Working in digital design can be a really interesting and rewarding career, and can allow you to express your creativity while also helping your clients meet their objectives through your design work. Whether you are a web designer, logo designer, or a designer of other things like packaging and marketing materials (or all of the above), it can be a good idea to develop your digital skills beyond what you need just for the bulk of your design work. Being able to do some coding, debugging, testing and other development jobs, can help you a lot in your career.
Here are just five of the reasons why now is a great time for you to start learning to code:
It Opens You Up to New Ideas
When you know a bit about the programming languages that underlie websites, CAD programs and mobile apps (for example), you will have a better idea of what is possible in your design work. Being able to do some coding may enable you to try using new techniques, and to think about how your designs might work with other elements of web pages and applications to do interesting new things. Of course, there are a huge number of languages you can learn and which you choose will depend a lot on where your interests lie, for instance in web technologies, apps, or even things like animation, but understanding how programming logic and technologies work in general will feed into different areas of tech.
You could have some new and innovative ideas and be able to bring them to fruition through your own coding efforts, or, you could at least have enough of an understanding of the possibilities to be able to enlist the help of more experienced or advanced programmers to work with you on interesting projects.
It’s Great for Your Resume
Design is a very competitive industry, and having extra skills that compliment your design work can be a real feather in your cap on your resume. Whether you work on a freelance basis and want to impress potential clients, or want to get the best employment opportunities, coding skills are something that most businesses consider useful, and will see as an asset. You never know, simply learning some development skills in your own time online or from books may be what sets you apart from a rival for your dream job or project!
Never be afraid to list any programming experience or courses you have done on your resume, even if you don’t feel that they are directly relevant to the work you are trying to get. These are valuable professional skills and if they are self taught, also show that you are a self motivated person interested in their own skill development.
It Can Help You Showcase Your Work
With some good web development or app building skills that include coding more advanced than simple HTML and CSS, you can work on some really good ways to showcase your portfolio of design work online. Of course, you can hire a web developer to help you build the best online portfolio to represent what you do, but it can be far cheaper to do it yourself, and you can pick up some great new skills on the way. Why have your work displayed using off the shelf templates and galleries when you can make something really attractive and unique, while also learning some skills you can use for all kinds of other projects!
Diversify Your Freelancing
If you do your design work on a freelance basis, you may find that once you become good at coding and have some projects you can show off as examples of your work, you can add the languages you know to your freelancing skills. This will open you up to different jobs and clients, and may even help you find new career opportunities. There can be overlap for many areas of development between coding and design, for instance in app building, web development and even game development, and you may find that freelance projects you pick up as a developer may lead to opportunities that open new doors for your design work too!
The more services you can offer as a freelancer, the more versatile you can be. This can mean you find more suitable opportunities, win more jobs, and ultimately keep yourself in work for more of the time. Adding some coding can take time, as while you can learn easily online you’ll need to get up some practice and have some work you can show off, but if you plan to be a freelance designer for the long term, it can be well worth it to give yourself more opportunities and options.
Stay at The Cutting Edge
A fifth reason why you might benefit from taking up coding is that becoming part of online coding communities and learning more about the latest developments in the development industry can really help you stay up to date on technologies that may be important in your design work too. The more of a ‘techie’ you are, and the more ingrained in the world of IT and innovation you become, the better chance you have of being an early adopter of new approaches and technologies. This can really give you an edge over other designers, and help you advise your own clients on what they can do to gain a competitive advantage too.
As you can see, there are lots of ways you may not immediately have thought of that developing some coding skills can help you in your design career. If you like the idea and are keen to get started, do some research into the languages most used in the fields that interest you, and choose one to study. There are loads of great resources online to help get you started on your way to becoming a developer, or of course, you can also look for formal courses.