Is it Necessary for a UX/UI Designer to Know How to Code?by@abramova
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Is it Necessary for a UX/UI Designer to Know How to Code?

by Olga AbramovaAugust 22nd, 2023
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Coding skills for UX/UI designer are not mandatory, but in the same time provide advantages. The benefits are: improved communication with developers, better projects results, new ideas, expanding professional horizons, confidence. To sum up, UX/UI designers gain a balanced technical understanding and creative freedom.
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The question of whether coding is necessary for becoming a better UX/UI designer has sparked many discussions. While coding skills are not an absolute requirement, they can significantly benefit UX/UI designers. Understanding of coding provides designers with several advantages that can enhance their work and contribute to their overall effectiveness.

I’m a Lead UX/UI Designer and Art-Director with 7+ years of experience. With these lines, I will share my observations on the subject and share insights grounded in my professional background. The knowledge of basic coding has proven invaluable in my work on numerous occasions and below I provide several benefits of knowing coding.

Why coding skills have a positive effect on the career of UX/UI designer?

  • Benefit from speaking the same language with developers

First of all, it will bring communication with developers to the next level. Understanding of coding definitely leads to a better understanding of the project, and it aids in realizing your ideas even when developers deem them as impossible. I consider developers as very valuable partners and sometimes together you can yield the best results. Developers frequently put forth excellent ideas for projects, given their profound grasp of the technical aspects of the industry, as well as innovations and emerging possibilities. “Speaking the same language with developers” can not only supply you with novel concepts and features for your product but can also fuel stronger relationships with your counterparts on the developers' team.

  • Enhancement of your empathy skills

Knowing the coding basics not only enriches your comprehension of both developers' work and the process of constructing a digital product, but also improves your empathy skills. This improved understanding equips you to navigate complex work situations more effectively and to better manage your expectations.

  • Constant upgrading of your knowledge

Additionally, when you become interested in coding, you also gain access to a wealth of information about new technologies. It enriches your understanding of the industry, its prospects, and can potentially spark new ideas. Furthermore, by acquiring coding skills, you empower yourself to enhance your projects using coding tools, ultimately improving your proficiency in your role.

  • Improving your cross-team performance

Knowing the code, you also become familiar with developer-related tools, such as GitHub, Jira, etc., enabling you to feel more prepared for cross-departmental collaboration and a better grasp of developers’ project processes.

  • You become more confident in your work

As a bonus of all of the above, you tend to become more confident in your work.

Some tips on where to begin

You can attain a deeper understanding of coding through various methods, such as watching videos on YouTube, reading professional articles, taking courses/educational programs, engaging in conversations with developers, management, and other designers, and more. I've gathered information from a variety of sources over the years. I used the Codecademy website to learn the basics (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python), experimented with coding for Arduino (which employs a language similar to C++) and Processing, a language used for generative graphics. Additionally, I dabbled in Webflow, a platform I highly recommend trying to gain a better insight into the challenges developers face when translating your designs into code. This doesn't imply I'm proficient in coding, but it does enhance my understanding of the development field.


I frequently come across discussions in which some designers deny knowing about any limitations of the code so as not to stifle their creativity and imagination. On the other hand, I am aware of the ones who furiously support the necessity of understanding the technical limitations to discern what is feasible and infeasible in reality.

I don't possess a comprehensive knowledge of all technical limitations; I have only a rough idea of how the development process goes. I'd like to emphasize that, as a designer, it isn't necessary to possess an exhaustive grasp of all limitations. There is a balance between the understanding of how things work and the freedom to conceptualize and create new things. The IT industry progresses daily; what was limiting yesterday might not be the same tomorrow, and you can also become a part of this change.

Illustration: by pikisuperstar on Freepik.