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How do I decide between a Web Designer and Web Developer Degree?

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This article looks at some of the similarities and differences in designing and developing. DegreeQuery did an article titled-What is the Difference in a Degree in Web Design and Development? The information in that post focused more on the degree and job differences. This report takes the perspective of understanding the traits of each. This should help you choose which one best suits your talents and aspirations.

What type are you?

Web designers tend to experience the world in a visual way. They may see words as pictures or learn by making up visual representations of the information. For example, if a web designer visited Disney World, he/she would focus first on the overall “vibe” of the theme park and the layout of the attractions. The colors, shapes, names, and other visual aspects would grab the designer’s attention.

The web developers are generally more logical and analytical. They also tend to see the world as a vast collection of data to use for different purposes. Using the same example of visiting Disney World, a web developer is more apt to focus on the details of the physics of the rides and the number of visitors the park could accommodate. She/he may look at the layout of the buildings from a construction perspective.

Professional developers advise that logical thinking is important. You need the ability and desire to wrestle with complex issues and make sense of them. You must also be a problem solver, which again uses your logic as well as demanding an element of creativity.

Who likes Code?

There is a myth that web designers do not use code. There are some designers who don’t code, particularly print designers and some digital graphic designers. However, most web designers turn their designs into working prototypes using HTML and CSS (cascading style sheets). In order to expand your job options and benefit your career, you should learn code. Those who can code, especially those that have next-level skills like Sass and JavaScript, are in greater demand. Sass (Syntactically awesome style sheets) is a style sheet language.

By acquiring the basics of programming languages, designers automatically improve their skills. Knowing which language is used and how it is used helps to develop a better understanding of what is technically feasible and what is not. Understanding code saves time in the design phase. It is also beneficial for the practical implementation of creative ideas. Experts in the profession of design recommend starting with HTML and CSS and then move to Ruby on Rails (a server-side web application framework)  .

Ruby is a programming language. Rails is a software library that extends the Ruby programming language.

People Oriented?

Both the designer and the developer require people skills. The needs of designers, developers, clients, and customers have to be perfectly aligned in order to create an outstanding product. This means that communication is a big part of every web developer’s job. You have to be able to make other people understand technical problems. The web developer may have more in-house communication than his/her counterpart in web design. The developer will need to explain technical features to non-technical colleagues in the office. In addition, you will collaborate with content creators or graphic designers to review the text and images that will be placed on the website, and where they will fit into the layout.

The web designer could be tasked with assignments from various clients. This requires meeting in-person or visual conference to discuss the client’s ideas for the project. In the design of a website, the client will have specific wishes and purpose for the design work. At times, your communication skills could make or break a proposal. You may need to convey a price quote to a client.

Screen Time

Both jobs involve a lot of computer time. For the designer, you spend hours daily designing websites and conducting interactive design sessions. This is where you design and refine websites together with clients in real time as they watch a screen using web conferencing technology.

Web developers may spend hours daily doing programming and developing a company or client’s website, or taking a few hours to implement new platforms and functions. You may do some research online to learn about new technologies and tools that could improve the way you develop sites.

Corporate or Freelance

If you prefer to work for one company, then you will likely assume the position of either a developer or designer. Whereas, individuals who prefer freelance may assume the role of both. As a freelance, your workday will typically include a combination of design and development work, consulting with clients, and business development.

In the corporate world, you could spend up to 60% of your time designing/developing features for a client’s site. Other time is spent addressing feasibility and functionality questions for members of the Accounts team.

Related Articles:

What is the Difference in a Degree in Web Design and Web Development?

What is the Difference between a Degree in Graphic Design and Web Design?

What Degree Do People With A Job in Web Operations Engineering Have?

What are some of the Bachelor Degree Choices in Web Development?

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