Should All Web Designers Know How to Code?

If you’re a complete novice, building and designing your website has never been easier. Popular website builders like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and Shopify offer user-friendly interfaces, templates, themes, and drag-and-drop tools that make it possible for absolute novices to design and customize websites without knowing any HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.

And if that weren’t enough, AI tools make it even easier to come up with something that closely matches your vision with even less effort. These tools will not only help you generate a website to your general specifications but they can also fill it out with content and images.

With all these tools readily available to website owners and web designers, is it still even important to know how to code these days?

If you want your site to be unique and competitive where it counts, absolutely.

Yes, there are now a lot of web designers who can make a good living without strong coding skills. However, even with all the tools in the world, these non-coder web designers are at a severe disadvantage compared to their upskilled colleagues.

Here, we’ll lay out the many reasons why web designers will benefit from having some coding skills, even if they won’t necessarily have to use them every day.

1) Permits Limitless Web Design Customizations

As powerful as today’s website builders are, they effectively limit a non-coder’s ability to bring a creative brief to fruition. This is an especially important point if the site owner does not have immediate access to a front-end web developer or anyone else with sufficient coding knowledge. If this is the case, web designers are limited in what they can deliver to their boss or client.

While it’s true that current website builders are fully capable of building a functional website, an over-reliance on templates and the inability to modify them tends to result in a generic look that may not be a good fit for a lot of organizations.

What’s more, these templates often feature bloated code and are not made with search engine optimization in mind. This means that most sites that are built solely with website builders have a plethora of technical SEO issues as soon as they are launched, hindering the site’s potential and limiting the organization’s ability to get leads and conversions.

Web designers with coding skills are more easily overcome these limitations, even when working alone. Thus, they are the often the ones best suited for delivering websites that are fast, functional, on-brand, and SEO-friendly.

2) Enables Web Designers to Use Any Available Platform

Web designers that can’t code are essentially dependent on the WSYWIG (what you see is what you get) mode of whichever builders or tools they are accustomed to using. While they’re all supposed to work the same way, WSYWIG modes of different website-building solutions tend to work in a way that’s unique to each platform.

If a web developer is too dependent on WSYWIG-only editing, it can seriously limit the types of jobs that they can take on. In particular, they will not be able to create more dynamic websites by themselves and they will need help from a web developer. If they are unable to take on a variety of projects alone, then their opportunity to earn an income and grow as web designers becomes limited.

In contrast, web designers with strong coding skills can quickly create all new elements or modify existing ones using any text editor, with minimal support. Because they are not dependent on any tool, they can mopre easily readjust to any web design project’s requirements.

3) Permits Closer Collaboration with Web Developers

Knowing how to code makes it easier for web designers to work closely with web developers. This is a key advantage as web developers handle the bulk of code implementations on major websites.

The ability to understand what goes on in the backend can help web designers make better-phrased, more realistic requests to web developers, avoiding delays and misunderstandings on projects. Importantly, having coding knowledge makes it possible to assess code implementations, if needed.

4) Reduces Reliance on Web Developers for Basic Fixes

Related to the previous point, the ability to assess and implement code allows web designers to make quick fixes to current code implementations, especially for technical SEO purposes. This can be especially handy in the context of small marketing teams and agencies, where roles tend to be less strictly defined.

5) Improves One’s Career Potential

In the US alone, the demand for both web designers and developers continues to rise and is expected to vastly outpace those of most other jobs by a healthy margin. This is likely to be broadly true of other markets that are also undergoing rapid digitalization.

Even now, web designers with coding knowledge and strong digital marketing fundamentals are highly sought-after by agencies and in-house marketing teams the world over. If they have other hard skills such as SEO, content creation, and management, they may even be in a good position to head a digital marketing department or start their own SEO agency.

6) Allows Maximization of Website Builders and AI Tools

Notice that we never said website builders were a bad thing. They can be incredibly capable — in the right hands. While these tools make it possible for a total novice to create a basic website, they are best used as a way to streamline the workflows of web designers who can also directly work on the site’s code.

A middling web designer with solid HTML, CSS, and JavaScript skills using website-building tools will almost certainly outclass talented colleagues who are completely reliant on WSYWIG modes, templates, and drag-and-drop functionality. Against a complete novice that doesn’t even understand the basics of web design, the results won’t even be close.

Final Thoughts

As powerful as new website builders and AI tools are, they are not a substitute for a web designer that knows how to code and is even less of a substitute for an experienced digital marketing team. If you’re interested in an SEO and conversion-friendly website redesign, contact SearchWorks.PH. Our team of experienced digital marketers will be happy to assess and discuss your website.

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