UX and design is not where I started my career. It was a long path that started in journalism and took me through working in a call center and as a software engineer.
I taught myself both how to code and how to do UX design, and as a result my development skills are a step above what you’d see in a lot of designers. I count HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, JSON, SQL and MySQL among my main development skills, with a fair knowledge of other bits and pieces, depending on what I’ve had to work on over the years. I worked as a developer for a couple of years before moving into strictly UX design.
So my experience here is a little skewed, but provides a unique insight.
It’s important to recognize that it’s very difficult to be good at both design and development. This is partially due to the changing nature of the work.
Both disciplines require you to be diligent about keeping up with changes in industry, techniques, and software. Doing so requires a dedication to consistent continuous self-education. Finding time to keep pace is difficult enough in a single discipline, let alone two.
Compounding the problem is that UX and development require very different skills. UX professionals deal with research, design, requirements refinement, and communication on a near-constant basis; developers, on the other hand, are usually more focused on writing code and shepherding a project through the dev cycle.
For me, I still try to keep up with both, but I admit that my dev skills are rusty compared to my UX skills. I do side projects to keep them sharp, read what I can, and learn something new every week - but I simply don’t have the time or energy to put into it what it needs to stay top-notch.