In this month's article we will be looking at the grey area these days between front end design and development. Most of Source's clients have restructured their creative and tech departments forcing people to be able to design and build projects and see them through from concept to execution stage. There are still many agencies and client side businesses where the tech team and design team are separate however the line is becoming blurred. There is an expectation that is increasing monthly as companies are looking for more skills/ experience for less money.
This has meant that designers have had to learn how to code and developers have had to increase their design appreciation. Most designers we have met in the past have had an understanding of front end technologies like HTML, CSS and maybe some PHP. On the flipside developers have sometimes had an understanding of photoshop, illustrator and maybe flash.
The feedback I am receiving from Creative Directors/ Tech Directors is that they want juniors to understand and read code and appreciate graphic design crafts. Middleweights to have had commercial experience on projects where they have been hands on with design and development. Seniors will need to be able to guide, inspire, teach others whilst continue to learn and push themselves.
The most frequently used front end technologies that will be of use to our clients are HTML, CSS, Flash, Actionscript, JS, PHP, XHTML, DHTML.
Importantly if you have experience or an understanding of web standards, accessibility, usability you will have an advantage. Sometimes experience of W3C standards and compliance isn't enough, recently a few clients have asked me to present them with people who attend lectures, exhibitions and talks and people who immerse themselves in that community.
In my opinion the market is rapidly changing and departments within agencies are striping back to their bare bones and therefore future hires will be hybrids. People that can offer more for less and continue to add value with their past experience and passion for wanting to learn new skills and experiment with how those skills can work on new platforms.