Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Are the Job Titles "Web Designer" and "Web Developer" Too General?

Various meanings for different job titles ...

"There are a lot of professions that have emerged from the web: designers, developers, strategists, search engine optimists, information architects, usability and accessibility consultants, the list goes on…

Today, I’d like to talk about the first two. I wouldn’t go so far to say that the titles should be considered harmful by any means, rather we have just outgrown our job titles!

In the last three jobs that I have worked, there seems to large differences of opinions in the definitions of the job descriptions of web designers and web developers. As most folks in management see it, the definitions are pretty obvious: designers make the pretty pictures; developers bring them to life with code. However, the web poses an interesting problem: where does slicing, XHTML and CSS come in? Is it something that only developers do because it’s code? Is it something that designers are responsible for because of the constraints the technologies pose on their designs? Is this an opportunity for a third job to be created?

Roger Johansson of 456 Berea St. wrote a post about struggling with the two definitions:

On the about page of [my website] I used to call myself a “developer/designer/occasional writer”. It’s a bit confusing, and I still find it hard to know what to answer when someone asks me what I do for a living. Am I a Web designer? A Web developer? A Web programmer? All of them? Neither? It really is a difficult question to give a simple answer to.

It’s good to know I’m not the only one stuck on this problem. Later on in the post, Roger says that he’ll use a different description depending on who he’s talking to. I find myself doing that too; and if three of my past jobs each offer their own interpretations of the titles, that tells me that the titles themselves are too general.

At Full Sail

At Full Sail, students who specialized in design were not only responsible for the interface design, but were also responsible for slicing, XHTML and CSS coding. Anyone who has ever done a site front to back knows the importance of designer who is aware of what CSS coders do every day. I’ll even go so far to say that I’ll hire a slightly less experienced designer who knows CSS than a slightly more experienced designer who has only been working in print his entire career."    (Continued via SYS-CON, Michael Girouard)    [Usability Resources]


Blogger Rizwan said...

You have touched on a common dilemma that we Web/Graphic Designers/Developers find ourselves in. Since the scope of our work involves a variety of tasks ranging from web to print and designing to developing we need to come up with new names. I saw the word "Deseloper" (Designer + Developer)used by Jen deHaan on Macromedia's sight a while a go. You definitely have to do a double take on that word.

6:44 AM  

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