Where the design community meets.
Should Designers survive?
Jokes aside, Is there still any doubt about the benefits and advantages of knowing how to code in this age?
Even Designers who, for some reason, think that they don't need to learn how to code may have already realized that their arguments might actually be rooted in an inability to overcome obstacles and getting out of your comfort zone.
I like that John Maeda used the word "survive", for that's what it is. Digital selection.
Do you consider design as a practice to be something that requires you to be a lifelong learner of tools, best practices, trends, methods, and schools of thought?
Do you believe coding is not also this?
Do you believe it should be the responsibility of a designer to think both creatively and in the almost entirely opposite fashion in not only learning to code, but following the developments in the field and be a lifelong learner and practitioner? Do you think, then, that a designer should essentially be an expert in two rather different entire careers?
The idea that "coding" is simply a skill one can pick up like "hand lettering" and simply toss that in their skillset seems ridiculous and insulting to developers. Sure, one can learn an amount of code and utilize it — but is there no value in being a specialist? Is there no room to have other hobbies and areas of interest?
I for one engage frequently in consuming information and thought in the areas of psychology, philosophy, politics, narrative theory — all of which, I believe, in some way expand my knowledge of the others and supplement the way I think about design. Should I instead spend that time learning code, then learning new languages and technologies?
Should I stop taking time for myself? My family?
You should do whatever you want. Whatever makes you happiest.
As far as coding, the argument is that it can aid your design skills. At the same time, so can other skills. Personally, understanding at a basic level how to code a responsive site helps me when designing responsive things. Doesn't need to be overly complicated you know?
I think you should first learn how to learn. Then, have a good grasp of the fundamentals of Design and Development and everything else (new tools, best practices, trends, methods and school of thoughts) will be easier to pick up. Not "easy", but easier than starting from scratch.
Also, learn how to differentiate between what matters and what doesn't. You don't have to learn how to use every single JS library that is published, just like you don't have to read every single Design article or learn every new trend or tool.
Finally, determine the opportunity cost of the subjects you want to learn. For example, maybe learning how to code will give you more value in a shorter time than learning Politics. You could then focus on learning Politics at a later time.
Stop crawling around in my head and taking the words out of my mouth!
I'm curious, does he also challenge engineers to learn how to design? From my experience at Product companies, I can't possibly see this being a journey that would provide valuable outcomes. (Haven't watched the video yet).
I think that a designer should learn enough about coding/scripting to be able to understand what the technical requirements and resources for the project are, and the ability to be able to call bullshit on developers. I'm mixed on to what degree a designer should be able to code, but I will state that a designer who is a great coder will have more career opportunities and an improved ability to go their own way, if that's what they desire.
Every engineer I've worked with has specialised in one, maybe two frameworks. They work with it constantly and study to keep on top of changes. The idea that designers can pick it up while also doing research, strategy, prototyping, high-fidelity design, testing and iterating is just laughable.
I don't think there's much a debate about whether designers should code, I think it's more a matter of how much and what they should be responsible for. I absolutely think that designers should code and that a designer that codes well is best set for their future.
Now everything is an isomorphic web app, everything is React, or Vue, or whatever. Everything will be ES6 and use compilers. If you are a large service, eventually everything will be React components that transpool down to their React Native and React JS equivalents. I think it's going to be increasingly difficult to find designers who can contribute scripts for theses sorts of projects, and, in my experience, if a designer excels in these areas then they may not find themselves being deployed as a designer for much longer, favored instead for engineering work.
I think that instead, we should be preparing designers to prototype, to work with hard data sets, to expect them to design for interaction and for null states, and none of that really requires coding. I think you're just more cognizant of them if you're also a developer, but that understanding can be trained.
Where the design community meets.
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