This! Staying current and always learning is what I think makes the difference between a good and a great dev. Unless coding is your primary focus, it’s just not realistic to stay on top of everything. Things move so fast. I learned that the hard way – I wrote software for almost 15 years. I stopped for 8 to have my kids and now I can hardly write a SQL query!
Like to say a lot but writing down some.
Anybody can learn to program. The only thing is you need to put effort, dedication, patience and moreover passion. I will never prefer anybody to get to program for their employer. Because if you are learning it for someone, you will always be bounded inside their requirement and won’t get the chance to feel the best part of programming. So do it for yourself. Caution Programming is vast
Before starting designing as my mainstream, I was a programmer and worked with an array of languages/technologies. And then I stopped it once I started. But I only stopped for the employers, not for myself. I Still writes a lot of code for my projects and still loves coding.
Does programming skill influence my design? Big Yes! some quick points about it
The main part of my design workflow is entirely based on different programming methodologies and paradigms.
System Level Thinking.
Better bridging with developers.
But now, in a job, as a UX Designer? If I do, it’s by choice, but I hardly do (none in the past 4 years). If a recruiter reaches out with a job description that requires some FE coding skills, I politely tell them they are not looking for a UX Designer.
@amirrr made a good point, a UX Designer is supposed to be in so much already: strategy, user research, testing, wireframing, UI design,…coding is simply out of scope if you focus on the full UX. Unfortunately employers don’t fully understand what UX is, as they just think it’s about defining the placement of UI elements on the screen, and taking care of the FE implementation seems like a reasonable thing to ask in their minds.
This might be a really fundamentalist thing to say: if you’re doing any front-end development as a ‘UX Designer’, there is no way you’re really doing UX. Sounds more like UI Design.
Yet again Don Norman explaining his definition of UX, and what UX Designers do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BdtGjoIN4E
Of course, there is an issue in terms of maturity. Look at our curriculum, many of us have been in development for years and years, guessing something in the process was wrong, and then switched to UX as a matured status. It needs time, and frustration.
I always feel sad when I hear people talking about UX just in terms of usability of interfaces (i.e. low maturity). It’s sad but at the same time normal. UXD is a difficult subject… coding is hard but UXD has a different type of hardness. If you code you immediately see your output, how can we say the same for UX research, strategy, testing, design, iterations, etc.? We are not focused on the matter, we are focused on the experience through matter (and I find hardness even in reading this last statement! ) I don’t blame people, we can’t expect maturity from people. It’s the environment that has to be already set by a UX matured person.
Awesome! Indeed, only a person who understands what designing experiences is about, can grow a team towards that. For example, I think people at InVision are doing this really really right, they are building a super human-centered design company.
I dont do coding. But now I have problem with a team. They requires it, but I want to focus on substantial things which UX do. One UX in the team knows coding, so they naturally thinks I will do it too. Would you please recomend me how to ‘‘defend’’ in this situation?
Frankly, I dont have ‘‘brain’’ for coding and I never will, sure it is realy reallyy huge plus when UX knows coding, but UX is so wide and I think its in no one’s power to know everything. By UX I do copywriting and a bit of marketing consultancy, so I think its enough for my brain.
Here’s my issue with wanting a UX position to code - the thought process behind design, more specifically UI design, but design in general - is that it uses a different side of the brain than coding does. I can code some rudimentary HTML/CSS stuff, but if I start going down the coding rabbit hole, my design work turns to garbage. It’s a left / right brain sort of thing, and it’s hard for me to “switch” back and forth between creative thinking vs procedural thinking, which is what’s required during coding. Likewise, if I’m doing design work, my code is terrible.
Some small projects want a unicorn, but I don’t think it’s the right choice from staffing perspective. Budget-wise, it’s all some can afford. However, I don’t think most people can do the two tasks well simultaneously.
Luckily, my current job doesn’t require coding, although I do manage a team of coders in addition to UX work, which is another thing entirely…
Lot of talk about T-shaped people. So it is perfectly possible that your fellow UX’er knows how to code, and chooses to do it, and that you don’t. Explain that coding is not within your area of expertis, but that you can contribute to other areas of the project life cycle, which is perfectly acceptable. Don’t let yourself get foced into coding, because it won’t benefit anybody.
Excellent advice. Thank you.
Happy to answer the question directly, and then to share some additional context.
I code (HTML, CSS, JS) pretty much every single day.
Whether you code or not is a personal decision. For me, it really comes down to what you want out of your career.
Everyone’s skill-set is different. There is no single right path. If you know that you want to specialize, that’s awesome. You can have a rewarding career as a specialist. If you excel at your craft, you can also do extremely well financially.
All of that said, here are some things you might consider:
- If you ever want to design at early stage startups (50 employees or less), you’ll more than likely need to pick up some coding skills (basic HTML/CSS).
- You may have a good reason for not wanting to learn to code. That said, if you’ve never tried it, it may be worth taking some time to try and understand your reason for not wanting to code. My guess is that if you dig deep enough, the underlying reason will be fear. Fear that you’re too old. Fear that it will take too long. Fear that you don’t have the time. Fear that you’ll never been good at it. etc…
- If you’re just starting out, I’d highly recommend experimenting with lot’s of different skills including coding. Who knows, you may end up actually loving it.
I know there are some strong opinions here. Please know that I’m not trying to offend anyone. I hope this helps!
This crossed my monitor today.
Haha, interesting to turn the question around: should devs do design?
I’ve been part of this debate before actually. What are your thoughts?
Obviously you don’t want a dev to be responsible, let alone accountable for design and research. I do feel it benefits a dev if they are involved in the design process, and not simply to consult from a technical perspective, but to attend creative workshops, user research sessions, and that sort of stuff. The purpose of involving a dev in the design process is to allow them to better understand what design is about, and to appreciate certain design choices that have been made. Same goes for a designer being involved in coding.
Having at least some knowledge benefits the cooperation between the 2 disciplines, and I think that should be the purpose. But you don’t want to put either of them in the lead of the other discipline, or even give them responsibility. Just as you wouldn’t let either of them do accounting (love that analogy from Cooper)
Alan Cooper’s part 3 response to this is great - it’s about responsibilities and having a clear and shared understanding of the goal.