Everyone should learn to code, everyone should learn to design

The first image when I googled "You can be a designer". Mattel for it covered.

The first image when I googled “You can be a designer”. Mattel got it covered.

I posted this tweet about 1.5 years ago.

Well, the learn to code bandwagon has not died down since. Between IDA’s Smart Nation and General Assembly coming to Singapore, you know things are getting serious when the big boys get behind it.

To an average user, the software isn’t made up of code comments, super encapsulated classes, methods etc. It’s the interface. The software is the interface you provide your users. If you can’t design software to be usable, you don’t have software. On that note, think of how many man hours ACRA would save SMEs if they have a better interface.

So, the push for more computer engineers and developers needs to be coupled with a push for more creative people into User Experience, User Interface and Information Architecture disciplines. And it’s not an easy role either. To be a competent frontend designer, you need to understand:

  • UX/UI
  • Human psychology
  • Effective copy writing
  • Information Architecture
  • Overall business objectives
  • SEO
  • The role of A/B testing
  • Content marketing
  • Analytics
  • Mobile and responsive design

Geez that’s a lot of stuff. I would say finding a good front end designer is even harder than finding a good programmer.

It won’t be long before we starting seeing the Singapore/SE Asian versions of http://designerfund.com/

3 thoughts on “Everyone should learn to code, everyone should learn to design

  1. It feels like the question to be answered should be “What is the minimum you must learn in order to be a worker comfortable using and wielding the most common tech tools”.
    Your checklist of skills includes copywriting and analytics, all of which feel like pieces of the answer to different questions. (?)

    • There are a lot of overlaps – certainly. It just goes to show how complex building a modern day web app is.

      But to be a world class front end designer, you should have at the very least my checklist of skills bubbling in your head whenever a design decision is made.


  2. Hi there! I’m Emily, Community Manager at General Assembly. We agree that front-end web design is not an easy role. We do extensive research when we are building a program, which involves speaking with many industry experts and employers. Our research is in line with what you’ve found, that’s why we offer part-time courses and workshops to introduce and teach the skills you’ve listed.

    User Exeperience Design (UX, Informataion architecture, A/B testing,
    Analytics (Analytics)
    Visual Design (UI)
    Digital Marketing (content marketing, SEO)
    Front-End Web Development (HTML/CSS + JS, Mobile and responsive design)

    We’ve seen graphic designers and front-end web developers take these courses and boost their marketability and propel their careers in frontend design.

    Hope this helps give a little bit more context on General Assembly’s programs!


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