Web designers and web developers individually have a lot of work to do. Each has a plethora of tasks they must complete for their company or client, often with strict deadlines. All of those responsibilities and expectations can lead to a lot of pressure. However, some may thrive under having many deeds and designs to accomplish. Being just one or the other may not satisfy them as much as combining the two could. So can you be a web designer and developer?
First, it is crucial to learn what each position entails. Those who are not yet a web designer or developer but are considering trying their hand at both must know what they will have to do before deciding. Such knowledge could make or break the plan they are laying out for themselves. Here is a look at what web designers do, what web developers do, and if it is feasible to do both at the same time.
What Does a Web Designer Do?
Web designers will be responsible for the flow and visual appeal of a website. They have the slightly more creative job of the two. A web designer’s duties include looking at the fonts, buttons, colors, pages, and overall layout of the site they are responsible for and ensuring users enjoy using it. Part of this responsibility is designing webpages to entice visitors to click through the site or make a purchase if that is the client’s objective.
The interfaces they craft should not only make people want to visit the website, but encourage them to make repeat visits. An excellent web designer must stay up to date with the latest design trends in order to create both a modern design but also one that stays timeless. Remember what websites first looked like when the internet first went live? Web designers help make sure sites avoid becoming as dated as those appear now.
It also helps a web designer to know a little about human psychology. What makes the brain want to click on something or perceive a site as authoritative? Which colors have the influence they want on a person and how do those shades affect their moods? How can they design a website that is easy to navigate but does not appear childish to appeal to all audiences? Each menu format and “Learn More” button can help web designers influence many to use the sites they design.
They should also know a bit of coding so they can manage the website’s software, establish links, format programming languages, and make sure everything is compatible. They may also stay on with a client to perform any seasonal changes, ad requirements or promotions. A website designer may even become the site’s manager. However, this may remain up to the client’s discretion, as they may want to maintain their own website and refer to the designer when they require updates.
What Is a Web Developer Responsible For?
Like a web designer, developers must stay on top of the latest improvements in their field. A new language could always come about and businesses may want their developer to be as proficient in it as possible. Keeping track of new developments could help a web developer become more attractive to potential clients. While design tends to adapt and change over time, technology tends to be a bit faster. This is why staying abreast of learning opportunities is essential for web developers.
There are also a few kinds of web developers. Though their jobs are slightly different, they all contribute to the same purpose — ensuring a flawless user experience and committing to learning throughout their careers.
The front-end developer is responsible for the intractability of the website. Anything that is clickable, seeable or usable is the work of the front-end developer. They are concerned with the user experience — or UX — because they must bring the face of the website to life.
This position may sound similar to a web designer, but they are still very distinct jobs. The web designer is responsible for planning out the visuals, but the front-end developer must work with the code to integrate those ideas into an interactive site.
As the name implies, back-end developers work on everything behind the scenes. They are more concerned with server functionality, meaning they polish data security and storage. Their job essentially consists of everything a user cannot see when they visit a site.
Some of their responsibilities may include ensuring a website’s speed, testing the interface to address any bugs, and building the site’s framework. A back-end developer may also need to be familiar with languages like Java, Ruby, and Python.
Full-stack developers combine the jobs of back-end and front-end developers. They are required to work on the server side and user side of a website. The management, functionality and interactability of the site are completely up to them. Therefore, they will need to know a variety of programming languages and be excellent with deadlines.
Can You Be a Web Designer and Developer?
Now comes the answer to the all-important question. Can you be a web designer and developer at the same time?
Yes! These careers are closely related to one another, even with their differences in responsibilities. In fact, even if a person stays within one job or the other, they will likely work with their counterparts quite frequently. Those starting as freelancers might also find knowing both aspects very fruitful in the beginning because they can take on a lot more projects than if they were strictly a web developer or web designer.
However, someone taking on the job of both must be prepared for the level of responsibility such a position entails. They will be responsible for every single part of a website’s development. Therefore, they must commit themselves to learning all they can about their industry constantly. It may behoove those just starting out to stick with one trade and branch out into the other when they feel comfortable instead of jumping in.
Being a Web Designer and Developer
Though the names sound rather similar, web developers and web designers have entirely different jobs. One is responsible for crafting the visuals and convertibility of a website, while the other must know how to build a site and develop it into a functioning page. Both of these require immense skill and dedication, so can you be both at once?
Yes, you absolutely can. This combined role will take on the responsibilities of each position and offer clients the total package. As long as these people can stay on top of deadlines and commit to a career full of learning every day, they may be able to find success at being a web designer and developer.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.