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Designer, Developer, Programmer

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

I recently read a post at Superawesome where they were adding their views to the ongoing discussion of why Web Designers are better if they know xHTML and CSS. As one such Web Designer I would tend to agree, but it doesn’t just stop at xHTML and CSS, what about dynamic languages such as JavaScript, PHP or ASP.

A Little History

Due mainly to a lecture I attended at University held by the founder of Lightmaker and his opinion that his staff should work only in the role he had employed them to work in, I felt even with my degree I was ill prepared for a job in the industry. My skill set never appeared to match correctly with the job opportunities available. When I was offered the position of Web Designer at Bronco it quickly became apparent that by working in a small team I would be required to do more than just push pixels. Instead after two years I not only design but I also code in a range of languages including xHTML, CSS, PHP, Classic ASP, JavaScript and SQL. Because of this I am able to perform every role required to see a project through from start to finish.

My Scenario

As Superawesome wrote you have different workers doing their own job with a lot of handing back and forth of work until completion. Although for large projects we do work in small teams, for smaller projects the team may just be me. In this case I would create the design, develop it in xHTML/CSS whilst also integrating any dynamic code such as JavaScript and PHP.

Jack of all Trades…

Being proficient in so many areas of web design and development lead many to think that such a person cannot create high level work in any single area. Although I admit my designs may never be of graphic design complexity or that I would be able to program the likes of Twitter or Facebook I don’t think this is a bad thing for me or my clients. It could be that I could never reach such levels, no matter how hard I tried, so why not expand my knowledge into other areas to help benefit my core skills.

How does this benefit the client?

  1. Speed – as the project does not have to be handed to another team member there is no delay in them starting the project or understanding the projects requirements
  2. Sympathetic design – the design created from day one is sympathetic to all the constraints the different programming languages going into the site may have. This creates a balanced, clean and useable end product.

It works for me

At Bronco as a small team we use the best methods for us; the ability to work in these different areas keeps me interested in my job, ensuring I never get bored of any single aspect. At large agencies they work the best for them. However I think for any person that works as a web designer or developer it’s an advantage to understand the other processes that go into creating a website, as it helps you create better work.