The terms web designer and web developer are used interchangeably and the difference between web design and web development has become blurred. However, whilst the two roles go hand in hand, there are some differences as indicated below:
- Web designer: this title implies an aesthetic focus. As a web designer, your focus will be on the look and feel of the website. You are more like a graphic artist who develops and styles objects for the Internet.
- Web developer: this title implies functionality. As a web developer, you will be more concerned with the operational and technical aspects of a website.
Generally, a web designer or a web developer will be responsible for the design, layout and coding of a website. They are involved with the technical and graphical aspects of a website – how the site works and how it looks. They can also be involved with the maintenance and update of an existing site.
After establishing the target audience for a website and identifying the type of content it will host, the web designer, or web developer, will write the programming code, either from scratch or by adapting existing website software and graphics packages to meet business requirements. They test the website and identify any technical problems, upload the site onto a server and register it with different search engines.
Knowledge, skills and attributes
Web designers and web developers should have skills in software programming and graphics and be aware of international web standards and protocols. They need to be creative, imaginative and use initiative; be adaptable and able to pick up new techniques. They need good interpersonal and communication skills, be able to work on their own or in a team; work to tight deadlines; be thorough and precise in their work; and able to multi-task.
Web designers and web developers normally work between 35 and 40 hours a week. Additional hours may be required to meet deadlines, which could include evenings and weekends.
Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development
To become a web designer or developer, you will need a degree in any subject that is acceptable for entry into the profession. However, employers may seek graduates with relevant IT, computer science or engineering qualifications. Generally, computing experience or a postgraduate IT conversion course (for graduates without relevant degrees) can be useful. It is essential to provide employers with links to/sample demonstrations of web pages that you have produced.