Recently, I’ve kept coming across tons of discussions about the web design industry. One of the most heated debates I read is whether designers should code or not. Some say they’re designer (obviously, the title already told it all), they just do design, let the coders code. On the contrary, others assume that designers should be familiar with the development process cause most job openings nowadays have called for designers to be proficient in several programming languages.
Ok, I know it’s a never-ending argument. Everyone has their own points. But, wait a minute. Maybe we did put the question in the wrong meaning. It shouldn’t be, “should designers code?” but rather, “Should designers know how to code” and “How much code should they know?”.
Imagine you are doing a project but you can’t communicate clearly and effectively with your developers, how can your design become more realistic and less subject to changes? By equipping yourself with a solid foundation in coding, you and your programmers can speak a common language and be able to understand each other. Knowing how to code not only broadens your knowledge but also can go a very long way.
Believe it or not, if you are not ahead of the times, you are behind them. While you’re reading this article, tech employers out there are already looking for unicorns who are designers knowing how to code.
With that in mind, the following is some “a piece of cake” guidelines that can help you to “know code enough to be awesome”.
Get familiar with basic HTML, CSS
When it comes to building a website, you can’t avoid mentioning HTML and CSS.
HTML is the main language used to write webpages and used by your browser to display your site to the user. In short, it allows the system to know what is supposed to be an image, and what is supposed to be text copy.
CSS is used to format the look and feel of a website, separate from the actual content of the web page. It allows for things like the color of text, the background, the shape, size and position of all different parts of a page to be set.
If you master HTML and CSS, you’ll be able to code up any web design you can dream of. How wonderful! There are plenty of online resources to learn HTML and CSS. I recommend you to start your coding journey with these great sites: Khan Academy and Codecademy. Both sites provide free, interactive and highly structured courses on HTML and CSS.
Besides, you can find out more resources here.
Give it a shot. Why not?
It’s time to get your hands dirty! As I always said before, you will be the best solider when you’re fighting with the real world enemy. Watching or reading the course won’t help you learn the most but taking the time to try it out, practice it in the real code will do to create a website. Maybe a couple. Make them look nice.
If you fail, oh dear everybody fails for the first time, just do it again. Failure isn’t permanent, quitting is.
To be honest, coding isn’t for everyone. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that designers should never learn code. If you can’t code, that’s totally fine. You are a designer, just go back to doing the stuff you are good at. But, if you are thinking of giving coding a try (I presume you are here for that reason), then don’t hesitate to go for it. It will give you a chance to dominate the web world.