You love building websites. You’ve spent your life digging into the behind-the-scenes action of your favorite sites, and maybe you’ve even built a few of your own. Taking a blank page and watching it turn into a compelling and exciting modern website with all of the bells and whistles is exhilarating, and you’re ready to make it your profession. But, which route should you take? It’s the eternal question: web designer vs. web developer. Both are great jobs, but their responsibilities and tasks differ.
The choice you make now will impact your career path far into the future, so you owe it to yourself to make the best, most informed decision possible. In this guide, we provide you with vital questions you should ask yourself before you decide whether you want to make your mark in web design or web development. With a little information and forethought, you can choose the right path and have a rewarding and satisfying career!
1. Do You Have an Eye for Visuals?
Perhaps the most significant difference between web designers and web developers comes down to visuals and creativity. As indicated by the job title, a web designer conceives of and designs the visual aspect of the website. They are responsible for the site’s overall look and tone, and they work with the site owner to achieve a specific vision and purpose.
Web developers, on the other hand, work primarily with the designer to turn the concept into concrete action. Developers receive the visuals and required site features and convert them into code. Being a developer does require some creativity, but most of the work is process- and detail oriented.
2. Do You Like Writing Code?
Another key difference between the two professions is how much coding they can expect to do. Web developers spend most of their time working with front-end software and equipment, and they must, therefore, be fluent in all sorts of programming languages. You’ll also need to be familiar with management tools such as GIT, SVN, and CVS, and you’ll find yourself regularly chatting with integrated development equipment such as Sublime and Webstorm.
Web designers will find themselves relying more on graphic design software, such as Photoshop, Sketch, and Illustrator. They must be familiar with prototyping tools including Mockplus and Wireframe, as well. However, web designers are increasingly likely to need at least some simple coding skills to remain on the leading edge.
3. How Important is Salary to You?
Let’s get this clear up front: You’ll make a good living whether you decide to be a web designer or a web developer. Both professions will generally snag you a good salary, excellent insurance, and nifty benefits for both you and your loved ones. However, you can expect to start out making a bit more as a web developer than as a web designer.
Salaries vary from region to region and city to city, of course, but you should plan on making about $75,000 a year as a web developer and about $61,000 as a web designer. Both jobs command much higher salaries with experience, and the sky’s the limit—senior developers and designers can make more than $100,000 a year. Both routes can be lucrative, but those folks who value high pay above all else might lean toward becoming web developers.
Get Your Facts Straight, and You Can’t Go Wrong
It’s essential to do your research before making a life decision as consequential as selecting a career path… We’re talking about the rest of your life, after all, and that’s undoubtedly worth a good think before choosing. Ask yourself the questions we’ve posed and dig into the message boards and forums to find out more about the jobs. Reach out to current web designers and developers; most of them will be happy to provide you with valuable information and guidance. With our and their help, it’ll be much easier to make a choice and start on your career!