Web Development and Web Design are probably among the most frequently used terms of the 21st century. They have become an integral part of small and big businesses worldwide and the scope has no bounds. People tend to confuse the terms with one another or use them as alternatives. Truth be told, they are completely separate roads, running parallel to each other.

What is the Difference?

Web designing deals with the persona of a product, i.e the way it appears before the user. This includes all the visual aspects such as color combinations, layout, placement or motion of text/pictures/video clips etc. What the Designer creates can be called an idea or a virtual representation of what a web or mobile app will look like. Developers take this idea/representation and use it as a base to build the real thing via coding. Developing/programming takes care of all the front-end and back-end mechanisms required to bring an application to life and get it started. They are aware of the tools and technology needed to materialize the desired outcome.

So it is safe to say that Designers design and Developers code- yet, the background skills of both kind of individuals overlap in certain areas. Although there are Designers who cannot code at all, majority of them are familiar with basics including HTML and CSS; often some JavaScript as well. This is beneficial as it enables them to create an interactive prototype which can be fathomed by developers more effectively. Similarly, there’s rarely any developer who cannot come up with a basic/okay design template for a web page or app.

Design/Dev Unicorns

IT fellows who can legitimately design and develop a complete Web/Mobile application are referred to as ‘Unicorns’ (a mythical creature). Although Design/Dev Unicorns are scarce, they definitely do exist. Web designers who possess advanced coding skills such as SASS and JavaScript are very appealing and high in demand. Developers who have learned to use designing tools are equally sought after because every organization wants to hire a person who can do the job of two.

Typical skills of a Designer:

  • Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign/XD etc.
  • Color palettes/ Branding
  • UI/UX (layout, format, mockups, wireframes, logo)
  • Typography

Typical skills of a Developer:

  • HTML & CSS
  • SASS/LESS/JavaScript
  • FrameWorks and Libraries (Angularjs, React.js, JQuery etc.)
  • Git/GitHub

Which Career Suits You?

Both Web Designing and Web Developing are challenging in their own ways. When starting from scratch, learning something new is always difficult. Nonetheless, one thing may appear easier to you than to the other, relying on your aptitude and/or interests. Although programming seems to be a more hectic and nerve-wracking situation, designing can be exhausting for a person who lacks in imagination.

A good designer must have a keen eye for aesthetics – he/she needs to spiritually experience the look and feel of something to paint the whole picture. Designing would be boring for someone who cannot name different shades of a color or doesn’t care about arts & craft. On the other hand, programming requires a lot of focus, patience and calculation; someone who gets distracted easily or is bad with numbers might not be suitable for the job.

Based on the descriptions provided, if you think you can do both – go ahead and aim for the ‘Unicorn’ status.  

The Benefits

Becoming a Web Designer or Web Developer is a wise decision as both professions are subject to diversity and growing opportunities in the future. Computers and mobile devices are here to stay and evolve – your knowledge will be of use as long as you keep up with the latest technologies. The required set of skills varies from company to company and a lot of them accommodate remote positions. A developer or designer can work from home and choose to earn project by project instead of working for a monthly wage. Either can accept multiple projects in different parts of the world at a time, in accordance with their will or capacity.

The field is competitive and freelance jobs can easily be grabbed by placing the lowest bids. Once you’ve mastered your techniques, you’re eligible to be your own boss. Designers and Developers together are artists as they build brands; it is their talent and creativity that constructs the image/repute of any business that has an online presence.  

Web developing and Web designing are both promising careers and plentiful jobs are globally available for both. Either of them who is good at what they do can make a good living in the long run. On average, a web developer can earn slightly more ($80,000 – $90,000 per annum) than a designer ($60,000 – $70,000 per annum). Despite that being said, several designers are being offered comparatively higher salaries (>$90,000) owing to brand name, skill level or complexity of request.

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