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Thread: Here's my million dollar question.

  1. #1
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    Here's my million dollar question.

    It may be pocket change to the rest of you, but for me knowing the answer to this is worth a pretty penny. Googling it doesn't return any valuable information.

    I design. It's what I do. I can't bring myself to commit to any backend programming languages, so I design.

    Career wise, as a web designer, what all skill sets are needed? I can design well, I believe, but is that enough to land a job or potential career? Or do web designers need to be proficient in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, and MySQL? (Or equivalents such as Rails or Django?) Is there a difference in a web designer and a front end developer?

    I'm in dire need of a career change and designing is what I've always loved to do. I'd hope that Photoshop skills and some HTML/CSS could allow me to attain that, but I am unsure.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member breno's Avatar
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    I think you might be a bit confused. There's a difference between a front end and back end developer. Front end deals with thing like HTML, CSS, SCSS, JS etc. Pretty much the coding side to things that is tangible to the user, where the back end Dev deals with php, SQL, rails etc. Pretty much anything that has to do with serving web sites. That's my understanding of it anyway, if I'm wrong or anyone can explain it better, please feel free to correct.
    In regards to career, I would recommend getting at least HTML/CSS/scss under your belt if you're looking for a career change. I'm quite a visual person, when I wanted to get into web 'design' I quickly discovered I should learn these languages if I wanted to put web pages on the net. And surprisingly, I found it fun and somewhat easier than I expected. Some things might take a while to get your head around, but there's always AHA! moments, and that's a normal thing. If I were you, being a designer, I'd look into front end development because its still quite visual, HTML markup and then styling and manipulating it with CSS is a good mix of coding and visual.
    I personally in my short journey have designed my own pages and coded them so you can do both and if I can do it, anyone can lol
    So yeah, I hope this helps and has brought more clarity.
    Oh, and there's an unlimited amount of resources out there to learn these things, tutorials, articles, blogs, twitter. There's heaps!

    Oh and also, once you start getting proficient at HTML/CSS I recommend looking at frameworks such as foundation/twitter bootstrap and learning the ins and outs of one or more CMS's like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or Modx.

    I think codeacademy.com is a good place to get started on learning HTML, CSS hands on. Its worded very well and they walk you through it nicely. Best of all, its free!
    Last edited by breno; Sep 10th, 2015 at 02:05 PM.

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    I'm not confused, I don't think. Just mislead by job postings on the web. It seems that all "web designer" jobs include that you know everything that would be required of an actual developer. I read a blog post last night that addressed this problem, stating that companies are trying to place the responsibility of a whole department onto one person: design, front end, back end, SEO, etc. And this is what I see when I do job searches.

    I can design, I can chop my sites up into HTML and CSS, but I'm not too familiar with JS or JQuery. I was just hoping that design, by itself, were a career.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Vapr_Arts's Avatar
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    If youre good at it, design itself CAN be a career, but you will have to be extremely good or have a niche of some kind. Its so easy/common to know html/css/js that it is almost required. Thats the reason why you have to be exceptionally talented to just do design. If you can give a client a reason why they should hire you plus someone else to do the front end then you can, but you have to have something that makes it more of a benefit to hire 2 people to do what can be done by one single person.

    You say you "chop" your sites up into html/css? If this means using the photoshop feature to create html/css then you dont really know html/css and shouldn't really offer that as a service. Its really not that hard to learn. The time you take to learn the coding will be worth it later down the road. If you just cannot find it in yourself to learn it you have limited yourself in a very competitive market.

    Show us some of your designs.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Senior Member breno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hudwol View Post
    I'm not confused, I don't think. Just mislead by job postings on the web. It seems that all "web designer" jobs include that you know everything that would be required of an actual developer. I read a blog post last night that addressed this problem, stating that companies are trying to place the responsibility of a whole department onto one person: design, front end, back end, SEO, etc. And this is what I see when I do job searches.

    I can design, I can chop my sites up into HTML and CSS, but I'm not too familiar with JS or JQuery. I was just hoping that design, by itself, were a career.
    Oh I see what you mean now, sorry. I don't know if its different here in Australia but I haven't seen any front end jobs requiring aptitude in SQL, php etc. I've noticed Git, gulp and other command line stuff tho. I've wondered about JS/jquery myself, though it is considered front end, I really have no interest learning it. I figure I can get plug ins on the net for what I need (lazy I know lol) but I really should get the hang of the fundamentals so I can at least read it. JSON is another one. In regards to SEO, from what I've read, a lot still has to do how you're page is marked up so there's no getting around, which comes with experience I guess.
    Good question though mate, I'd like to see others answers on here.
    Personally, I don't like the idea of jack-of-all trades, master of none, there's so much to learn in web Dev, where will it end? Perhaps studios requiring one person to know all things, should really rethink their position, you need masters in all areas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vapr_Arts View Post
    If youre good at it, design itself CAN be a career, but you will have to be extremely good or have a niche of some kind. Its so easy/common to know html/css/js that it is almost required. Thats the reason why you have to be exceptionally talented to just do design. If you can give a client a reason why they should hire you plus someone else to do the front end then you can, but you have to have something that makes it more of a benefit to hire 2 people to do what can be done by one single person.

    You say you "chop" your sites up into html/css? If this means using the photoshop feature to create html/css then you dont really know html/css and shouldn't really offer that as a service. Its really not that hard to learn. The time you take to learn the coding will be worth it later down the road. If you just cannot find it in yourself to learn it you have limited yourself in a very competitive market.

    Show us some of your designs.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Oh no, I use no built in development features. I design it in Photoshop, save any necessary image files, and then start with blank HTML and CSS files to build the site from the ground up. I remember using Dreamweaver when I was 15, haha. What a joke. -_- Here's an example of my design work. The coding was done by a friend, but the design is mine. It was done in March of 2014.

    Quote Originally Posted by breno View Post
    Oh I see what you mean now, sorry. I don't know if its different here in Australia but I haven't seen any front end jobs requiring aptitude in SQL, php etc. I've noticed Git, gulp and other command line stuff tho. I've wondered about JS/jquery myself, though it is considered front end, I really have no interest learning it. I figure I can get plug ins on the net for what I need (lazy I know lol) but I really should get the hang of the fundamentals so I can at least read it. JSON is another one. In regards to SEO, from what I've read, a lot still has to do how you're page is marked up so there's no getting around, which comes with experience I guess.
    Good question though mate, I'd like to see others answers on here.
    Personally, I don't like the idea of jack-of-all trades, master of none, there's so much to learn in web Dev, where will it end? Perhaps studios requiring one person to know all things, should really rethink their position, you need masters in all areas.
    From my dabblings, I've learned that JQuery isn't that hard, and from what I understand JavaScript isn't completely necessary if you can work JQuery. I may be wrong though.

  8. #7
    Senior Member breno's Avatar
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    So you use the slice tool in Photoshop and export the images? Out of curiosity, I hope your not slicing 1px gradients and repeating them as images on your sites hehe And I'm asking out of ignorance, I know PS has its place but what can slicig in PS offer that well supported CSS3 can't do? Are people turning to more prototyping/wireframing tools than PS to design sites these days?

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    I sliced in Photoshop back in 2006. Not now. Now, seeing as though web designed are namely based off shapes and typography, I simply design it in Photoshop, save any image files like the logo and social media icons, then just use the PSD as a reference as I lay it all out in HTML and CSS.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by hudwol View Post

    From my dabblings, I've learned that JQuery isn't that hard, and from what I understand JavaScript isn't completely necessary if you can work JQuery. I may be wrong though.
    jQuery is Javascript, it is a Javascript library to be exact. If you can learn jQuery you can use Javascript. It's really not that difficult. You can get by with only knowing Js but you really are limiting yourself.


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  11. #10
    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vapr_Arts View Post
    jQuery is Javascript, it is a Javascript library to be exact. If you can learn jQuery you can use Javascript. It's really not that difficult. You can get by with only knowing Js but you really are limiting yourself.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Not exactly. People relying too much on jQuery are limiting themselves. First, know that I have no problem with jQuery, I use it on a lot of projects. However, it stunts a deeper understanding of JS that will be required for anything more complex than simple DOM manipulation. Front end dev is quickly becoming a good bit more than simple hide this, toggle that. Fully fledged applications, that perform complex logic on the client side are becoming the norm. In fact, back ends are quickly becoming little more than a go-between for the client side and the database. Further, how many "devs" who are so reliant on JS even know what they're writing when they use jQuery? How many could create and instantiate an object, the backbone of JS, on their own? Most can't, and really don't even know what an object is, even though they instantiate one every time they type that $ sign. Also, the way jQuery does what it does breaks some things. No one notices for most jobs, because most jobs that use jQuery don't go much deeper than simple manipulation.

    That's probably coming across a bit more intense than I intended, but I just wanted to point out that I think it's the other way around.

    Quote Originally Posted by hudwol View Post
    It may be pocket change to the rest of you, but for me knowing the answer to this is worth a pretty penny. Googling it doesn't return any valuable information.

    I design. It's what I do. I can't bring myself to commit to any backend programming languages, so I design.

    Career wise, as a web designer, what all skill sets are needed? I can design well, I believe, but is that enough to land a job or potential career? Or do web designers need to be proficient in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, and MySQL? (Or equivalents such as Rails or Django?) Is there a difference in a web designer and a front end developer?

    I'm in dire need of a career change and designing is what I've always loved to do. I'd hope that Photoshop skills and some HTML/CSS could allow me to attain that, but I am unsure.
    For the OP, yes, you can make a career of only doing the design side. I work with a company that has a whole team of them, and the last company I worked for did as well. In fact, both places had more designers than developers. I'm the only developer at the company I'm with now. I also get paid about 30% more than they do, though, so that's the trade-off. If anything, learn HTML and CSS, because they're fairly easy to pick up, and believe it or not, will make you a better designer. Why? Because you'll know what work is going to be involved in what you're designing, so you'll be able to make designs that the developers can work with a lot more easily. Pixel perfect translation from design to the web is almost impossible. It isn't a limitation of the platform, though. It's a limitation caused by designers not knowing what will and will not be lost in that translation.
    Ron Roe
    Web Developer
    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."


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