Web Designer vs Web Developer – The 5 Big Differences

It’s easy to get confused between web designers and web developers. They both help build websites, use similar tools and sometimes have similar skills. Or maybe that’s what it looks like from the outside. Speaking realistically, they are two different fields of specialization and have very distinct roles and responsibilities in website building.

In this article, we will tell you the 5 big differences between a web designer and a web developer. By the end of your read, you would know not only the difference between the two but also which role you are looking for to help build a website – a web designer or a web developer, or BOTH!

Let us look at the 5 big differences between a Web Designer and a Web Developer –

1. Web Designer vs. Web Developer – Definition

Web Designer – A web designer is like an architect. The designer’s responsibilities involve developing a vision of how the website should look, feel and function based on user research and user interface design. They plan the typography, architecture, placement, colors, etc. Web designers are specialized in either of the two areas – UX (User Experience) Design, or UI (User Interface) Design, or both.

Web Developer – In contrast, a web developer technically ‘builds’ a website and its framework by using various programming languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript etc. Developers also ensure that the website is bug-free and functions as expected. A web developer can also be an advisor to a web designer, telling him how complicated or time-consuming the designs will be to technically process. They are often categorized into 3 different roles – Front-end developers, back-end developers and full-stack developers.

2. Salary Trends of a Web Designer and a Web Developer

Web Designer – A web designer earns a decent salary based on knowledge, experience and skills. The average yearly salary of a web designer is around $57k in the US. However, the pay can differ based on the type of role, location and seniority of the position. If you outsource a web designer from India, you can save up to 70% of the total salary. That’s big SAVINGS!

Web Developer – In contrast to designers, web developers earn higher salaries due to their ability to write codes in different languages. On average, web developers are offered $65k to $75k annually in the US. This is because coding is considered to be a valuable skill-set in a modern, tech-driven world. However, these salaries can vary depending on the type of role and experience one has in the field.

3. Tools used by Web Designers and Web Developers

Web Designer – Since web designers are responsible for the aesthetic feel of a website, they need practical and well-balanced toolkits that will be an excellent asset for their designs. For this, they utilize graphic design software and tools like –

• Adobe Photoshop

• Content Management System (CMS)

• Wire-framing Tools

• Debugging Tools

• User Testing Tools

• Illustrator

• Inkscape

• GIMP

• Figma

• Sketch

Web Developers – Web developers work with programming languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript to create websites and web applications. For other technical aspects, they use other programming languages. For this, they need several essential tools like –

• Code Editors

• Version Control Systems

• Web Application Frameworks

• API Tools

• Prototyping Tools

• Project Management Software

Web Developers may use some of the same tools as web designers. These help them with the hassle-free creation of websites.

4. Portfolios of Web Designers and Web Developers

Web Designer – You must have come across thousands of digital portfolios of web designers showcasing their skills, creativity and experience. Web designers use different websites like behance.com or dribble.com to show off their designing skills. They can even create their own portfolio websites. These portfolios help them grab their next role or project.

Web Developer – Developers mostly rely on GitHub to show off their coding skills and how readable their codes are to other developers. Just like web designers, web developers also have multiple options of websites to choose from.

5. Future of Web Designers and Web Developers

As we progress to improve the tools used by both designers and developers, their responsibilities and work will change with time. 10 years from now, additional skill-sets and other requirements will have added up. If we look carefully, the role of web designers has already evolved over the years – from being mostly focused on the visual feel of a website (typography, graphics, colors) to a more technical focus (information architecture, research).

One day, the gap between web designers and web developers will lessen and these titles will become a hybridized version of both with interrelated and overlapping skills. Although, some of them are already enjoying a career in both.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this guide has provided you with insight into the 5 big differences that set a web developer and a web designer apart and has also cleared up your thoughts on both of them. With this information, you should be able to tell what job title you require to build your website. In addition, both of them should closely work together to create a highly functional website. Are you looking for a web designer? Outsource web designers from India and save up to 70%.

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