have fulfillment. Knowing about both design and development helps me a lot in tieing things together & collaborating.

Kirthan recommends the following next steps:

Find short internships in both development & design fields and identify what you like the most.
Meet people, ask them what they do in their job & see if that is something you want to be doing.
Design & build a product of your own and identify which phase you like the most.

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