Programming Languages That UX Designers Should Know

You don’t have to know how to code to be a UX designer. But you need to understand coding if you want to be a good UX designer. Why? Because a product’s design in Figma, even if it’s in line with every UX best practice, you can think of, without a developer, is still just that – a set of pictures in an app.

To create a product, you need to collaborate with developers. And you need to speak their language if you want that collaboration to be productive. Besides, learning how to code can become an extra push to skyrocket your career, especially if you prefer working in startups, not enterprises.

Programming Languages That UX Designers Should Know

How coding can benefit your career

The IT industry is very fast evolving. It is also a highly competitive environment. If you want to be successful in your UX designer career, you have to keep up with the trends, strive to be more agile, and seek to innovate. Otherwise, you will simply stagnate.

Learning how to code will give you practical and valuable benefits that will help you grow and succeed in your career.

So what are those benefits?

  • It will take your collaboration skills to the next level. Understanding how code works will not only allow you to design things that can actually be built but to speak with the developers in their language. And if you can bring your prototypes to life yourself, your teamwork will inevitably become more productive and fast.
  • It will enrich your designs. Being a UX designer, you already have an understanding of how a user sees the product or project you are designing. Thinking like a front-end developer will allow you to see your projects from a different perspective, sometimes more objectively. Marrying the two perspectives can give you a unique understanding of the project. You might find new solutions to the problems you’ve always felt compelled to solve in a certain way.
  • You’ll be able to streamline the boring parts of your work. Writing scripts for the most repetitive (usually the most boring as well) parts of your work will allow you to deliver results faster and make the whole process more enjoyable.
  • You’ll get a competitive advantage. Design and development become more intertwined with each passing year. Being multi-skilled will distinguish you as a versatile team player and help you stand out among the crowd of UX designers who can’t code. And if you prefer the startup environment, where the resources are limited, but freedom is abundant and projects innovative, to that of a huge company, where there’s a role for every task, then being multiskilled is a huge asset that will make you more employable.


The programming languages a UX designer should know

A project’s primary programming language can significantly impact the development process, including the UX design. The chosen language usually forms the technical constraints of the project, after all. If you don’t understand these limitations, you risk wasting a lot of time and effort on designing something that can’t be built.

The programming language influences:

  • Time-to-market
  • Back-end technical infrastructure
  • Functionality and scalability through APIs and integrations

There are literally hundreds of programming languages. And most of them you’ll never encounter in your entire career. There are, however, essential programming languages, knowing at least the basics of which will make all the difference for you.

So how do you choose a language to master? Being a UX designer, you should be mostly interested in front-end languages. Those are the programming languages responsible for the client side of things. However, learning a back-end or server-side language will provide you with that final piece of the puzzle and let you see the whole picture of how things work in a product clearly.

So, what are the programming languages you should get the basics of?


Programming Languages That UX Designers Should Know - HTML and CSS
These two are the bricks, coating, and decorative materials of every website you’ve ever used. HTML defines the structure or layout. And CSS defines how the structure and elements look.

Both languages are newbie-friendly and easy to learn. Start with an introductory course or read a book or two from the hundreds available online.

You do not have to become a pro coder. But try to get to the point where you can code a landing page or a basic one-page website.


Programming Languages That UX Designers Should Know - Javascript
JavaScript takes basic static designs to the next level and makes them interactive. This is the language that defines the way the element on a page react to the users’ actions. It is a great language to learn for a UX designer. You can use it to build interactive prototypes.

Learning JavaScript is generally considered a little bit tougher than HTML and CSS. There are plenty of study materials online that should have you covered. Once you’ve learned the basics of all three front-end languages, try building a website using them all.


Programming Languages That UX Designers Should Know - Java
If you decide to learn at least one back-end language, Java is definitely the one you should chose. It is a tremendously popular language that can be found in all sorts of products, from your fridge to the mobile game you like to play on your lunch breaks. So chances are, most of the projects you work on have it as a primary back-end language as well.

It is an object-oriented, general-purpose language. And it is very newbie friendly. So mastering the basics of Java should not be too hard on you, and it will provide you with an understanding of how all object-oriented languages work. So you can build on this knowledge later in life and learn other programming languages if your career demands that.

To get acquainted with the language, start by reading a Java blog or two. Or better yet, learn Java on CodeGym in the fun and supportive environment the platform provides.

So that’s our thoughts on the programming languages a UX designer should learn. Of course, it is not an easy path to become a designer who codes. Only you can make the decision if it’s worth the time and effort you put into it. Just remember – you do not have to become a software engineer to be a good UX designer. A basic understanding is enough. And it might be fun to learn!

This is a sponsored post for CodeGym.

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