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Difference Between Web Designer & Web Developer

Web designers and web developers may sound like they are the same thing, but in reality they have major differences. Learn about the job requirements and responsibilities for these two careers, as well as salary information and related careers.

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Comparing Web Designers to Web Developers

A web designer designs websites while considering the quality of both an individual site's appearance and ease of use. The main goal of these artists is to draw users to the website. On the other hand, web developers concern themselves more with the actual building of websites, ensuring that the site functions probably for users. Below is a comparison of some vital information on these two web-related careers.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)
Web Designer Bachelor's degree $48,652 1% (for all graphic designers)**
Web Developer Bachelor's degree $58,144 27%**

Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Web Designers vs. Web Developers

Both web designers and web developers are most interested in creating a product that draws as many hits, or visits, to a website as possible. They are also interested in finding new ways to reach their target users. Web designers use their knowledge of graphic art to design visually appealing websites that catch users' eyes and keep them coming back. Web developers use computer coding programs to construct web pages based off of a designer's ideas.

Web Designer

Web designers seek to create user-friendly websites that are aesthetically pleasing and enhance a client's product. Web designers sit in on meetings with other artists to come up with concepts for functional web pages that will draw an audience and hopefully elicit from viewers a positive reaction. Web designers think like web users and design their pages with the idea that users want to be able to move easily about the page, as well as access other pages and any interactive material.

Job responsibilities of a web designer include:

  • Draft usable web pages using the latest in design software
  • Developing ways to make the user experience original and new
  • Beta testing the design with the developers
  • Analyzing visitor feedback to make future changes to the site

Web Developer

Web developers are creative coders who utilize their knowledge of computer languages to build websites from scratch. Often developers use a web designer's user-friendly design as their template. Web developers must use programs such as HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, C++ and others. Developers will be expected to integrate all the working parts of the website, including graphics, audio, music, and/or animation. Often designers may be expected to rewrite old code to repair a problem for a working website.

Job responsibilities of a web developer include:

  • Meeting with clients/executives/design directors/engineers
  • Researching material and ideas to determine the best user experience
  • Working with photographers, artists and visual directors to integrate their work into web pages
  • Coordinating activities between various departments
  • Working within budgets and timelines

Related Careers

Graphic designers, like web designers, work to create computer aided art for specific audiences in order to gain a reaction or impression. Computer programmers, like web developers, know and understand computer languages and utilize this knowledge to create code which allows a computer program to do its job.

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