5 Reasons Designers Should Learn to Code

Posted on May 15, 2015 | Updated on December 19, 2020

5 Reasons Designers Should Learn to Code

There are many web designers that believe web design and coding are separate disciplines. However, there are several strong reasons why today’s designers should familiarize themselves with code. Keep reading to learn some of them.

1. You’ll Enjoy More Freedom

If you’re a designer who doesn’t know anything about coding, that means you’ll probably stay locked into the confines of whatever design program you use. In contrast, understanding code means you’ll feel more equipped to depend on that knowledge to fill in the gaps left by your design software.

2. You’ll Have Full Control Over the Way Your Designs Look

Whenever you team up with a coder and tell him or her how you want your designs to come out, there inevitably becomes a time where the coder will have to make some compromises and even start tinkering with some aspects of your design.

That may not seem like a big deal to the coder, but it can mean that your project doesn’t match your vision. Once you get to the point where you’re skilled enough to code on your own, there’s no need to depend on another person to bring that design to life.

3. You’ll Have a Better Idea of What’s Technically Feasible

It can be so frustrating to have a vivid idea of a design in your mind’s eye, only to be told by your coder it’s not technically possible to pull off, due to the restrictions of a particular programming language. If you become determined to learn at least the basic fundamentals of coding, you should gain a sense of whether or not your projects are technically achievable before you even start designing them.

4. You’ll Be Better Able to Express Your Desires When Speaking to Coders

Getting familiarized with coding also means you’ll learn the lingo that coders speak everyday. Perhaps you can’t see a time in the near future when you’ll be comfortable enough with coding so as to not need to work with a full-time coding expert at all. However, when you have a grasp of the terminology coders use in their line of work, there’s a better chance you’ll be able to have confident and effective discussions about what you want your designs to look like.

5. You’ll Save Time

Even when you’re still getting the hang of coding, it’ll be easy to see how much time you can save. If you don’t know how to code at all, that probably means you have no choice to make mock-ups of your designs in a software program, and then hand those over to someone who can create the code.

Once you’re able to take care of both the design and the respective code, that streamlines your workflow and means you can start working out the coding aspect sooner. The alternative is spending a significant amount of time on the mock-ups, and then needing someone else to tackle the next phase.

Helpful Resources

Now that you know a few reasons why it’s helpful to be a designer who can code, you may be wondering how to dive in and start expanding your skill sets. Codecademy, Khan Academy and Coursera are just a few of the many places you can learn to code for free. See more resources in my last post.

Learning anything new takes effort and dedication, but as explained above, coding ability can reduce some of the limitations you face as a designer and help you feel more prepared to handle design projects without relying on outside parties.

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