Should a product designer know how to code?

March 21, 2021
photo: unsplash

As a UX designer or a product designer should you know how to code? There are countless posts about this topic. My opinion is yes you should know how to code or have some basic understanding of what your designing for.

It’s not my job to code?

Yes it is not your job to code. Nor it’s a specific requirement for your day to day job. But you should know that . If your just getting started with product design or UX/UI design. You can hold off on viewing tutorials or plans to learn how to code for now. It’s better to focus on enhancing your design craft. But if you’re looking for going to the next step. I suggest you get into some type of coding related to your area of design.

The main reason reason is you don’t work alone. You need developers to make your designs come to life. Even though you won’t be writing a single line of code on your day to day job. Understanding code would make you communicate better with developers. Most product design environments are in an agile team setup. And constant communication with developers are normal. So it won’t hurt to speak code with your counter parts.

It’s like learning a foreign language. As you learn and understand a new language, you start to understand the culture of the design. And you would have more access to design.

Makes you a better designer .You know what your doing

A dialog from Terminator 2: Judgement day.

John Connor: You know what you’re doing?

The Terminator: I have detailed files on human anatomy.

Sarah Connor: Makes you a more efficient killer, right?

The Terminator: Correct.

Like knowing human anatomy to kill efficient. Knowing your product anatomy would make you an efficient designer. Understanding code, you would know what the constraints or what is possible. And also know what to ask more specific questions to developers. Or just understand what they are saying.

photo: unsplash

Better collaboration and communication

For example, your developer comes to you say ‘We can’t do it this way’. There can be multiple responses to that is. You ask ‘why not?’ And developer would explain. If you have no idea what it’s about. Big chance that you would assume the developer is just being lazy apply a quicker solution. But if you understand or have some kind of idea what the issue is. You can find a solution together.

So where do I start to learn to code?

It depends on your main focus product. If your mostly design for the web. Just getting started with basic html and css would be fine. Native app development, you can check out some tutorials showing how the layout is constructed in iOS or Android.