ui designer (2024 Guide)

Does UI Design Require Coding?

BrainStation’s UI Designer career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in UI design. Read on to learn about whether user UI Designers need to know how to code, as well as the top programming languages for user interface design.

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UI Designers do not need to code, but it is extremely beneficial if you have programming skills. Depending on the nature of the product, it’s also not unusual for UI/UX design and development to be intertwined into a single process. So although design and development do require different skill sets, knowing both is becoming more and more crucial to the tech and design industry. Web Developers need to understand the design needs of what they are coding, and UI Designers need to understand what designs are possible from the backend.

So it’s very much to a UI Designer’s benefit to be able to think like a Developer and use the language of development—of deadlines and budgets and what technology can and can’t do. If a Developer tells you a given feature is impossible, how are you going to refute them without first understanding how to make it happen? As UX Designer and Information Architect Ben Shoemate puts it, “Real Designers make their own design work.”

There’s also quite a bit of (non-coding) technological knowledge a UI Designer should have—the ins and outs of responsive design, for instance. Now that more than half of all web traffic is generated by mobile devices, a solid footing here is essential. High-fidelity prototyping apps like Principle and Framer may also require a bit of coding in order to take full advantage of all their features. For UI Designers who do want to learn to code, coding bootcamps can teach programming skills in a relatively short period of time.

What Languages Are Used for UI Design?

While there isn’t a specific language used for UI design, if you’re designing for the web, you’ll benefit greatly from a good foundation in HTML and CSS, even if it’s just to be able to communicate with your team. In any almost imaginable UI design scenario, you’ll be working in an environment full of programmers who code the things you design. The more effectively you can communicate your ideas to the development team, and the more effectively they can communicate their ideas to you, the better it is for everyone.