Hey guys, two days ago I started my summer job in Bounce. I joined their team as a React Native front-end developer. And honestly, it has been a learning experience. Working at a startup is way different than working at a consulting company.
My first startup experience.
Do you know when they say working in a startup is like sprinting all the time?
It exactly is like that.
I am so happy about it ;)
Also my tech background iscoming handy and I missed coding. Unlike many UI/UX designers I am coming from a strong tech background. I will graduate in 8 months from Computer Science degree and I understand what K-1 algorithms are(no you don't need this for being a UI/UX designer).
Yet, a question I still ask my self is how important is it for a designer to know how to code?
Now, Prototypr gave a decent answer to this question a year ago.
Well, why the hell are you writing this article then, Ahmet?
Because the problem is not in the answer but the question.
Should a UX designer learn how to code is an ambiguous question
The problem here is pretty simple. We don't have a good definition of coding in the question. Programming is a complex field. A picture is a thousand words. Look at the image below:
Now, learning HTML/CSS to a decent level might take you a few months top. Learning to implement genetic algorithms will take a tad bit longer than that ;)
Thus, the question usually is missing a key component of specificity.
How about we change the question to this:
Should a UX designer have a basic idea of how the technology industry they are
Benefits of knowing just enough coding for the specific industry you are working at as a designer
There are many benefits to knowing just enough code to understand how the technology you are designing for works. On top of my head, there are 3 primary benefits.
1.You will communicate with developers better
Let' say you are a UX designer that specializes in Saas web applications.
You did your research, you talked to the dev team and everything went supportive till you deliver the high fidelity prototype. The front end enginner of your team wants to talk to you in private.
He is worried about the technical debt and he says:
"The change in the pages will take at least 2 weeks to integrate with browser compatibility. Here is a compromise solution I came up with."
You want to understand what the hell is browser compatibility and why is it making your designs turn to shit.
2.You will have the ability to get your ideas out there
You can build the MVP of your product. Thus, for those of you who want to start your startup in the future as designers, coding will be an indispensable skill for you.
Look at how Pieter Levels launched 12 ideas in 12 months with just a basic ability in coding. If you want to ship products and test if the potential customer will not only use but buy from you, learning to code is a good investment.
3.A new way of thinking to solve problems will help you
While both programmers and designers solve problems for clients, the way they solve problems differ. Programmers think much more in terms of functionality while UX designers most often rely on visual problem-solving.
If you want to get better at figuring out what kind of data you need in each page or screen you are creating in wireframe learning to code will help you a lot.
What kind of the company do you want to work for?
1.UX design position in startups and small Consulting Companies
Here is a UI/UX designer startup job post from angel.co where the job posting says:
Experience working with WordPress is considered an asset
Up-to-date with the latest UI trends, techniques, and technologies
Degree or diploma in design, or related experience
Experience working in a fast-paced agency environment"
A small startup and a consulting agency will have their employees wear much more different hats. Also, you will work closely with multiple departments all at once because the size of company is too small.
Remember, each tie you bring a developer a design solution that will
2.UX design position in big companies such as Apple, Amazon
The larger the company gets, the less they care about your coding skill. Because of the company's size, people get to specialize and your communication with dev team changes as well.
You may not even be a UI/UX designer but the job roles might be:
- UI designer
- UX Researcher
- UX Writer
Where should I start learning how to code as a designer?
Sites to Learn Programming
Specific Online Courses For Programming
- Learn Web Designing & HTML5/CSS3 Essentials in 4-Hours by Brad Hussey from Udemy
- HTML Essential Training by Jen Simmons from Lynda
Books to learn Programming
Call to Action
What do you think about learning to program to improve your career as a UI/UX designer?