I was submitting a form for a job as UX/UI Designer in Portugal when I saw myself having to answer the question: Should designers code? And the true is, I having been asking myself the exact same question in the last three years as I had to make this decision. To code or not to code?
Even though I have chosen to code, I believe that knowing how to code is not at all what makes a good UX/UI Designer.
The industry is constantly selling the idea that coding is fun, easy, possible, and anybody could and should do it. For me, it demonstrate more of a market problem, as there is a huge demand for it, then the reality about it. Yes, coding can be it all, but more then often, it’s not.
As a Designer I love the “wow” effect I can get after a day of sketching some layouts or illustrations, and as a coder I know that I have to celebrate alone the amazing slider that took me two days to program. When I’m designing my biggest enemy can be a lack of creativity at the moment. When I’m coding my biggest enemy can be anything from a comma to cache in a debbuging situation that at the same time amazes me and pisses me off.
If you, like me in the past, are wondering if you should or not code the question must be what are your motivations, and if you have personal interest and profile. Most of all, I think you should understand if you like to do it or not.
I love to code and I love to design, but I have to admit that I bought the illusion that it would be much simpler than it really is.
When you first see HTML and CSS it can seem really easy to code, but there’s actually a huge gap between being able to build basic interfaces, using or not frameworks, to accomplish a dynamic content website with animations and interactions with a database. And even more hard if you don’t wanna do it like everybody else is doing.
My goal, when I start coding, was to build amazing cool websites, awwward winners, different from the pastellary that internet had became. I also liked the idea of not depending on others to complete a project, and being able to produce the project entirely.
Now that I know more about coding, I understood that what it takes to make an amazing website or app is an amazing team, that is connected, with different personalities and embracing the challenge together.
If you are looking for more ways to improve yourself as a UX / UI Designer, there are lots of paths that can be used in order to not code, or to just code a little bit. Such as After Effects, Framer, InVision, Sketch. I believe that the main keys are not about the tools, but about the inputs you can bring, no matter the way you choose to.
And if you, like me are choosing to code: Welcome! The most amazing thing is the beautiful community that are often promoting cool API’s, free tutorials, lots of documentations, events, parties and help in any part of the learning path. 🙂 Be aware, anyway, that you can find yourself looking at the same black code editor for hours chasing for what went wrong only to find you forgot a semicolon somewhere.