Almost everywhere you look someone is talking about or calling themselves either a web designer or web developer. Who really is a designer or developer? How do you define yourself? Can you be both?
A web designer uses graphics and graphic design software (think Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) to create a look for the web. This design is then married with coding to bring it to life online. The designer may not always be the person writing the code and in some cases can work independently of the team who will take a website design live.
Much of a designer’s job is creative and uses both intuition and imagination, often characteristics of people who are considered right-brained. People in this field may continue their educations in a variety of fields but are most commonly drawn to graphic design and the arts. Designers collect work portfolios to showcase their projects for potential employers.
The best designers have a strong grasp on a variety of concepts including color and typography, spacial relationships, audience and user experience.
Web developers are often thought of as left-brained workers. Skills from technical ability and thinking to logic are an essential part of their repertoires. Web developers may have degrees in a variety of fields such as computer science or programming. Most employers will require a portfolio during the hiring process.
The best developers are often detail-oriented and are keen on specifics.
Both designers and developers have specific roles written in their “job description”. But oftentimes a designer is required to do some development and the developer is required to do some designing. This is pretty common because today you must have a solid concept of the space – project you are working on. Keep in mind that a fresh perspective can improve both effectiveness and productivity.
A freelancer usually has both a designer and a developer side. You need to have a good sense of design, of what is now modern and hip and how to underline what your client believes are his high focus selling points. But you also need to implement coding solutions, perform security and maintainance operations and be familiar with backend environments. Being a freelancer is something like a wildcard, you need to be a bit both designer and developer. Of course this is my personal opinion on the matter. I know sucessful freelancers that are exclusive on eiter end (designer or developer) and they are pretty happy with it. For me a freelancer is both designer and developer and I try to stay informed about both roles.