Web Designer VS Developer


What’s the difference between a web designer and a web developer and which one would be a better fit for you let’s figure it out.

What’s up everybody I’m Amy B. and today we’re going to figure out those differences between a web designer and web developer and it’s a great career to be kind of pursuing. But when you’re first starting out you may don’t know where you fit.

So there are some people that are kind of both and there is a lot of crossover between the two fields but I want to talk specifically about the roles the tools and the expectations of the two different fields and then which one is the best fit for you.

Let’s first start by defining the two fields.

I’m going to use a car analogy, a web designer would be the person who kind of designed the aesthetics of the car. What the car looks like? What the car looks like on the exterior on the interior? How it feels? All of that stuff the experience, the aesthetic that’s a Web-Designer

The Web-Developer would be responsible for all of those internal kinds of components like the engine, the transmission and all the other parts of the car that you don’t even realize you’re using when you’re using it. That’s the web developer. It makes its function, makes it move, makes it go.

But just like an engine is useless without the car and the car itself is useless without the engine, the two have to go together.

They’re either going to be the same person a web designer and developer or they’re going to be working in the same team and they’re going to utilize each
other’s strengths and skill sets to accomplish their goal.

Web Designer

I’m going to first start by talking about design or web-design in general.
The tools of the trade for designer are going to be aesthetic tools like
Photoshop, Sketch, Interface design tools or User experience tools.

But these would be the tools that affect the aesthetic of any sort of design whether
that’s print design, web design, product design, whatever it is. These are going to be the things that you can actually create things to look at.

So it’s important that you know those tools. It’s important that you not only know the tools but you know some of the principles and the foundations of designs. We’re talking about color, space, line, form and all of those things that is the realm of a designer but yes also web designers.

Web designers don’t need to know how to code. I know plenty of designers that are purely designers and they work at web agencies, marketing agencies, they
do freelance and they themselves do not code.

Okay but knowing what code is and how it kind of interacts will help
you of better design for the medium. Knowing some ideas about code, what’s possible what’s not possible, what needs to be documented and what needs to be
Explained is a sign of a good web designer.

The designer is going to spend a lot of time looking for inspiration, making
visual sense and trying to visually communicate the message of the brand, the company or the site itself.

They’re going to spend a majority of their time doing visual things and that can be
anything from wireframing, to mood boarding, to creating brands, logos, websites , animations and anything that is visual.

Web Developers

Web developers and all developers work with code but web developers specifically I would say spend the majority of their time working with what’s called client-side code.

So client-side languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript and there’s even some
JavaScript frameworks like React, Node or Backbone. Working with those three that’s the bread and butter of a web developer.

Now a developer in general learns and speaks coding languages. So if you drip into back-end development you would speak more server-side languages like PHP or Ruby
and all those different server-side technologies.

If you want to be a web developer specifically, you probably need to know HTML, CSS
and your JavaScript, that’s your bread and butter you need to know.

You probably want to have a good idea or at least some experience with server-side languages like Ruby or PHP. A web developer spent all of his time in a code editor, that is the realm of a web developer. It is not visual, it is taking the visual and making it functional remember like engine and car.

For a web developer on their day to day they’re going to be spending time in code.
They’re going to be receiving the visuals and the documentation from the web designer.


The designer and developer should be working closely not in a silo but closely with the designers to make sure that the functionality or the project demands also on par with the styles that the designer has handed over. So those deliverables that are handed over need
to be executed by the developer. It’s like HelperEvents for both professions.

And so they’re going to be spending the majority of their time in code, creating
branches in github. We’ll talk more about that in a different article but basically creating and making the vehicle move per the restraints of the designer and
the designer is designing things per restraint of the client or the project.

So which one is the right field for you.

Should you start pursuing design?
Should you start pursuing development?
Should you start pursuing both?

I’m going to give you a couple opinions in the next article of mine on how to decide where to go from here.


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