The more I am learning about web design and development, the more I find that there seem to be — in the past, at least — a division between the two. I guess I can see where it stems from. I mean, it seems like another version of the same right brain/left brain division that has existed in other fields forever. It’s just that now, these two divisions must actually try to work together and communicate in the same language on the same projects.
For example, I have always been a writer in one form or another. I am creative and impulsive and adventurous. My husband is an engineer. He is logical and has to analyze everything before making a decision. In web world, he’s the developer and I’m the designer. But a web page does not work effectively with one over the other; it’s optimal to have both working together. But I think it would increase understanding, communication, and work efficiency if both are at least speaking the same language. It is important, even vital, for a designer to have a working knowledge or better of code. A website – one that achieves all the objectives of the entity providing it — is all about code, even a “pretty” site.
I want to start freelancing, so I’m going to have to play both roles and, therefore, must code, code, code. But I can see where a large corporate web environment may divvy up the responsibilities, and a designer will be in charge of just designing under deadline pressure. Although an artist knows the abilities, limitations, and possibilities of all the art tools (and some things not considered art tools) available for creating his or her masterpieces. And what good leader doesn’t know all the resources of the team that she or he leads? Whichever the breakdown of roles, I still think a designer should have a basic knowledge of and ability to code.
To Code, by all means.