But it might be worthwhile
8 am. The alarm goes on. My morning routine begins.
Following the crazy advice of Wim Hoff, also known as the “Ice Man”, I go into the bathroom for the ritual. Every single cell in my organism is fighting against my will of taking that cold shower.
I pull the trigger. A Waterfall of tiny little needles comes down at me. For the first ten seconds, I’m going through hell. Slowly, with the help of deep breaths and a calm attitude, the temperature of my body starts balancing itself.
After this uncomfortable moment, I find myself enjoying the feeling of blood circulation through my whole body. It feels refreshing.
I would say that learning how to code for UX Designers (or Creative people in general) might feel like a cold shower. Every single faction of your being is trying to focus on your craft, blocking every thought of learning something that complex and time-consuming.
In the end, as UX Designers, there is not a single demand for code. Your deliverables are research, wireframes or design approaches. It is not a fundamental requirement for the job title anyway.
There is also no necessity whatsoever for a cold shower every single freaking morning.
Therefore, why bother with coding as a UX Designer? Why should you code your portfolio if there are thousands of templates out there?
As a Designer who is getting into Web Development, I would like to share a few reasons why you should start learning the basics of computer language. And how crafting your own UX Design Portfolio could be an excellent start.
Expand your brain
It is a known fact that there is a positive side effect of learning a new skill. In this case, discovering how to code is probably going to be super helpful for your brain plasticity.
As we learn something new, cells that send and receive information about the task become more and more efficient. It takes less effort for them to signal the next cell about what’s going on. In a sense, the neurons become wired together.
(Source: Science News)
If you don’t understand neurology (me either), let’s explain it in simple terms.
When you learn how to code, your brain is making new internal connections. Is like if your mind is matching up the problem-solving traits of coding with your already trained designer neurons. It’s like the ‘’Tinder’’ of neurons.
Moreover, as research being a crucial part of the process, you are continually learning new things. You already are an outstanding apprentice.
Programming is all about finding a more effective way for problem-solving.
For this reason, computers use complex mathematical equations to process information in a much faster way. It is also a common misbelief that every software developer needs to be a mathematical genius to be capable of writing code.
As a UX Designer, solving user experience problems is part of your regular job. Exploring new systems for achieving these goals in the most efficient method is a nice upgrade in your system.
Coding is like a cold shower for your brain. It will clarify your thinking process and help your ideas flow naturally into better implementations.
If you want to grow professionally, you must be ready for challenges.
Building a decent portfolio for yourself might not be a two-month journey. If you already have a full-time job, this side hustle could become tiresome. Until you get a solid foundation of programming concepts, every coding puzzle will feel like a cold shower.
However, no one is stopping you for taking the more rational route. As well as a pleasantly warm bath, there are thousands of great portfolio templates ready to save you a lot of time and effort.
Furthermore, focusing on sharpening your real content is plausibly a better choice. Crafting an exceptional portfolio of UX Design projects, so you become a specialist. Nobody would ask you if you coded your portfolio by hand anyway.
Nevertheless, what I suggest here is about going the extra mile. Challenge yourself by getting into the cold and exploring websites from the ground up.
Make it your own
During this pandemic, the job market is getting intense. Competition is fierce. Everybody is trying to figure out the best way to showcase their work.
You have then two options then:
- Learn how to code and build your portfolio from scratch. With this choice comes the power of a fully-customizable website, problem-solving abilities and a big challenge.
- Get a Pre-designed Portfolio Template. That will save you time for concentrating your efforts into working on your UX Design Projects.
A template in Squarespace or WordPress can easily have millions of downloads. That means that there could be thousands of UX Designers with the same portfolio website.
If you take the effort into coding your website, there won’t be any portfolio like yours. Uniqueness comes into play.
It’s no easy road. Prepare to spend several months studying and practising alien coding language until you get comfortable to develop a decent portfolio.
Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure that your current professional skills will help to build a beautiful and simple website that could impress recruiters.
If you learn the basics of coding, your developer team-mates will reasonably appreciate the effort.
Working alongside software engineers who have mastered the art of coding is a typical day-to-day interaction for UX Designers. Hence, the proper understanding between members is a crucial aspect of the role.
According to Shane Diffily, these are the critical roles in every Mid-Large Scale Website:
- Web Manager
- Content Producer
- User Experience Designer
- User Interface Designer
- Back-End Developer
- Front-End Developer
- IT Architecture Engineer
- Social Media Producer
Investing your time and energy into programming (Even though it is not your primary task) means that you care about your community.
Delivering a great project is an expression of genuine team-work.
I firmly believe that there is no right or wrong choice here. I wanted to share with you why building your portfolio as a Designer, Photographer, or Writer might be a difficult choice, but something that comes with great benefits.
Learning how to code could provide you with positive impacts on your brain plasticity, more efficiency as a problem solver or standing out from the crowd.
It will also help you to understand your co-workers. A reliable team that can create awesome projects for the world to enjoy.
If you want to code your portfolio, do it. But if just want to focus on delivering incredible user experience, keep doing so.
But remember, the cold is your friend.