You pride yourself as a coder, probably even feel that ego bloating up because at times you are the only one capable of handling a particular assignment or understanding the intricacies of your chosen language and field. But wait, your boss now wants you to concentrate on not just the coding but also the visualization and design aspects of the project – do you know Photoshop or Corel? And that is where most genius coders suddenly find themselves cramming up design books and articles by the night thinking, “How hard can it really be?”
Folks, before I even begin highlighting the three reasons why all good coders find designing hard understand the fundamental difference between the two fields.
In coding you have logic as your guide throughout the project. There is a prototype in mind then visualized and finally coded to completion. In design though, you have arbitrary rules to follow – what’s good what isn’t and the kind. You can guess what you want in the end, but chances are your end design would be nothing like what you thought at the beginning because you are limited by what you learn.
Accept that you will not get as fluent with design software and ideologies in a couple of months. When you realize that this is a long journey and you have to attempt a crash course in it rather than a four year graduation program, you naturally start compartmentalizing things and this is exactly what you need to do!
Focus Buddy, Just Focus
I know how hard it is to stay focused when learning something brand new. With coding you actually have a perfect step-by-step tutorial or book that you follow and at times you do go off-course but whatever you learn away from the syllabus never interferes with what you learn in your main course.
Design on the other hand has two broad classifications – UX or visual design. Yes, elements do overlap with the two but trying to learn both and basics of design will give you a permanent headache. My advice, understand what design course you need for your project early on and concentrate only on that. With 50% of the course material now out of the way, you can spend your limited time working on what will help you complete your tasks.
Do Not Get Distracted By Tech
As coders first, your instant reaction to any design-related question will be to rely on Bootstrap, CSS and the likes. Stop yourself from doing that and instead focus on specific elements of your chosen design discipline. As coders we are inherently builders and will want to build while learning. Recognize this urge and stop yourself, you will have plenty of time to build later.
Be Mindful And Wary Of Tools
David, a freelance web developer and head of dev behind Twiddy.com says, “Learning tools is not hard for a coder. Learning Photoshop, Illustrator are all integral parts of learning design but not every Photoshop wizard is an excellent designer! You only need to know how to use the tools, not write a dummy’s guide to the tool.”
Design is a lot more abstract than coding and hence difficult for hardcore programmers to grasp. Give yourself time to master this art and you will. Just remember to avoid the above pitfalls.