Coding for Design: 5 Benefits of Learning Code as a UI/UX Designer

The design industry seems to be stuck in a neverending debate over whether UI/UX designers should learn code. What do you think?

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On one hand, many designers and developers believe these roles can collaborate while, simultaneously, maintaining a degree of separation. On the other hand, many design agencies and companies looking to hire design teams are searching for UI/UX unicorns – folks who can create user interfaces, dynamic user experiences, and code!

But, is that realistic? Should a UI designer learn code? What about a UX designer?

How does learning code improve collaboration between UI designers, UX designers, and web developers? And, what are the long-term career benefits of acquiring basic coding skills?

You may have questions. The good news is that we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into user-centered design and provide 5 reasons why UI/UX designers should learn to code! So, keep reading.

In this article:

  1. Essential UI/UX Design Skills
  2. 5 Must-Have Skills for UI/UX Designers
  3. The Benefits of Learning HTML & CSS
  4. 5 Reasons to Learn the Basics of Coding
  5. Why Coding isn’t Just for Unicorns
  6. Conclusion
  7. Related Articles

Essential UI/UX Design Skills

User interface design and user experience design are dynamic fields that overlap greatly. At some companies, this role functions as one; with a singular person tasked with the entire process. In other places, the titles “UI designer” and “UX designer” belong to separate people.

In either case, this design field is crucial to the development of a product!

Something that looks great but it difficult to use is exemplary of great UI and poor UX. While something very usable that looks terrible is exemplary of great UX and poor UI.

Helga Moreno, The Gap Between UX and UI Design1

5 Must-Have Skills for UI/UX Designers

  • User Empathy
  • UX Research
  • UX Writing
  • Visual Communication
  • UI Prototyping & Wireframing

User Empathy

UI and UX design are all about getting to know the user – which is why empathy is such an important skill to have. Simply put, when UI/UX designers understand the users’ problems; they can design solutions for them.

User Research

Ready to make an impact in the world of UX design? Hone your skills UX research skills! Even if you never formally hold the title of UX researcher; do not underestimate the value of UX research. After all, it doesn’t matter if you are designing a mobile application or website; it’s imperative that UI/UX designers understand the end-user and what makes them tick!

UX Writing

Often overlooked or underrated; UX writing is an essential skill for any UI/UX designer looking to break into this sector of the design industry. While coding capabilities will surely impress prospective employers, so will a designer’s ability to craft microcopy. So, keep that in mind as you sharpen your design skills.

Visual Communication

Designing breathtaking user interfaces is all about understanding visual communication and how users interact with your product. Sounds simple? It’s not! UI design can be a challenge but it is one of the most important skills a UI/UX designer can have!

UI Prototyping & Wireframing

Ready to go pro? For those who wish to pursue UI/UX design professionally, understanding UI prototyping and wireframing is a must!

Why? Well, mobile app prototyping can help a designer understand the key functionality of the design before handing it off to a developer. Furthermore, wireframing can help UX designers identify issues before a website is coded.

The Benefits of Learning HTML & CSS

Speaking of code, what are the benefits of coding for UI/UX designers?

Well, when it comes to creating user-driven designs and building user experiences; it’s pretty clear coding is not required. However it is a preferred skill by some employers – so it may be worth considering.

However, gainful employment is only one reason a UI designer or UX designer should consider learning to code. Keep scrolling to read about more benefits of picking up this skill!

It’s not going to kill a designer if they knew a little bit about how to write some HTML and CSS, maybe a little bit of JavaScript.

Aaron Walker, VP of Design Education at InVision2

5 Reasons to Learn the Basics of Coding as a UI/UX Designer

  1. Design Inspiration
  2. Improved Communication Skills
  3. Improved Teamwork Skills
  4. Expedited Workflows
  5. Career Opportunities

Design Inspiration

It may not seem obvious but learning to code can help UI and UX designers stay inspired. How, so? Well, when you understand the potential of a product, you can design with that in mind. Knowing how to code, and essentially make the product come to life, can provide a jolt of inspiration when a designer needs it most.

Improved Communication Skills

Nervous about meeting with a front-end development team? It might help if you can speak the same language as the developers you’ll be working with! Learning code can remedy nervousness caused by unfamiliar vocabulary and help you communicate effectively with other designers and developers.

Improved Teamwork Skills

Not only will coding help you communicate with web developers more effectively; it can improve your teamwork skills in all aspects. Think about it for a moment. If you are a UI designer or UX designer with the ability to code (even the most basic CSS, Javascript, or HTML), you’ll be an invaluable asset to design teams – especially small ones! When needed, you’ll be able to flex your coding abilities to create dynamic products alongside your teammates.

Expedited Workflows

Is your team on a tight deadline? Have you gone through the design thinking process and now have to iterate on your designs? It happens all the time! But, what if we told you that you could expedite your workflow? Don’t believe us? Well, you can – if you learn to code!

Having the ability to code or even understand coding languages on a basic level, can expedite workflows for your entire team. How?

Well, if they know how to code; there’s so much more a UI/UX designer can get done before they hand off the design to a web developer.

Career Opportunities

Are you looking for a job? These days, companies are looking for dynamic candidates with a wide skillset. So if you are a practitioner of user interface design or user experience design, one way to stand out is to learn how to code! If you do, you’ll be what the industry calls a Unicorn.

Coding isn’t Just for Unicorns

While coding isn’t required, it isn’t just for UI/UX unicorns either! Let us explain.

Coding can be beneficial to a variety of UI/UX designers who work in different capacities across the industry. Below, we go into detail on the types of UI/UI Designers who can benefit from learning to code.

Designer A: The Enthusiast

For some designers, coding or learning how to will always be a passion project. These individuals find joy in exploring CSS in their free time and may even evaluate web page content for fun. But that’s just what is for them – it’s FUN. So, if you want to focus on your UX design skills and pick up a few development ones, become a coding enthusiast. Remember, learning something new doesn’t have to be a serious endeavor.

Designer B: The Consultant

Are you a UX consultant? If so, you could combine your UX skills with coding to maximize your marketability. Think about it. The more a designer knows about how to develop (and design) a product; the better they can advise their clients to make the best UX design decisions.

Designer C: The Entrepreneur

Let’s face it. For some designers, learning to code is not optional – it is a must! Those that fall in that category are likely entrepreneurs who can lead a product’s design process from concept to execution. As an entrepreneur offering UI design or UX design services, learning to code is a no-brainer, as it can drastically improve your company’s offerings.


Learning to code is a personal decision. The truth remains that the UX design industry does not technically require designers to have this skill. However, as thousands of products hit the market every day; learning to code can undoubtedly create opportunities!

Looking for UI/UX design job?
Look no further than Authentic Jobs.


Moreno, Helga. “The Gap between UI and UX Design – Know the Difference.” Onextrapixel, 23 Apr. 2014, 

Philips, Miklos. “Design Talks: Better Team Collaboration with Aaron Walter.” Toptal Design Blog, Toptal, 30 May 2019,