The design specialist versus the unicorn

Should you be a UX designer, a UI designer, a visual designer, a front end coder, or a back end coder? Can you be all of them? Can you be a few of them?

At various points in my career I have made a decision to specialise. For a while I was a visual designer who could write HTML/CSS (please don’t ask me to write code now). Then Java Script came along and I knew I had to make a call. These early decisions of mine in part follow a timeline of how technology and the industry developed — something that Russ Weakley has articulated perfectly in his presentation Specialise or cross-skill?

I was quite amused when Russ refers to the unicorn — that rare person who can do it all. Here is something I dug out of my email archives, a LinkedIn request that assumed I was one such creature.


We’re seeking a UI/UX web designer at XXXXXX. Keen to connect.



So if you are wondering what design field to specialise in, or whether to specialise at all, or if you are about to write a job ad for a designer please read this first.

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