Want A Career In Graphic Design Heres Why You Need To Learn To Code

July 22, 2016

Tina May

Co Founder of Institute of Code

With so many graphic designers now working on digital products, understanding the digital media that has become the canvas is now essential.

Agencies and recruiters actively seek out graphic designers who can code, leading Monkia Nakamine of The Creative Group to assert that “if you are a designer with coding skills you are a hot commodity”. Colloquially, designers who can code are often referred to as ‘unicorns’ because just like a unicorn, they are both valuable and rare.

Being able to understand what's involved in the development of the sites you build, and understand the terminology developers use when discussing it makes you invaluable around the office. - Tina May

With so many graphic designers now working on digital products, understanding the digital media that has become the canvas is now essential.

Agencies and recruiters actively seek out graphic designers who can code, leading Monkia Nakamine of The Creative Group to assert that “if you are a designer with coding skills you are a hot commodity”. Colloquially, designers who can code are often referred to as ‘unicorns’ because just like a unicorn, they are both valuable and rare.

5 Reasons Designers Should Learn to Code

1. Boost your employability by expanding your skill set

The demand for designers with coding skills, particularly HTML, CSS and Javascript is already huge, and it’s only predicted to grow. When it can take up to 7 months for a design graduate to find full time employment, learning to code can help you hit the workforce faster by helping your resume stand out from the crowd.

2. Expand your idea creativity

While it may seem counterintuitive at first, really understanding the medium you are working with (which in the digital world is often code) can be an adrenaline shot of creativity. Just like a painter needs to understand the paint, the brushes and the canvas, a graphic designer needs to understand HTML and CSS. Approaching the design process with a solid understanding of how it will ultimately be built can help you explore new design possibilities you might never have otherwise considered.

3. Show off your non-technical skills

Learning to code is useful for more than just its practical applications … it also demonstrates to current and future employers, and to your co-workers that you have strong problem solving skills, analytical skills and attention to detail. When you show that you can push beyond your comfort zone and learn new skills, it clearly shows that will be able to learn and adapt to the future challenges presented to you.

4. Talk the Talk with developers

Even if you work at an agency that has a team of developers, and it’s unlikely you will ever be building websites on a regular basis, learning to code is still very beneficial because it puts you in the perfect position to be a liaison between creatives and developers who sometimes feel as though they are speaking different languages. Being able to understand what’s involved in the development of the sites you build, and understand the terminology developers use when discussing it makes you invaluable around the office.

5. Save time (and money!)

Have you ever felt like communicating your vision took longer than if you were just to build it yourself? The process of creating mockups, sending that to a developer, and then clarifying back and forth what is expected particularly where responsive design comes into play can be a time consuming process. Bring your design full circle, and you can avoid all those back-and-forth emails where it would have been quicker just to do it yourself.

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Written by: Tina May

Co Founder of Institute of Code