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Is web dev vital in this industry?

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by gcol90, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. gcol90

    gcol90 Junior Member

    I might have asked this question before, not sure, might have been another forum.

    But yeah, is it a necessity these days that 'designers' know how the ins and outs of web development? I mean, I did 4 years at university, first year was computing and we did a module of web, second year we were able to choose a module to build upon for our degree, and I chose web because I was *okay* at the front end stuff. Second year it was completely different, it was all the back end stuff and I hated it. It was all PHP and MySQL, ActionScript, which was just horrible. I ended up changing to something that was closer to what I liked doing (and was half decent at, at least more so than web), and had to spend an extra year at uni.

    Now, when I'm looking at jobs I see, along the lines of;

    "GRAPHIC DESIGNER, must have an eye for design etc. etc. be competent in Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, and have knowledge of WordPress blah blah, must have experience of MCV framework, software patterns, test-driven design, and version control. HTML 5, CSS, JQuery, Javascript, PHP, MYSQL is required etc."

    That's just an example, might have over exaggerated some skills needed but, pretty much every design position I see includes some front and back end web developer skills.

    So my question is, am I gonna have to start learning web? At least CSS, HMTL (again) and WordPress?
     
  2. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    That is NOT a graphic designer, I'm sorry but that's a jack of all trades master of none job.

    My perspective, being able to code is not needed but it's useful to at least have an understanding of what can and can't be done etc
     
    GilmoreVisuals likes this.
  3. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    The web is dying off. I'd get into print.
     
    wac, The Simulator and gcol90 like this.
  4. Actually that's part of a growing number of job postings that ask for people who don't exist. I'm sorry but unless you've been studying for 10 years, by which time the first things you learned will be outdated, then you cannot be that advanced in both areas.

    This problem exists usually because of low standards, from both the client and the employer and it's always the design that suffers, because it's not as easy to quantify your experience and knowledge in that area; it's easy to list off a bunch of languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SCSS, SASS, MySQL etc etc...) but it's not so easy to quickly 'tell' someone how good a designer you are.

    I don't think that web is dying off, I think it is just evolving and adapting, something that humans tend to struggle with. There will come a time when print no longer exists, and everything is done digitally. I've already seen people suggesting digital alternatives to business cards on LinkedIn. I think that in such a fast moving industry it would be better to evaluate your skill set every few years and determine which ones are going to be in the most demand, and if you need to start learning new things. You don't want to be that guy using web 2.0 buttons in 2014..!

    As more and more tools come along to simplify design, which they will, I think the need for a "graphic designer" is most definitely dropping. If there was a product that could build a fantastic website, was efficiently coded, easy to modify without coding knowledge and not too expensive it would be insanely successful because that's what everyone wants. Something easier, more advanced and less expensive than what they currently have. When that happens, lots of graphic and web designers will be out of work, indefinitely. So I think Scotty is right in that sense, but it will be a long time before computers can generate bespoke design products, so that's one area of web and design that won't be going anywhere any time soon.

    Just think, what's going to be the next WordPress? I'm not looking forward to the day when clients have full control over the design of their marketing materials - and perhaps that is what will keep design professionals in work!
     
  5. rashi

    rashi New Member

    yes,definately.
     
  6. Xenonsoft

    Xenonsoft Active Member

    For me it depends what you're looking to get into. As Levi says, having a basic knowledge of how websites a built will never do you any harm. For me I'd recommend every web designer understand at least the basic concepts of how websites are built. I wouldn't say this is a necessity, but I'd recommend it, it will certainly make you a better web designer.

    Obviously, if you're looking more towards illustration, identity, branding or print, then I'd steer clear of bothering much with web technologies. If you can nail that area that will provide a lot more worth than diversifying into another area.

    Sean makes a good point about where the industry is going, and it is something I think about relatively regularly. I'd imagine that in terms of web design, they'll always be a need for art directors, illustrators etc. Things that computers can't do, but the do it yourself website makers will probably gain more of the market for those that aren't picky about websites and think they know enough about websites themselves to get by. Back end developers should be pretty safe though I'd have thought, I can't see a computer taking that job. Overall I guess print designers & front-end designers/developers will be the ones to be under pressure the most in the coming years.

    So I guess in summary, if you're a web designer then learning some web development basics is recommended, if you're an illustrator/brand developer/print designer then don't bother, it's not relevant to you.

    For me I started out solely in design, making layouts in Photoshop. I then started learning the basics of front end code (HTML/CSS mainly). From there I learnt some PHP and just kept going down that route. Most of all I'd say see where your passion lies and then become excellent in that area. For me my passion is spread across quite a few areas (design, development, videography, photography) so I'm developing all areas, although focussing in mainly on anything that's relevant to front-end design & development.
     
  7. Welcome back to DF Fred, I haven't been around for a while so this might be a little late!

    The only thing I wonder about design, is that as time progresses, there is a seemingly limitless number of templates for all design jobs, which are only getting better in quality, perhaps design too will one day consist of two dominant levels, template and custom, with only those with large budgets considering a custom design/brand. This would mean much fewer small/mid level projects as more businesses turn to templates for their design requirements. I'm sure in a few years time the template scene will have evolved and whole branding packages will be on offer in template form, to much more credible standards.

    Development is always linked to the rate of technological progression, of which it is most likely one of the fastest progressing sectors around. There will always be a need for people with technical abilities to communicate between humans and computers, there will always be new platforms to develop on, which does have the unfortunate side effect of giving tech knowledge a some what limited shelf life, but design is just design, whether it's printed, displayed on a monitor or projected as a hologram. People are definitely going to have to plan their skill sets, possibly much more so than people had to in the past.

    I'm also a hybrid designer/coder; I know HTML/CSS as well as a little bit of javascript and PHP, but it's not my focus and I can't say that I love working in the front/back end. However, I am with Fred on this one as there is no denying that it has made me a much, much better designer, especially with web and interface design.


    Perhaps different types of design will be the focus of change, as we move from print to digital, to virtual reality and who knows what else.
     
  8. wac

    wac Senior Member

    It was only a few short years ago that, if you were a graphic designer who created visual concepts for websites, coding knowledge may have been handy but not at all essential. Now that we’re ever more submerged in a mobile first design ethos, we have to approach web concepts in a different way. Before you could create a visual in Photoshop or Illustrator that could be a carbon copy of how the end product would look. Now we have to design with responsiveness in mind so I would say having a reasonable knowledge of HTML and CSS is essential. It’s not complicated but a few weeks going through tutorials on sites like W3 Schools will give a forward thinking designer the tools they need to create responsive visuals without veering to drastically into the jack of all trades scenario.

    That being said, if you cut me in half you’ll see the word GRAPHIC DESIGNER runs all the way through me like a stick of Blackpool rock and yet 90% of my work is web design, front and back. In short, we must diversify to survive sometimes.
     
  9. Xenonsoft

    Xenonsoft Active Member

    Hi Sean, thanks for the welcome back. To be fair I've not been around for a long while and just pop on here every now and then, I'd like to make it a more regular habit but we'll see!

    Your point about templates meeting the needs of the majority is certainly an interesting one and I wouldn't bet against it. It's going to be very interesting to see how things work moving forwards. If templates become the go-to way rather than bespoke design & build, and if the competition in web design/development continues to grow, this means there'll be much less jobs on offer and much more people competing for them. So if it does come true that templates meet the majority, it could make for a very competitive (read: difficult) future for web designers.

    I agree about the need for developers not diminishing too.

    Wac, you make a good point about the impact of responsive design. For me I'm working on a project at the moment and the considerations for responsive are simply huge. I'm trying to build a timeline that works horizontally on large screens, and vertically on small and medium screens. To design something that fits both of these and is actually achievable in code really requires some knowledge about roughly how it would be done, and even then it can be a tad confusing.

    The basics of HTML & CSS definitely have a huge benefit and are recommended for anyone working with the web.
     

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