There was a time, when being a good designer was a refined skill, and in itself was enough to establish a career. Ten years after working to earn my degree in what was a specialized industry, I’m finding that the skill-set I learned is quickly becoming only a fraction of what I’m expected to know.
I’ve had the realization that if I don’t learn how to code front-end at a minimum, I will be surpassed by younger designers whose college degrees now make that inclusive as part of their studies. They’ll work for less, and have both skills, and probably mildly suck at both, but get the job done, which for many companies out there, is good enough considering the value.
Let me clarify, I’m not totally clueless about code. I change colors, fonts, inspect elements… and I can post up a WordPress website from a purchased theme like it’s nobody’s business! But, if something breaks in code, if something needs debugging, or if something “new” needs to be added to a page, I’m going to need to phone a friend.
In my last job search, I noticed that about 35% of job listings under Art Director, UX/UI, and Interactive Design categories required HTML and CSS. About 30% of listings on top of that “preferred” dev experience. That left me to apply for the remaining 35% with any level of confidence.
Bigger agencies still appreciate specialists and grasp the concept that Design and Development are completely opposite sides of the brain, and that no one individual will be great at both. But, I’m not really a big agency type of gal. I’m into projects… startups, small companies with an entrepreneurial ‘wear-all-the-hats’ type of vibe. So I’m swallowing my art director pride and I’ve decided to learn to code.
I’m taking an online course that cost me all of $35 to prospectively expand my options and career tenfold. It’s 32 hours and will supposedly cover HTML5, CSS3, and Python, followed by jQuery, MySQL 5 and Bootstrap. I don’t expect to come out of this as a developer, but what I hope to achieve is the confidence to add these skills to my resume, to apply them in some context, and to learn enough to apply them in a real world position that puts them to the test.
So… I guess this is the latest phase of being a design sellout. I’m excited about it. Wish me luck… and I’ll let you know how my course goes. If it’s any good, I’ll share a link!