Why I code?
Written on Dec 30, 2020

The debate over whether designers should learn to code has been a longstanding one in the industry, with people fiercely holding their opinions and trying to convince others to follow suit. However, the answer to this question is simple: it all comes down to personal preference.

In episode 43 of the "Design Detail" podcast, Jon Gold provides a wise answer to this question: "Do what makes you happy." If you find joy in coding, then go ahead and learn it, but if not, explore other skills that bring you happiness. There are numerous examples of successful designers who do not possess programming skills, so it's okay to not know how to code.

Design requires a multitude of skills, including visual skills, people management, system thinking, interaction design, storytelling, communication, writing, and research. No single designer possesses all of these skills at an expert level, but working in a team allows designers to compensate for each other's weaknesses.

For me, coding is a form of expression. It allows me to be the creator, to build things that I find fun and cool to use. Knowing how to code gives me the freedom to do so. As @rsms says, "Software is the medium through which I express myself."

In the workplace, coding can be an added benefit, as it helps in communicating with developers and thinking in terms of systems. However, I have found that my true value lies in my skills as a designer. I may not be the best programmer, and I don't have an interest in keeping up with the latest coding design patterns. I simply enjoy experimenting and creating, and I fear that coding would lose its appeal if I were to do it as a full-time job.

In conclusion, as designers, we should focus on doing what brings us excitement and joy, and not be dogmatic about what skills other designers should or shouldn't possess. Whether you choose to learn to code or not, the key is to find what makes you happy.