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thezeski
29-03-2010, 09:41 AM
Hi everyone!


This is my first post on these forums and I thought I might start by putting forward the question of specialisation. My young web development career is starting to mature into a crossroads where I have to choose between being a web programmer or a web designer. I know that a lot of the time these are the same thing... however the job market seems to have two paths - the road of the marketing specialist/design guru and the path of the corporate coding genius/business process analyst.

My current job offers me opportunities in both but I have found that as I plan for my future I will need to pick a path. I think that I'm happy to work in both roles and so the biggest concern for me at the moment is long term progression, it's hard for me to choose a path because it's hard to say what opportunities will exist in the future...

So I was hoping to find out from others on here :)

In the context of working in Perth, or in Australia if you're not from WA, what career path would offer more opportunities for growth and development?

Is there any kind of advice that you can offer when choosing either path?

Thanks everyone :)


Paul

scross
29-03-2010, 10:05 AM
My young web development career is starting to mature into a crossroads where I have to choose between being a web programmer or a web designer. I know that a lot of the time these are the same thing...

Hi Paul,

A Web Programmer(or Developer) and a Web Designer are quite often regarded as two different streams within this industry because they require different skill sets.

I think the best way for you to choose which path to go down should be based upon a combination of "enjoyment" and opportunity. Which do gain the most enjoyment from and which gives you the most opportunity to run a business successfully?

temp
29-03-2010, 10:33 AM
A Web Programmer(or Developer) and a Web Designer are quite often regarded as two different streams within this industry because they require different skill sets.

Actually I reckon it's because we too readily give in to the western myth of duality and we're too fearful to try and know ourselves in more than one context, but that's perhaps a topic for the pub.

Pick whatever you find the most depth and enjoyment in, then spend the supposedly-required 10,000 hours doing it. I like the web because when I get a bit burnt out on design, I can study software for a while instead.

scross
29-03-2010, 11:20 AM
Actually I reckon it's because we too readily give in to the western myth of duality and we're too fearful to try and know ourselves in more than one context, but that's perhaps a topic for the pub.



I'll have any type of conversation if it means I get to go to the pub. :)

I do totally agree however. I try to participate in both Web Design and Development, even if only to be able advise clients on their different needs.

thezeski
29-03-2010, 11:22 AM
Hi Paul,

A Web Programmer(or Developer) and a Web Designer are quite often regarded as two different streams within this industry because they require different skill sets.

I think the best way for you to choose which path to go down should be based upon a combination of "enjoyment" and opportunity. Which do gain the most enjoyment from and which gives you the most opportunity to run a business successfully?


Thanks for the response :)

It's a tricky question at the moment. I'm a fairly self motivated guy and can really enjoy any work that challenges my wits. Probably not looking towards going into business on my work for a while...

Ideally I want to be part of a bigger entity so I can focus on my web design/dev skills and knowledge rather than get mixed up in the operational/administration issues that arise when working for yourself. So in terms of opportunity I guess it comes down to what the 'big boys' are looking for...

It's possible, and usually necessary, to participate in both..... but I guess I've noticed a trend in the job market that if I want to be a part of a bigger team I have to choose... so I guess that that's where the confusion is arising.

jexley
29-03-2010, 11:58 AM
And by "operational/administration issues" you mean "wondering where your next meal will come from?"

If so, then I hear ya.

Otherwise, there's no reason not to do your own thing and do all the shit you love when you love to do it, a la G-dawg up there who wants to get all Zenny and pubby on us (I'm there dude, btw).

thezeski
29-03-2010, 12:14 PM
And by "operational/administration issues" you mean "wondering where your next meal will come from?"



I'm trying to maintain a certain air of diplomacy cause I'm still new on here... but yeah. That's exactly what I'm talking about ;)

That said, I'd definitely be up for a pub meet-up!

tuna
29-03-2010, 01:09 PM
So in terms of opportunity I guess it comes down to what the 'big boys' are looking for...

However there is no good skilling up as a dev and discovering after five years that you really hate it with a passion and should have really become a designer.

You really should like if not love what you do. otherwise it will turn sour and just be a 9-5 job and nothing more.

Great if you just want a 9-5er. But I sense you are looking for something more.

scross
29-03-2010, 01:18 PM
However there is no good skilling up as a dev and discovering after five years that you really hate it with a passion and should have really become a designer.

You really should like if not love what you do.

Couldn't agree more! There are days when you wonder whether you should be doing it or not, and that's when your passion kicks and keeps you going! Plus, your prospective employers will see the passion in your work :)

thezeski
29-03-2010, 01:35 PM
However there is no good skilling up as a dev and discovering after five years that you really hate it with a passion and should have really become a designer.

You really should like if not love what you do. otherwise it will turn sour and just be a 9-5 job and nothing more.

Great if you just want a 9-5er. But I sense you are looking for something more.


I think part of the confusion isn't helped that at the moment I am responsible for all aspects of a web project... so it's hard for me to identify nuances between the two roles I do and then say which was better for me; I see it as a top-down thing.

When I look back at my work I can see a clear progression in my skill level as a designer and a developer and seeing that makes me passionate to do even better. I don't care if I'm only writing CSS or if I'm only doing SQL or if I have to do both... I just need to feel like my work is important to an operation and that I am working towards something for myself.

So it might even come down to the $$$.

tuna
29-03-2010, 01:42 PM
I think part of the confusion isn't helped that at the moment I am responsible for all aspects of a web project... so it's hard for me to identify nuances between the two roles I do and then say which was better for me; I see it as a top-down thing.

When I look back at my work I can see a clear progression in my skill level as a designer and a developer and seeing that makes me passionate to do even better. I don't care if I'm only writing CSS or if I'm only doing SQL or if I have to do both... I just need to feel like my work is important to an operation and that I am working towards something for myself.

So it might even come down to the $$$.

question - do you do the visual design as well. If so do you struggle with this.

thezeski
29-03-2010, 01:50 PM
question - do you do the visual design as well. If so do you struggle with this.

I do it to a point. Web design aside, I have put together logo's and developed brand identities for various companies.

It can be a struggle sometimes, but so can coding.

I think part of the appeal of design is that it's easier to get recognition in my current workplace. My managers don't have a web development background and usually just trust that I'm doing a 'good job'. Meanwhile the visual design of a site (or business cards and other assets) can be appreciated by anyone and is more likely to get a pat on the back than good code...

That's part of why I'm trying to get my name out and socialize with people on port80... I know I'm a pretty good all-rounder when it comes to development, but I also know that there's a whole world of growth that I have in me and that isn't being tapped where I am because I don't have any guidance/mentoring.

Thank you for that question by the way :) It's helped me reflect quite a bit!

kay
29-03-2010, 03:02 PM
I do it to a point. Web design aside, I have put together logo's and developed brand identities for various companies.

It can be a struggle sometimes, but so can coding.

When I was at uni, last millenium sometime, I found that my classmates who didn't feel an immediate affinity with code figured they must be web designers by default. Whereas when we hire a designer, we're looking for someone who is an artist first and everything else second. The best designers that I've worked with are always something else first - an illustrator, an animator, a painter, a photographer.

I have, in the past, pieced together passable designs and even logos (not on paid jobs, calm down) but I would never consider myself a designer. But, I no longer consider myself a full on coder either.

So my advice would be that if you're not a designer with all your heart and soul, don't attempt to be one at all. There's plenty of call for people who do "everything else".

thezeski
29-03-2010, 03:18 PM
When I was at uni, last millenium sometime, I found that my classmates who didn't feel an immediate affinity with code figured they must be web designers by default. Whereas when we hire a designer, we're looking for someone who is an artist first and everything else second. The best designers that I've worked with are always something else first - an illustrator, an animator, a painter, a photographer.

I have, in the past, pieced together passable designs and even logos (not on paid jobs, calm down) but I would never consider myself a designer. But, I no longer consider myself a full on coder either.

So my advice would be that if you're not a designer with all your heart and soul, don't attempt to be one at all. There's plenty of call for people who do "everything else".


Mmm. I'm currently considering the two paths on their long term opportunities. So I could see a designer eventually moving into more of a marketing/management role while a developer is a technical/business role.

I guess I'm trying to work out which path I want to head down.... because being a web developer gives me the unique opportunity to specialise in either path.

zeroedin
29-03-2010, 03:27 PM
i definitely can relate to 'finding yourself at the crossroads'. i started out as a java/vb.net programmer before discovering html/css.

then i left the industry to become of all things, a butcher. that didn't last long. a career as a baker didn't keep me interested either. so after a 4 year gap, i came back to the web industry and oh boy am I glad I did.

being a developer for so long, i'm kicking myself as i'm realising my passion is more on the design side. in any case, more skills to pay the bills.

heist
30-03-2010, 04:39 PM
I'd say you'd be best served by cultivating a really strong opinion on what you want to build, then using that to drive your skill specialisation.

For me that'd be something like "I want to build web apps that are extremely usable and efficient, with extremely minimal/maintainable code."


so i need to know how to code, and how to make shit people can actually use. (dev/UX)



but i don't need to know how to make graphics, or how to code a website for 110% efficiency, or how to increase clickthroughs, etc.
these are all important, but not part of my specialisations.

thezeski
31-03-2010, 10:49 AM
Thanks for the responses everyone :)

After much thought it's become very very very clear to me that the I should move away from design and focus on development.

Cheers!

temp
31-03-2010, 11:12 AM
... when we hire a designer, we're looking for someone who is an artist first and everything else second.

^ fail!

To be discussed at port80 at the scotsman :)

heist
31-03-2010, 04:00 PM
^ fail!

To be discussed at port80 at the scotsman :)

haha after our ezra pound discussion i was thinking the same thing