I have pondered this question throughout my career because I want to focus on my strengths and my natural limits, regardless if it makes other business entrepreneurs gag. "Its better to embrace your limits and be successful then ignore them and look like a moron!" -unknown.
I've seen so many people in web development fit in one of two categories (rarely do I see someone fit in both equally), one is a web developer/programmer (thinks more technically/methodically) and other is a graphic designer (thinks more abstractly). If I am not sure which category I fit in, what principles can I apply to myself so I know what category I fit in most? Am I thinking two narrow with my definitions? Can I avoid learning this answer through plain trail and error?! I see no clear answer to this. Anyone have any threads, articles, books on this question?
IMHO, if you have an eye for design and can use PhotoShop/FireWorks/Gimp, and understand CSS, then go for design. If, OTOH, you apply logic to everything and over-analyze things, go for development.
If you can do and enjoy development, I suggest development with a CS degree. It tends to pay more and you can still do both in quite a few positions. I've known designers at smaller companies to go back to school to get CS degrees because they ended up doing almost the exact same thing at lower pay scales. But that really depends on the job and the company.
Personally, I think you should be at least competent in both. It really bothers me when designers completely shun programming and programmers shun any sort of basic design principles. I understand everyone has their own talents and prefers one over the other, but I'm talking about the complete and utter "I don't do that, so I'm not even going to try to learn it" mentality you tend to run into alot.
In the end, pick what you love the most. Both are good. Both are fun.
It's not always to black-and-white. I would LOVE to be proficient in CSS and PhotoShop. I would LOVE to have an eye for aesthetically appealing design.
I've tried learning advanced CSS, but can't (NOT won't) wrap my head around it.
I've tried designing my own personal website, and I've trashed every one because they all look sterile.
I don't have what it takes to be a good, all-around design/develop coder. Many do, but not all.
There is certainly an element of "Jack of all trades, master of none" that you have to be wary of, but there isn't necessarily anything wrong with that. There's a place for everyone (well, most people...), and what's important is to know where your skills and interests lie. I'm sure you will have a feel for whether you are more a coder or an artist by inclination and ability, and to an extent, you have to follow that gut feeling. Yes, you can learn more about the other side of the coin through reading and training, but there's no point in swimming against the current if you have skills that you can put to good use.
I know enough about coding and about aesthetics to make a passable small-scale website. I don't have the programming skills to do anything grandiose or complicated, and I don't have the design skills to create anything fantastically fancy. What I do is fine for basic sites, and that is fine. Basic sites for small businesses don't generally have the budget to hire separate programmers and artists, and don't usually need that level of sophistication anyway.
Equally, any big website will need someone with an overview who has the bigger picture – someone who understands the technical aspects of it (even if they wouldn't necessarily be able to write the code) and gets the visual design side of things (again, even if they wouldn't be able to create those designs). The problem with the division mentality is that there are far too many people who do the technical side without thinking about the aesthetics (or, in many cases, the usability)*, and in another room there are people drawing up wonderfully elaborate designs that don't have a clue about how to turn them into a functional website. The more people who can bridge that divide, the better!
* One of my bugbears at the moment is someone who took over maintenance of a site I designed, who has on several occasions had to be stopped from putting in place complicated technical solutions to non-problems, that would have made the site far less useful and usable to visitors, but who has still not cottoned on to the fact that in a thumbnail gallery, when you've got photos at different aspect ratios you can crop the thumbnails to the same size to create a more visually appealing gallery than where they are higgledy-piggledy all over the place. But of such people is life's rich tapestry woven...
That's completely understandable, there is a reason places like 99designs exist. But, please don't take me the wrong way. I just meant it more as the extreme. When someone completely refuses to even do simple things, whether they are needed or not.
Ug, my last comment is probably going to be taken the wrong way. Oh well.
Always a risk in a typed medium.
It`s actually black, white and gray. you either are a talented designer and you just love to design, and just hate logics, math and coding, or you could be non-talent regarding to creativity and just breathe code, love logics and math, you could be the guy that does a bit of both and thinks outside the box, the guy who can manage coders and designers, or you could have no talent just aspiring to do something despite not being gifted.
Sorry for the designers but they are dying breed in MY opinion. The fact is that most developers know CSS/HTML enough to come up w/ a design. I'm sure designer "may" provide more UX knowledge but that doesn't mean they are always right either. Also, there are many UI frameworks that creates beautiful widgets so that developers do not have to create them like ExtJS/Wijmo/KendoUI/YUI and etc... For this reason, I would take the path as a developer. Even that path branches divides into "Front-end" and "Back-end". To get a job, you only need to be efficient in one but great developer's tends to know both. As said, it's just my opinion so.. please take my advise as 2 cent change.
Even i was confused between the two like you, then i practised both the things for a week and i preferred Design .i use to get bored while doing coding for developing,you too can try same way and see which one you enjoy doing.
Good wisdom. I think I'm the coder type, despite the fact that I have BFA in Graphic Design. I thought I was too stupid to be a coder of any type while I was getting my design degree. Now, sometimes, in design I get so caught up in the abstract, I have a hard time shutting my critical facilities up. But I still love design/UX/UIs and a good color scheme. I still paint, sketch and celebrate a good layout/composition.
My greatest influences when it came to design were Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism. Guess it makes sense that I'm making structured elegant layouts from that influence, huh?
There are always special cases but:
1) As a designer you are going to be averaging $50-$200 for your designs. Logos, web design, etc. $500 maybe.
2) As a programer you are able to bring more functionality and profit to a website and can get a lot more money meaning a company may be willing to pay you $4,000-$10,000 to make a website that can sell products and make the client money.
These are just examples showing the disparity in pricing between design and programming. I don't post in general discussion, apologies if I broke any rules on talking about pricing. If so please delete this post.
I think no other person will give better option than you. You have to check in yourself in your own. If you had an interest in creating a websites in a manner which increases branding and visibility then go for web development. Else if you had a interest in making website catchy, attractive, and convincing to make more visitors to land on page then go for website graphics.
Web design which will increase the customer viewing capability.A web designer will know that how the website should be look like.
Web development is the backbone of the website and interaction among the site.
I think I want to be a web developer. It just seems more fun too!
i think the best way that you can do is to search your own self. What do you think is a kind of job that you enjoy most? or the skill that you want to develop more? You said that "rarely do I see someone fit in both equally", in my own opinion, its because right and left brain hemispheres are not balanced upon using them. As a teacher, it is just like Math and English. There are so many students that are good in Math but they are not good in English subjects like poetry writing or even grammar likewise there are so many students that are good in English but they aren't good in Math. Abstract thinking is in left hemisphere and creative thinking is in right hemisphere. Why not try to equip yourself using them both? It is actually a great challenge for you. I believe you have those skills both.
Funny you bring that up on two reasons...
I was born left handed and then broke my left arm at a young age. Hence forth, I became right handed through consistent use.
Also, there actually has been some studies that indicate that people really aren't left and right brained, but rather top and lower brained.
Check this out
"Top brained" is categorized by vision casting based on the "bottom brained" which gathers data based on what is received through the senses (emotions, experiences, etc). Another article I've read talks about how these top and low brained dichomoties can be put in four categories. But I cannot find that one as of now. Interesting, huh? I am probably more low brained, because I low learning new things involving code. It's easier for me to grab ideas from a pre-existing framework than come with something "completely" new in graphic design.
When challenged with a design project and I know I need to "push" the design further, I experience that horrible "blank" feeling. It's like something in my brain just says "I don't work that way!" and then gives up. But then I hear how people treat creativity like its a muscle. I am concerned I will wasting my time if I try to grow both "left and right" brain modules.
On the other hand, I guess could try getting good at both (design demands risk!), but how do you do that exactly? Draw with my left instead of my right? Talk backwards? (j/k, lol)
Web is constantly changing, I started coding HTML/CSS at Secondary School for an A-Level project some 16 years ago (or so), for me it was mostly design orientated then.
As time has gone on, I'm still very much interested in design (though now extremely rusty) but I have learnt to edit and build themes in WordPress using PHP and enjoyed the coding challenge.
I've also spent a lot of time managing and acting as support for client sites for the last couple of years so I picked up a lot of Linux and hardware related knowledge in order to fix obscure issues that some hosts told me didn't exist or they couldn't explain.
I now get that same creative block, my brain just goes blank but I force myself to draw, doodle, sketch, just anything to get that part of my brain working. Sometimes sketching away bits of other peoples sites just gets shapes and colours working in my head and frees up some ideas. It takes time and practise, you need to keep pushing yourself and it gets easier, like anything it takes practise. Practise, practise, practise.
That helps me anyway, hope it helps you a little
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