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Career UX Design

Should designers code in 2020?

Here we go again!

Recently I was asked by a UX freshman, “Paul! Should I learn web development as a designer?”. This question is very annoying for some and depending on who you ask you can spend a decade arguing for one V.S. another. The answer is simple.

You (designer) should do whatever the fuck you want!

Do you want to learn to code? Learn to code! The more skills you have, the better for you in the long run. Who knows what design will be in a decade for now, and maybe some well invested time into JS/Swift might do you more good than harm.

If you have the time to put into it, do it!

Just keep in mind User Experience Design as a discipline has a lot of branches and requires years to master and some specific opportunities for you to grow and learn. Spend 2-3 years as a designer and build your foundation before branching out.

If you do want to learn to code or understand how a software works, break your time into an 80/20 ratio. You dedicate 80% of your time to UX and 20% to software development. Spend maybe 30 minutes to an hour a day reading, learning software development before committing to a full 100+ hours course. Most of the courses require you to put extra time in and writing code.


I’ve spent 4 years working and learning HTML, CSS, and Java Script some PHP here end there (WordPress wink! wink!). I’ve integrated some software development principles back to my design workflow. Things like DRY (Do not repeat yourself), component-based development, agile, git, and so on. It gave me an edge in terms of organization and workflow.

There were times when I felt like I’m moving further and future away from a design career and become a full stack developer.

A few months ago, I finished a mammoth of a course for react, node, and the latest and grates in JS from Mosh Hamedani. It felt great opening Visual Studio, running a terminal, and letting the magic unfold.

If you do want to learn code, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Why do I want to learn to code?
  2. How much time do I have on my hands?

Like any goal, learning something new requires a commitment. If the motivation is not clear, don’t do it. Do something you like instead.


If you’re into UX Design, I previously wrote about:

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